Ratio Rally – Corn Tortillas

by Jenn on September 5, 2012

in Budget,Dairy Free,GF Ratio Rally,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains

Chocolate Chili Steak Fajitas

Yes! I got to participate in a ratio rally challenge again, woohoo!  This was a really fun challenge, and I got to enjoy making it when my parents came out to visit us and the baby.  For those of you that don’t know, the Gluten Free Ratio Rally is a group of gluten free bloggers that strive to find or utilize ingredient ratios in creating GF foods.  Each month a different person hosts and we tackle a new challenge, each with our own spin on it.  This month Brooke of B & The Boy! challenged us to create tortillas or wraps.

Given the opportunity, I will almost always opt for a traditionally naturally gluten free route if available.  So when I heard about this month’s event, I instantly knew I wanted to learn how to make corn tortillas from scratch.  We will go to a specialty store to buy GF corn tortillas, but their price warrants a special occasion before either my husband or I can justify purchasing them.  But if I could make them myself…. well then that would open up the possibilities…

As luck would have it, I was able to find some masa harina, so I knew I was in business to make some corn tortillas.  Masa harina is a flour from corn, but the corn has been treated with a slightly basic solution such as lime (calcium hydroxide) before grinding into flour.  This chemical reaction helps to break down elements of the corn kernel, while allowing proteins to stick together – the result is masa harina can be made into a dough, whereas cornmeal that was not treated this way would not.  So, if you want to make corn tortillas, you need masa harina.  Regular flour from corn will not do.

So I had the right flour, check! And it was labeled gluten free right on the package, check! Now all I needed was a method.  I don’t own a tortilla press, but I figured that some parchment paper and a rolling pin would be a fine stand-in.  I couldn’t find any existing published “ratios”, so I just did what I usually do – look for recipes and see if/what needs to be converted.   I had recently seen Nicole of Gluten Free on a Shoestring put up a corn tortilla recipe, and she is one of those wonderful souls that provides weight measures with her ingredients.  Her recipe calls for 232 g of masa harina, and 9 -11 oz (255 – 312 g) of water.  Being a large range, I decided to start with 1:1 flour to water and see how it went from there.

Corn Tortillas

After adding in equal parts flour and water, it was definitely too dry and so I added in more water, a little at a time, working the dough with my hands until it felt a bit like a dough.  In the end I ended up using about 285g of water, making my ratio around 1 : 1.25 flour : water.  But I can definitely see how it is a range.  The dough can dry out rather quickly (as can most gluten free doughs), so the time you let it rest, the humidity of the air, how much exposure to the air it gets before you make and then cook your tortillas, all of these things can affect the total water content.  I added small amounts of water a few times during the process, and so I think it just is one of those things you have to get a feel of, and thus an exact ratio is likely hard to come by.

The result? Wonderful!  By about the 3rd one I had a bit of a technique down rolling them out between parchment paper so that they wouldn’t break, and by then my husband had figured out the right timing and flipping technique for cooking them.  We made fajitas with them, using some chocolate chili seasoning on cuts of steak, and served with veggies, rice, beans, and homemade guac.  There was also cheese and sour cream on the table, but since I have had to go dairy free for baby girl, I avoided them :)

I’m so glad that I now know I can make my own fresh tortillas – they were not a lot of effort and they tasted great, and held up really well to bending when eating a filled fajita.  I will definitely be doing this again, especially as I have a rather large bag of masa harina to use up now.  What will be next? Maybe some arepas….

Chocolate Chili Steak Fajitas

Check out what everyone else created!

Jenn | Jenn Cuisine Corn Tortillas
Jonathan | The Canary Files Vegan Curried Flour Tortillas
Meg | Gluten-Free Boulangerie Lefse (Norwegian Potato Flatbread)
Pete and Kelli | No Gluten, No Problem Flour Tortillas
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies Gluten Free Flour Tortillas – Quesadilla
Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary Sundried Tomato & Basil Tortillas
Brooke | B & the boy! Buckwheat Tortillas
Charissa | Zest Bakery Paleo Grain-Free and Gluten-Free Tortillas
Karen | Cooking Gluten Free! Gluten Free Healthy Flours Tortillas



Also linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays