Make Your Own: Flour Tortillas from Scratch (and a question about wheat)

>> Thursday, November 19, 2009

Although most of our grocery purchases are organic or local nowadays, I've still been buying our favorite brand of cheap flour tortillas. We like the small size, the taste, and the convenience - burritos are my "I don't have time to cook tonight" meal. But I don't like the questionable/processed ingredients or the plastic packaging.

I've looked at Whole Foods for tortillas, but all I could find were some gluten-free things, and frankly, I'm not getting the whole gluten-free fad. I have no need for a gluten-free diet, and although I know many people (including Oprah) who are buying gluten-free products even though they haven't been put on a gluten-free diet by their doctors, I don't really understand why. Maybe someone wants to leave a comment explaining it to me. :)

Anyway, I'm mostly still sticking with our old reliable tortilla brand, but occasionally I make tortillas from scratch. They are sooooo yummy, healthier, and there's no plastic packaging involved.

Flour Tortillas

MAKES 8 tortillas
COST: $0.15 per tortilla

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. water
  • Combine the flour and salt.
  • Cut in the butter.
  • Gradually add the water.
  • Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. (The recipe I have says to do this , but I have to admit that I never have. As I said, burritos are my quick meal, and refrigerating for 24 hours would make them completely not quick.)
  • Divide the dough into 8 to 12 pieces, depending on how big you like your tortillas.
  • Roll each piece very thin.
  • Cook on a hot griddle for about 20 seconds on each side.

And hurray, hurray, I finally got around to looking up that wheat farmer my friend told me about forever ago. I went and picked up some wheat from them last week - brought my own five pound buckets - so if I can get into the swing of grinding my own wheat, that's one step closer to zero waste!

Question though - does anyone know anything about soft wheat? I bought two buckets of hard wheat, and one of soft. Hard wheat is what most of us are used to, but the soft wheat is supposed to be good for things that don't rise like cookies and pancakes. But I always do half white half wheat in all my baked goods. Could I substitute the soft wheat for the white flour, eliminating the need for all-purpose flour?

6 comments:

Brenda Pike November 20, 2009 at 10:10 AM  

Do you ever make these ahead of time and freeze them? And if so, how long would they last that way? I can't imagine myself going to this much trouble on a weeknight, but if I could see making up a bunch on the weekend and pulling them out when I need them.

Green Bean November 20, 2009 at 12:52 PM  

Awesome. I've been meaning to make my own flour tortillas forever but never gotten around to finding a recipe. Thanks!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper November 22, 2009 at 8:12 PM  

@Brenda - I've never tried freezing them, but I think it would work. Another idea is to make the dough ahead of time, keep it in the fridge, and just pull out chunks to cook as you need them. Or if you used a shelf stable fat like coconut or palm oil instead of butter, you could probably make a "bisquick" like mix that you just add water to when your making burritos. But I've never tried any of that!

Mary November 23, 2009 at 9:14 AM  

I can't wait to try this recipe.

Anonymous,  November 26, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

The gluten-free 'fad' as you refer to it is in regards to increased diagnosis of Celiac Disease - when ingestion of gluten leads your antibodies to mistakenly attack your own insides and affect your absorbtion of food. This can lead to a host of problems including malnutrition, depression, chronic abdominal pain, and diabetes. Celiac disease is genetic, one does not outgrow it. At this point about 1% of the population is identified as having Celiac Disease, though the percentage is probably higher as the symptoms are so varied and many doctors do not think to test for it.

I came across your post when I was doing a search for gluten-free recipes...obviously not to be found here by someone who is ignorant enough to call gluten free food a fad. If you saw something marked as 'peanut free' would you say 'what is this peanut free fad?' Do some research before you put your foot in your mouth!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper November 26, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

@Anonymous - I know all about Celiac disease, and you're right -it's a very real disease. What I'm referring to are the increasing number of friends and acquaintances who are going gluten-free when they have not been diagnosed with celiac disease. That is what doesn't make sense to me. Besides celiac disease, are there other reasons to eat a gluten free diet? I was sincerely interested, which is why I was hoping someone would explain it to me in the comments. I've tried researching it, and can't find any reason someone would need to eat a gluten free diet if they didn't have celiac disease. Is it just hard to diagnose and people are being cautious? I didn't mean to offend or degrade people that really need a gluten-free diet, and I'm sorry you took it that way.

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