Ariel's family tortilla recipe

So that I can stop asking Ariel each time I want to make tortillas, allow me to finally (finally) put it somewhere I'll find it again.

Hi, all!

Here's the recipe for the tortillas I made at taco night last
week.  The recipe is from Ariel's mom - she said I could share
it with you.  :)


First I will give you the original recipe for flour tortillas that my
mother and mother-in-law used since they first began making them.  It
is higher in fat than the recipe we now use, but they are sooooo good.

4 cups unbleached flour (I like King Arthur)
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup shortening
about 1 1/2 cups warm water (my mother-in-law uses boiling water and so
  do I)

Mix flour and salt in a bowl; cut in shortening using a pastry blender
(my mother and I) or your fingers (my mother-in-law).  Add enough water
to make a soft dough; at this point the dough isn't particularly smooth.
It is better to have a dough that is too soft than one that is hard.  
If you are using boiling water, mix with a fork or wooden spoon until
the dough cools off.  

Let dough rest in the bowl, covered with a dish towel or plate for about
15 minutes or more.  This allows the gluten to relax and the flour to
absorb the water.   [Kitt: if you let it sit too long, however, it'll
start to form a crust as the fats start to harden.  Learned that the
hard way the first time.]

Knead the dough until it is smooth.  Take about two tablespoons of dough
and work it so that you have a flattened ball whose top is smooth.  This
will take longer to explain than to do.  You put the ball of dough in
your left palm and with the fingers of your right hand you tuck the
edges of the ball toward the left side of the ball as you rotate it.
You'll end up with a flattened ball, smooth on the top and full of
gathers on the underside.  I think the purpose of this is for easy
rolling.  It probably isn't very important, so skip this step and just
make a bunch of flattened balls however you want.

You can keep these balls (testales in Spanish) in a covered container
in the fridge for about 1 1/2 weeks.  Throw them out when they start

Let the dough rest again for a few minutes to let the gluten relax,
otherwise you will never be able to roll them out.  

Now the rolling and cooking.  If your dough is too soft and a little
too sticky,  sprinkle the working surface (board or counter) liberally
with flour, roll the fattened ball into a this disk, never going off
the edge with the rolling pin but just stopping short of it , and give
the tortilla a quarter turn.  So the action is to roll up to the top
edge, down to the bottom edge, and give the tortilla a quarter turn.
You never turn the disk upside down.  

When the tortilla is about 1/8 inch thick [Kitt: Preeti and I made them
slightly thinner] (don't worry if they aren't round; that will come
with practice), put it on the preheated griddle--the same temperature
as for making pancakes (sprinkle  griddle with water and if the droplets
dance, it's hot enough).   When blisters start to form, flip it.  

Cook this side until it is browned slightly.  Flip again with a pancake
turner, and gently press the bubbles to force the air to spread between
the layers of the tortilla.  Finish browning this side.  Eat as soon as
The lower fat version is made with only 1/3 cup of shortening.  I've
cut it still lower and use olive oil instead of Crisco.


Of course, the other way to get them is to come over to our house
and let me cook them again.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!