The tortilla is probably the most famous of all flatbread. It originated in America and was traditionally made from corn—a grass indigenous to the continent. When the Spanish arrived, they named this traditional bread ‘tortilla’, a Spanish word meaning ‘small cake’. The version we are most familiar today is the flour tortilla, which came into being after the Europeans introduced wheat in America. Finely ground wheat replaced corn meal and boom—we got the flour tortilla.
A bit of a warning here—this recipe uses pork lard, and I know some people may be squeamish, so if you are not a fan of lard, substitute for vegetable oil.
Let’s start. We’ll be doing a step-by-step photo guide for all our recipes—we want you guys to be able to see our process, including all the things that will sometimes go wrong. We are intrepid!
Since the pictures are pretty self-explanatory, I don’t believe a word-by-word breakdown is needed as well. I’ll use the space to slip a couple of more interesting tidbits about the tortilla instead.
The original corn (maize) tortilla has quite a different texture—it’s rougher, and it’s also prone to breaking. The breaking is due to the very low gluten content found in corn meal, so for those of you who have a gluten intolerance the corn variation is definitely a better choice. However, the flour tortilla rolls nicely, without breaking, and this makes it a favourite for all kinds of wraps! Like the burrito.
As I already mentioned, tortillas are one of the most widely known flatbread and they have been gaining popularity around the world. The industrial production of tortillas is impressive—and it needs to be, seeing how the demand has risen in the last decades.
However, tortillas and burritos are more popular in America than they are in Europe, where a similar dish, the Lahmacun (also known as the Turkish pizza), has been spreading westward. Lahmacun is a yeast flatbread, filled with meat and vegetables, and topped with yogurt-garlic sauce. Its roots can be traced as far back as the second millennia B.C.! But I digress—there will be more about the Lahmacun on the blog later. I just couldn’t resist mentioning it—living in a global world has so many delicious after effects.
Back to our version of the tortilla—Simeon is not overly fond of lard, so he complained a lot while kneading (kneading is his job, as you’ve already figured out). He didn’t like the smell of it, but that hardly stopped him from consuming a huge number of tortillas later. Our first attempt was an ugly, but scrumptious success.
Flatbread – Flour Tortilla
- 500g flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 50g lard
- 150-200ml hot water
- Sift the flour and salt together.
- Add the lard and use your hands to mix with the flour until crumbly.
- Add the hot water gradually and knead for 5-10 min.
- Make 8 balls out of the dough. Rest them on a lightly floured surface for 20-30 minutes.
- Roll them out into circles.
- Fry them on a griddle or in a pan for 2 minutes on each side. Don’t use any oil.
- Put them in a plastic bag to keep them soft.