About this recipe: Go on, have a go at making these yourself! A simple mixture of masa harina (fine cornmeal) and water results in the most wonderful fresh tortillas you've ever tasted. The secret is to use a cast iron pan. Most supermarkets sell masa harina now. Traditionally, salt and a little lime juice are added with the masa harina but you can try this once you've mastered the basics.
This is a very "basic" corn tortilla recipe. Traditionally, at least in Northern Baja - we use salt and 'additional' lime juice with the masa harina to prepare corn tortillas. There aren't many different types of masa harina - because masa harina is corn flour made from corn and lime. The commonly available brand in the US is Maseca; although I believe Quaker also makes masa harina. Maseca makes a masa harina for tortillas (white bag) and a masa harina for tamales (peach/brown bag). Honestly I'm not sure what the difference is between the two because the masa harina for tamales doesn't include baking powder or salt... which must be added when making tamales. So I believe the two are probably identical; but I cannot confirm this. In my experience corn tortillas don't "puff" (they are not made with baking powder, so they will not puff like flour tortillas would). However, the corn tortillas should turn light/ med-light brown. No oil is needed to 'cook' the tortillas - and although it is best to use a cast iron skillet - a comal can also be used (thin round griddle-like pan). The water amounts are just an estimation (as the temperature and humidity will always play a factor in the process). I use a little less water and add as needed (until the dough doesn't stick). Use parchment paper instead of wax paper to press the tortillas (tortilla press is essential - but may be done using a heavy plate/pan. This is not as effective and a press. - 22 Jun 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
A few helpful hints to an otherwise good recipe. 1) A tortilla press is definitely the way to go. Less than ten bucks, no muss, no fuss. 2) Don't use plastic wrap or wax paper; both are too fragile and sticky. Use a plastic freezer bag instead and cut the bag to size for your press so you wind up with two sheets of freezer bag plastic. You still have to be careful peeling the formed tortillas off them but it's MUCH easier than wax paper. You can reuse the plastic sheets; just rinse (or wash) and dry, then reuse. Store them with your tortilla press. 3) Like one other reviewer, I find a dash of salt helpful. - 18 Nov 2002 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
PLEASE note: for those who are having trouble with sticking, add a bit more masa... your masa is to wet. Here's how; Mix the masa and water with your hands until it does not stick to your hands or the large bowl you mix it in. Continue to kneed at least 3 minutes or longer THEN let it rest and hour or so covered with a damp towel. Make small balls, (golf ball size), and use parchment paper to flatten in a press. Enjoy, for these are wonderful and a delight to eat. I accidentally bought MASECA corn mix one day and now use it exclusively. I hope this helps those who are having trouble. - 09 Dec 2004 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)