A couple of weeks ago, a nice follower asked if I could record a demo of my flour tortilla recipe without using baking powder. These were the results.
Baking Powder. Yes? Or No?
Honestly, I don’t remember my mom adding baking powder to her flour tortilla recipe. It was much later when I was learning to prepare them on my own that I begin to add some baking powder to my recipe. I am still on the fence as to whether I think it makes a big difference in the end. Many people claim it makes the tortillas hard if too much is added. Other people claim the tortillas wont be fluffy and soft without the baking powder. I have prepared them countless times with and without and have enjoyed both versions. Guess it’s because I eat them fresh. They have been both soft and fluffy. Only difference I notice is if I use pork lard compared to vegetable shortening. The look of the tortilla is slightly different to me. I say do what works for you! Live and let live, lol!
The Key Is Practice!
I lost count on how many times I attempted flour tortillas until I was truly happy with them. Practice is the key! I find that when I am distracted that my tortillas don’t come out round. Or if I think about it too much, lol! Relax, enjoy the process. Practice!
Flour Tortillas-No Baking Powder
- griddle or comal
- 1/4 c pork lard or shortening melted
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp. hot water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- Melt the lard or shortening. Pour in hot water. Mix in salt. Gradually mix just enough flour to yield a slightly sticky dough.
- Wet you hands. Transfer dough to a flat surface. Knead the dough for 7-8 minutes until it's smooth. It should feel slightly tacky, but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 30-40 minutes. It's very important that you let the dough rest. The gluten will build and dough will be more elastic.
- When ready, divide dough into 8 equal balls. let rest for 20 minutes. Roll and tuck under at the same time to form semi flat disc. Keep covered.
- After 20 minutes, lightly dredge dough ball in flour and flatten disc on flat surface to roll out. Roll and extend dough balls, rotating slightly after each roll. Turn as needed. Add little flour, as needed.
- Cook tortillas on preheated surface. You should hear sizzling sounds and see small bubbles almost immediately. if you don't, surface is not hot enough. The first couple of tortillas are typically testers.
- Flip tortilla when bubbles get bigger. Cook for 10 more seconds. Tortillas should inflate. Flip one more time and cook for a few seconds. Transfer to a tortillera that is lined with a clean kitchen towel. Keep covered. The steam created will help soften the tortillas.
- Once cool, transfer to plastic storage bag. Keep on the counter for 2-3 days or refrigerate for 1 week.
My mother used to make about 5 dozen tortillas every Saturday because she used to work. I miss the smell of them! And the taste! She did use baking powder. When I try to make them, they come out hard. It’s so frustrating! Yours look amazing! Thanks for the video.
I love your beautiful heart and tenacious spirit! You have an incredible ability to make things that seem hard to accomplish, very understandable and a fun challenge. I can just imagine the smell of your heavenly kitchen! Ummmmm! Lol I always reflect on my mom when I read your recipes about the way you prepare a recipe and the stories you share along with them. Keep em’ coming, I cherish our time together Sincerely blessed, Marsha ttt
Thank you Marsha for taking the time to write. Whenever I am missing my mom a lot, I just step into my kitchen and prepare tortillas or Mexican red rice. I feel peace.
This is the absolute best tortilla recipe. Thank you so much! I’ve used it a dozen times and I am so happy with the results.
Thank you so much Sheila! I appreciate you taking the time to write!! It’s always good to be open to trying the different variations of recipes.
Glad to see good rest results on tortillas without baking soda. I recently found out that baking soda irritates my skin so I’m working on not using it in my diet anymore. If you have any tips on how to make the tortillas not stick and not cook up with flour all over them, it would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Adrienne, I don’t typically use alot of flour when rolling the tortillas out. I don’t get any excess flour that way. Why are your tortillas sticking, hhmmm… I use both cast iron and nonstick pans for flour tortillas and never had a problem with them sticking. It should be a very fast cook on each tortilla. Once I roll then disc out, the tortilla is pretty dry and easy to transfer to the hot comal.
Just put a little oil/butter in the bottom of your pan. Not like you’re about to deep fry them, but like you’re gonna make an egg. Try a lower heat setting on your cook top too. If you’re new to this don’t wanna heat up tortillas at a medium heat to get them done faster. You need that pan to be just hot enough, so set it just a smidge lower than you are.
If the tortillas don’t start to bubble a few seconds after hitting that preheated comal, they tend to not come out as soft and fluffly. Thing with the comal, is it gets hotter and hotter the longer you wait to place an uncooked tortilla. I am constantly monitoring and regulating the temperature. I don’t have time to be brushing the surface with oil for every tortilla. Mom never did that and her tortillas were awesome.I have been preparing tortillas for about 40 years now and I have cooked on many different stove tops. gas, electric… different griddles, nonstick, metal, cast iron. Every single one , I have to adjust the temperature. Just sharing my experience. What works for me in New York, may not work the same when I am in California. Believe me, I have tested it over and over. I appreciate you takin g the time to share your feedback.
My grandmother made them the best, although Mom made them good too. I have made them a dozen or more times, and I always forget the ratio of oil to flour. It is often several years between attempts. So, I always have to look it up, but it is hard to find recipes without baking powder. My mother/grandmother didn’t use it and I can always taste it in anything that isn’t very sweet. Anyway, I made these, but I skimmed the ingredient list, and made a mistake. Later after the meal was done I looked and realized that I mistakenly doubled the Crisco. I noticed immediately when I started putting in the warm water, that it was too greasy and not as sticky as usual. I had everything else ready to go and it was late, so I just went with it. To make a long story short, they were so soft, really too soft as they just fell away and melted in your mouth. I received no complaints, only my own. I had one left over, the next morning, and heated it quickly over an open flame like I did with my grandmothers’s when I was lucky enough to be gifted a few for the next day. It was so soft and delicious that it really reminded me of the ones made by my grandmother. I won’t double the oil again, but I’ll experiment with a 1/3 cup, etc. for sure. I also want to taste them when made with butter, olive oil or a mixture of both. Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Rob! Thank you so much for taking the time to write!! I love to hear how it took you back to your family’s tortillas. That’s what it’s all about for me. Thank you!!
Hi Sonia. I remember my mom’s mom making homemade tortillas in her kitchen in downtown Monterrey back in the 1960s. I was just a kid on a visit at the time, but I do remember her recipe clearly: flour, lard, water and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, then pat them out by hand and throw them on a very hot comal. No baking powder, and they were the best! My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. I have to put one question to you though. Monterrey is a mountainous 540 meters above sea level. Could you friend Gerardo possibly have meant that the baking powder ingredient is recommended in comparatively lower elevations than Mexico City or Guadalajara? I’ll be trying my hand at making some tortillas on a trip down memory lane soon (in Texas, near the coast, and lower than Monterrey), and I want to make sure I get the recipe right!
My family that lives in Austin, still add baking powder to the recipe, if that helps. I am in New York right now and have prepared several batches without baking powder with success! Just to test it, I did prepare one batch with 1 tsp of baking powder and had good results as well. If I were you, I would just make two batches and see how they work. I will ask my friend when I get a chance, of course.