October 14, 2014
2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup water, just warmer than room temperature, plus an extra tablespoon on reserve
Special equipment: tortilla press
In a large bowl, combine the masa harina and salt. Drizzle the water over top and begin to stir the water into the flour with your hands. Work the dough to form it into a ball (the mixture will be crumbly at first). Once it comes together, continue to knead it in the bowl until it feels supple and cohesive (about 2 minutes).
Set the dough aside, covered by a damp towel, and let it rest for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°. Line a large baking dish with an aluminum foil pouch to store your cooked tortillas until you are ready to serve. Preheat a dry, well-seasoned cast iron skillet* over medium-low heat for at least 5 minutes, to ensure it’s evenly hot.
Form the dough into 1-ounce balls (slightly smaller than a golf ball). Keep these covered by the damp towel while you press them out one at a time.
Use a gallon-size Ziplock bag (freezer bags are the best as they are more durable) to line your tortilla press: cut off the top zipper as well as the two sides, keeping the bottom connected, and lay it on the press. Place one ball of dough between the plastic layers, centered, and close the press. Carefully invert the pressed tortilla onto your hand and place in the hot pan (it might take a few tries to get this down -- these things are finicky!).
Cook for around 1½ minutes and then flip, cook for a minute more, and flip again. Cook for another 30 seconds or so and then transfer to the foil pouch in the oven. Do not try and skip this step and serve tortillas straight from the skillet. Storing them in the oven helps them steam which ensures a more supple and tender tortilla. These cooked tortillas can stay warm in the oven for up to an hour before serving.
*If you don’t have cast-iron, use your heaviest pan