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F&W Best New Chef Fermín Núñez of Suerte restaurant in Austin shared this recipe for making fresh tortillas at home using just the highest-quality masa harina, salt, and warm water. Mildly nutty with a little bit of natural sweetness and a deliciously strong corn fragrance, these tortillas are a tasty canvas for tacos. Choose a heavy tortilla press: the weight of the press does all of the work and will help form the most evenly shaped tortillas. Núñez prefers the Doña Rosa x Masienda Tortilla press. "This is the press that will outlive you," he says. "It's like the tortilla press you find in any reputable place that does tortillas in Mexico, from fancy restaurants to markets." Pair the fresh tortillas with Núñez's Charred Chile–Marinated Grilled Chicken and Tomatillo Salsa Cruda, or enjoy them with your favorite taco fillings. Follow his step-by-step instructions here.

May 2022

Gallery

Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Nidia Cueva

Recipe Summary

total:
30 mins
Yield:
12 (4 1/2-inch) tortillas
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together masa harina and salt in a medium bowl. Add 1/3 cup warm water; mix together using your hands until mixture is evenly crumbly. Add 1/3 cup warm water; knead mixture in bowl until water is absorbed and dough is soft and smooth, 5 to 8 minutes, adding remaining 2 tablespoons warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed if dough feels dry. (Dough should be firm enough to hold an imprint and not stick to your hands but not so dry that it cracks when flattened between your palms.) Divide masa evenly into 12 (about 3/4-ounce) pieces. Roll each piece into a ball using your hands, and place on a clean work surface; cover with a damp towel to prevent from drying out.

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  • Cut along the side creases of a gallon-size ziplock plastic bag, leaving bottom edge attached. Line a tortilla press with the bag, covering the bottom plate, with attached edge of plastic bag running along hinge side of tortilla press.

  • Heat an ungreased comal or a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Open tortilla press, and place 1 masa ball on center of bottom plate in between layers of plastic. Cover with top plate; press down firmly to form a 5-inch tortilla. (Don't press too hard or masa will be too thin, and it will be difficult to lift off the bag.) Open tortilla press; carefully peel off top of bag from flattened tortilla. Lift bag, and flip tortilla onto 1 hand. Carefully peel back bottom of bag. If tortilla breaks or folds over, it's OK; just reroll tortilla into a ball, and repeat flattening process in tortilla press.

  • Gently lay tortilla on preheated comal. Cook until tortilla releases from comal and can slide around and tortilla edges begin to lift, 20 to 30 seconds. Flip tortilla; cook until tortilla is matte white and looks dry on bottom, about 15 seconds. Flip tortilla again; cook until tortilla begins to puff up, 15 to 25 seconds. If tortilla doesn't puff, give it a little nudge by patting tortilla gently with a damp towel to encourage puffing. Transfer puffed tortilla to a basket lined with a clean kitchen towel, and cover with towel to keep warm.

  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 using remaining 11 masa balls. Tortillas are best eaten hot off the comal.

Note

Masienda masa harina can be ordered from masienda.com.

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