Remember This Rolling Tip When Making Homemade Corn Tortillas

If you've ever had homemade tortillas, you know how delicious they are. You probably also know how difficult it can be to get the dough to cooperate. Masa is a corn-based flour used in many Latin American dishes, not the least of which are corn tortillas. One of the trickiest parts of using Masa is getting the flour-to-water ratio right. It can't be too wet or dry, or your tortillas won't turn out. But there's another way you could be drying your tortillas out without realizing it: By pre-rolling them before putting them in the tortilla press.

You may have gotten the water ratio perfect, but if you roll out your dough before placing it in the press, you're letting the dough dry out, which will keep the tortillas from holding their shape. It all comes down to the surface area. When the dough is pulled apart and rolled out, you're increasing the surface area, which means the air will have that much more access to the moisture in your dough. By the time you get through all of your balls of masa dough, you'll be left with brittle tortillas that break apart as soon as you touch them.

Perfecting your tortilla

At first glance, it does make some sense to pre-roll the dough. If you have all of the tortilla balls ready to press, then you can quickly move through them, right? Actually, no. Instead, get your dough set up and then take one ball out at a time. Grab a chunk of dough that's somewhere between a golf ball and a tennis ball and gently press down so it has a flat surface. Place the dough in the tortilla press and adjust the size of your next dough ball accordingly.

If you're cooking your tortillas on the stove, only make enough pressed tortillas to fill your cooking surface. When those are done, move on to the next batch. It may seem like a small thing but, because corn tortillas are so sensitive to the flour-to-water ratio, it makes a big difference by the time you're done.

If you're still having trouble keeping your homemade corn tortillas from falling apart, you can try kneading the dough for longer to get the flour to absorb the moisture better. Try kneading the dough for five to 10 minutes. If the tortillas are falling apart as you eat them, try heating them up in the microwave covered by a wet paper towel or by placing them in a steamer for 15 minutes.