Recipe for Flour Tortillas


3 cup unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup shortening or lard
1 cup lukewarm water
1 shortening or lard


Put flour and baking powder in bowl and mix. Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender until size of peas. Add water gradually. Stir until dough is stiff. Form into a ball and knead thoroughly until smooth on a lightly floured board. At this point you can grease the surface of the dough, cover tightly and refrigerate for as long as 24 hours before using; if you do this, the dough will be easier to handle. Let dough return to room temperature before you begin to roll it out (about 1 hour). Divide dough into 8 balls for large, thin tortillas or 11 balls for regular-sized, 7 inch tortillas. For large, thin tortillas, roll as thin as possible on a lightly floured board. Drop onto a very hot ungreased skillet. Bake until freckled on one side. (This should take only about 20 seconds.) Lift edge with spatula, turn, and bake on second side. To serve at once, fold hot, limp tortilla around pieces of butter. Or cool tortillas, wrap airtight, and refrigerate or freeze. To serve later, reheat or fry by methods described below. Makes one dozen tortillas (1/16 inch thick). To reheat and soften corn or flour tortillas on an ungreased surface: Fresh tortillas are already soft in a sense, but when heated they become even more tender and flexible. If tortillas are dry and a little hard, dip your hand in water and rub it lightly onto surfaces of the bread before heating. Be sure not to heat them longer than necessary to soften and warm thoroughly, or they will become hard and brittle. Place tortillas so they do not overlap on a medium-hot griddle or in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Turn frequently until soft and hot, about 30 seconds. Put immediately into a tightly covered dish, or put into a foil packet and seal it, and hold in a 200 degree oven until all tortillas are heated. (The secret is to keep them from drying out once heated.) To soften corn or flour tortillas by frying: Heat about 1/4 inch of salad oil, shortening, or lard in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Quickly turn one or two tortillas at a time in oil; they soften almost immediately. Do not allow them to become crisp. Drain on paper towels. To crisp-fry whole corn or flour tortillas: Heat 1 inch of salad oil, shortening, or lard in a frying pan to 350-375 degrees. Fry 1 tortilla at a time, using a spatula to turn frequently or to hold it under the fat until it crisps, puffs slightly, and browns lightly (about 1 minute or less). Drain on paper towels.

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