Fresh corn tortillas are absolutely delicious; warm and soft with that distinctly corny-flavour. They are perfect for tacos, tostadas and taquitos. They are also really easy to make, even without a tortilla press!
Nixtamalization and Fermentation
Traditional corn tortillas use masa flour, which is corn that has been fully nixtamalize. This is a process that involves soaking and cooking the dried corn in an alkaline solution to break it down. It improves the nutritional content of the corn and is necessary for soft tortillas. However, it is not technically a form of fermentation.
Despite the alkaline nature of masa flour, it is still readily fermentable by lacto-bacteria. Fermented corn tortillas have a tang of sourness that nicely compliments a spicy Mexican meal. Fermenting also ensures a nice smooth dough that is easier to work with.
How to form tortillas
Probably the easiest way to make tortillas is with a tortilla press (affiliate link.) Unfortunately, I don’t have room in my kitchen for anything extra, including a tortilla press. Here are two ways to form tortillas by hand:
- Homemade press: Use a heavy, flat-bottomed pot as a tortilla press. My cast-iron dutch oven is perfect. Just flatten a ball of dough, then use the pot to press it flat.
- Roll by hand: Most of the time I roll out each tortilla individually on a pastry mat (affiliate link.) The pastry mat makes it easily to peel off the soft tortilla.
- Usually I’m not fussy, and I leave the tortillas with uneven edges. However, when I’m serving tortillas to guests (or photographing my tortillas), I use a 6″ diameter pot lid to cut out a perfect circle after rolling.
Fermented Corn Tortillas
Homemade corn tortillas are easy and way more delicious than store-bought. Here’s how to make them without a tortilla press or special tools. Fermenting isn’t necessary, however, it ensures a nice and soft dough.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 2 cups masa flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 cup water (non-chlorinated)
- 2 tbsp probiotic culture (optional, see notes)
- Mix the flour, salt and water in a glass bowl. If fermenting, replace 2 tbsp of the water with 2 tbsp of lactic culture (see notes.)
- Leave the dough to hydrate at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
- Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, and form into tortillas. See section above for different methods of forming a tortilla.
- Heat a griddle to medium heat. Working quickly, toast the tortilla for a minute on each side. Wrap freshly cooked tortillas in a tea towel to keep warm and serve immediately.
- To ferment the masa flour, add 2 tbsp of: yogurt, sauerkraut juice, kombucha or milk kefir.
- Corn ferments really fast so don’t leave it out for more than 8 hours. Even 2 hours should be enough, as the masa will quickly become sour.
- I use a hot cast iron griddle to cook my tortillas, but a non-stick pan would work as well. Either way, don’t use oil because these are toasted not fried.
- The corn tortillas can be frozen after toasting. Just stack them in a zip-top bag and save for future uses. Reheat from frozen by toasting for 2 minutes on each side.
- We love curtido and homemade sour cream for delicious and probiotic additions to our tacos.
Keywords: South American, taco, fajita, gluten free, vegan, egg free, dairy free, lard free, summer, fall, 3 ingredient or less