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Easy gluten-free homemade corn tortillas

If you’re like 95 per cent of the population, the only corn tortillas you've ever had were store-bought. You can find giant packs of them in any grocery store. But have you ever finished a pack of corn tortillas? Who gets through 50 of those things without turning into a dry, crumbly, stale mess?

But more importantly, why would you buy corn tortillas when you can make your own for a fraction of the price? Also, you can make the exact amount you want, so no more bags of stale tortillas wandering to the back of the fridge.

Store-bought tortillas never really taste very good. Let’s be honest. I was actually convinced that I didn’t like corn tortillas up until recently, since the only ones I had ever eaten were dry, prone to breaking and stale-tasting. When I made my own, they were moist, pliable and had a nutty, earthy character. Now, it is one of my go-to starches. You can make tacos, stuff them with salads or use them like pita bread to scoop up dips.

Super easy to prepare

You need masa corn flour, water, salt, a cast iron pan or griddle, and a small amount of oil. The masa flour is critical. You simply can't do this with any other kind of corn, be it cornmeal or corn flour. It must be masa.

Mix roughly two parts masa with one part water until it has an even texture and holds together in a ball. If you like, you can make this mixture a day ahead of time. Just make sure that you keep it well-covered or else it will dry out. The mixture should be tight enough to form a ball, but not dry. If you need to adjust with more masa or water, you can do so at any time. Just make sure that you work it in to an even texture.

Ready to cook your tortillas?

You want to portion roughly golf ball-sized pieces. If you have a tortilla press, use it. I’ll assume that you know how to use it or else why do you own a tortilla press? If you’re like me, however, and do not have one, you can still improvise.

Place a ball of dough onto a large cutting board. Flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. Place a piece of plastic wrap over it and press down with a second cutting board. Remove the second board and finish flattening it evenly with a rolling pin. I like to get it no more than one or two millimeters thick. Then peel back the plastic wrap, slip a knife underneath the tortilla, and cut the tortilla free from the board. Don’t throw away the plastic wrap. You can use it for the whole batch.

By this point, you should have your pan or griddle heated to medium. Add a small amount of oil (if needed) and add the tortilla. As it cooks, it will change colour slightly and the edges may brown. Once it changes colour, indicating that the heat has penetrated through, flip it and cook for another few seconds. They’re best when they have a little browning on each side.

When your creations are done, transfer them to a plate and cover the plate with a cloth or towel. This will keep them warm and moist, which is important. You really want to eat them when they are still warm. Just stuff them with anything you think goes nicely inside a tortilla.

NOTE: If you like making your own tortillas, here’s a little thing to consider. You can make them any size or shape you want, especially when you’re not bound by the dimensions of a tortilla press. Recently, I made a batch of large, square tortillas which became the finest enchiladas I have ever cooked.

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