Here’s a quick, easy, delicious flour tortilla recipe that uses simple, whole ingredients. You’ll never have to buy tortillas from the store again.
We love tasting each season.
Our quality of life and the quality of food we eat has drastically improved over the years as we’ve adapted our diets to what’s ripe in our garden, the woods, or from our local farming friends. We feel better, our food tastes better, and we have a much deeper connection to the journey our little blue planet is taking around the sun each year.
In the height of summer gardening season, we eat a lot of Latin American-inspired cuisines. With piles of peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, coriander seeds, and other warm weather goodies piling up on the counter, Latin American cuisine provides a great way to put that produce to work. And that also means we have to know how to make authentic tortillas from scratch…
Foods for every season, including tortillas
One form of carbohydrate we eat throughout all seasons is wheat. We do a lot of sourdough bread baking in our cob oven, and during the summer, we also make a lot of quick flatbreads and tortillas in a cast iron skillet on our stovetop.
When you’re acutely aware of where your food comes from, you begin to appreciate it on a level that’s hard to explain to a fast-fooder. Wasting food becomes a desecration. No food goes into the trash. Food scraps that aren’t eaten are either recycled via our worm bin or via hot composting, so that they can become new soil which will then become new food. And the cycle repeats.
The Inconvenience and High Cost of Eating Out
Once you know how to cook, it’s far easier, faster, and more affordable to make your own food at home—eating out becomes an expensive inconvenience that often makes you disappointed due to the quality of what you get.
Getting dressed, driving, sitting, ordering, waiting… then the food comes and 9 out of 10 times you know that you could have made a better meal at home in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost while using better ingredients. Ugh.
That’s why we highly recommend learning how to cook. And if you have a yard, why not use that spot to also grow some delicious, organic food for you and your family while providing safe, non-toxic habitat for bees, butterflies, frogs, and other critters?
Food Has a Story to Tell. Are You Listening?
If you learn to cook various ethnic cuisines, you can also enjoy a portal into a different time and place similar to the way that a good book transports you out of your own world and into someone else’s. Why did they use this ingredient instead of something else? What was the cultural significance of the dish? How did they discover that these particular spices would pair so well together? What was happening in their country or village when their family ate this meal?
We’ve learned an incredible amount about food by simply researching the history of individual ingredients. We love knowing the incredible “grow journey” those ingredients have been on before they arrived on our plate. 😉
Back to tortillas…
We used to make them with extra virgin olive oil. They were pretty good. However, olive trees are native to the Mediterranean region and tortillas are a Latin American food. Traditional tortillas were made from corn (which is native to the Americas), and the people making them weren’t using non-native olive oil as an ingredient; they were using animal fat. Even though wheat is originally from the Mediterranean region (not the Americas), it’s been incorporated into Central American cuisines for hundreds of years now. So people from these cultures have been making flour tortillas with animal fat for a few hundred years—and they’ve gotten really, really good at it.
What would be a good source for high-quality animal *fat? We happen to have access to some amazingly good thick-cut bacon from pastured pigs that we eat from time to time. Rather than throw out the leftover fat from the pan, we save it in a canning jar and use it in other dishes. Why waste it?
(*Note: If you’re thinking: “isn’t animal fat bad for me?” Despite the nutritional advice we all received for the past few decades, new medical researcher has shown that animal fat isn’t bad for you—especially if you’re getting protein and fat from healthy, pastured animals.) If you’re interested, we dive deeper into this topic in our interview with a nutrition scientist.
The left over bacon fat mentioned above is the secret ingredient to these amazingly delicious, and truly authentic, 10 Minute Authentic Flour Tortillas. (If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you could probably substitute raw coconut oil for the bacon fat.)
How good are these tortillas? The first time we made them, The Tyrant’s exact words were “The internet needs to know about this.”
And now, internet, here is the recipe you need to know about…
Step-by-step: Making 10 minute authentic flour tortillas
*10 minutes is the amount of time it should take you to prep the dough once you’ve gotten the hang of the recipe. As the instructions below state, you still need to let the dough rest, roll it out, and cook the tortillas, so the total time from start to meal is likely to be about 45+ minutes. If you’re hungry, don’t rest your dough as long as recommended in the instructions.
Authentic Flour Tortillas – Picture Guide
If you’re like us, it helps to see something when you’re learning it for the first time. The recipe is at the end of the post; the photos below will help you as you’re making this recipe:
1. Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need for this authentic flour tortilla recipe. Also, notice the “pastry blender” on the bottom left. A pastry blender is a must-have tool if you make a lot of pastries, pie crusts, tortillas, etc. It lets you work and cut the dough without heating it with your hands, which changes its consistency.
2. This is what the dough should like during step 1 on the instructions when all of the dry ingredients + the fat have been added, but BEFORE you add the warm water. Notice the pieces are coming together into small crumbly balls.
And a closer look:
3. This is what the dough should look like AFTER you’ve added the warm water, worked it, and brought all the ingredients together.
4. This is what the dough should like when cut into pieces during step 3.
5. Time to cook! Don’t panic when you see small or large bubbles forming on your tortillas as you cook them. This is normal and the bubbles will deflate as soon as you remove them from the heat.
And another one:
6. Now comes the part you’ve been waiting for! Time to serve and eat…
*These tortillas are delicious as-is, but they can also be used for dipping, tapas, or—our personal favorite—as the wrapping for a homemade quesadilla. We’ll have our quesadilla recipe coming soon!
10 Minute Authentic Flour Tortillas
A quick, easy, authentic flour tortilla recipe. You'll never have to buy tortillas from the store again!
- 2 cups organic all-purpose flour or 1 cup whole wheat / 1 cup all-purpose
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 3 tablespoons left over bacon fat or lard *use grass-finished animal fat
- 3/4 cups warm water ~110°F; tap water is fine
Add flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk or stir together. Using a pastry blender, cut bacon fat into flour mixture (you can use your hands if you don't have a pastry blender, but this can warm the dough too much if you handle it too much). Mixture should look like coarse crumbs once fully incorporated. Next, add warm water. Work the dough with your pastry blender or hands until all ingredients have come together and no dry flour remains.
Place finished dough onto a lightly floured surface (countertop, large cutting board, etc.). Knead the dough by hand for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Cover the dough with a lightly damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.
Cut dough into 8 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a ball. Preheat cast iron pan or griddle to medium heat (we set our stove to ~3-4, but every stove is different). Place one ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and work into the shape of a flat circle with your hands. Next, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into an 8-inch round circular shape.
Before placing dough into the pan, coat the pan with a teaspoon or more of bacon fat. Place dough in pan and cook until bubbles form on the visible side and the underneath has begun to brown. This happens very quickly (usually a minute or less), so be careful not to overcook. Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned. Transfer tortilla to a plate or cookie sheet, then cover with clean dish towel or foil. If you're making lots of them, put them in your stove on "keep warm" setting". Repeat the cooking steps with remaining balls of dough. These are best served immediately while still warm and slightly soft!
We hope you enjoy these flour tortillas as much as we do!