Fresh Flour Tortillas

There is nothing more divine to me than a warm and fresh tortilla. When I am in San Antonio, it is one of the things I look forward to most – stepping foot in a Las Palapas or Casa Rio and being served with a tortilla warmer full of steamy, perfectly pillowy flat breads to go with my carne guisada, migas, or fajitas.

That I spent years buying in-store tortillas for home use kind of depresses me, now that I know how easy they are to make. You don’t need much: flour, lard, salt, water, and a food processor or your own two hands.

You might think I’m crazy to cook with lard, and before I’d read Robb Walsh’s Tex-Mex cookbook, I might have agreed with you.

Cooking with lard is actually much better for you than say, margarine. It has absolutely no trans fats, and stacks up gram for gram equally on total fat to vegetable oil. And Crisco? It’s got genetically modified soy bean oil in it. No thank you!

Besides all that, I am putting my hand on the Good Book here and telling you: You will only make a superior tortilla if you make it with lard.

I’m not asking you to cook with lard every day, and I’m certainly not asking you to make fresh tortillas every day of your life (though hey, if you want to join that party with me, it’s kinda fun) – but for the good of your tortillas, I am asking you to pick up that box near the butter that says LARD on it.

I promise, if I see you in the grocery store, I’ll give you a thumbs up. I will not judge. And if someone else starts giving you those judgy eyes? You send ‘em my way. I’ll set ‘em straight.

Robb Walsh tells me in his book that San Antonio has superior tortillas because of the hardness of the water there. San Antonio water comes from the Edwards Aquifer, and I’m here to tell you, it’s some of the best tasting water in the world. The Edwards Aquifer is an underground cavern made of limestone, filled with water. The limestone imparts minerals into the water that give it such a fresh perfect taste, and oh man.. I miss it now.

So if you ever make to San Antonio, you’ll have to taste the water and the tortillas, and tell me what you think. In the meantime, make some tortillas of your own, and throw some carne guisada or breakfast taco fixins in it. It’ll make your day, I promise.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, instead of just griddling your tortillas for use in tacos, visit Bake at 350 – a blog started by my fellow Texan and dear friend, Bridget – where she teaches you how to french toast tortillas and FILL THEM WITH NUTELLA. Did I mention she’s a freakin’ genius?

Comments

  1. says

    When I was younger, I had a Mexican friend who’s mom stayed in the kitchen cooking all day long. I had never seen anything like it!! And there was ALWAYS a stack of warm, homemade tortillas on the counter.

    I still dream about that stack of tortillas.

    And now I can make my own. WOO HOOOOO!!!

    • says

      I had a friend like that too, Kristan. Her momma didn’t speak a word of English, and it really forced me to learn some Spanish. Especially things like, “Arroz con Pollo, por favor!”. LOL.

  2. says

    Oh my, this sounds heavenly. Talk about taking your meal to the next level with homemade goodness!! I think I could eat very happily at your house.

    • says

      Sylvie, I try not to think too hard about it, or I’ll be in the kitchen whipping up a fresh batch every few days. It’s just that easy!

  3. says

    I’ve only tried house-made tortillas once – we don’t have a lot of authentic places where I live. But that one time – WOW! I could have eaten a whole stack of them. Now I can. Hee hee!

  4. says

    I absolutely LOVE flour tortillas. Warm, a slathering of butter, rolled up and quickly eaten. Living in between SA & Austin you could only imagine how hard my water is! Thanks to Edwards!

    • says

      Oh man, Melissa, isn’t that just the perfect snack? A buttery tortilla. You don’t need anything else. No filling.. just butter and fresh tortilla. Pure heaven.

  5. says

    I love homemade tortillas. They are so much better. In fact when we go to my favorite Mexican restaurant, I always order some to go. Thanks for the great post-I’m so trying this soon!

  6. says

    There’s something so rewarding about homemade flour tortillas, and it’s not just that they taste 10,000 times better than store-bought.

  7. says

    My idea of homemade is warming up storebought ones…which never really satisfy. I can just taste these with butter, cinnamon and sugar; one of my fave things to do with tortillas.

    • says

      LOL. Well show them the tortillas, Bridget, and then they’ll get it. Oh gosh, imagine if Starbucks did breakfast tacos? Total World Domination.

  8. says

    Oh my. I was just thinking of these. Could be dangerous having fresh, warm flour tortillas around. I’ve made my own corn tortillas, but not flour. Thanks for posting this :)

    • says

      Kellypea, that’s interesting – I’ve never made corn tortillas because I’ve always read that you don’t really get it right unless you have freshly made masa with corn meal that’s different from what we can find at the grocery store. I’d love to see a recipe if you have one.

  9. says

    One Texas girl to another, YOU MADE me proud! This is my super secret hidden skill! My high school sweet heart’s mom worked for the burrito stop in our town and she taught me well. I LOVE surprising people with my super secret skill.

    and THANK YOU for saying it outloud. Lard is the only way to go if you are making tortillas. It changes the flavor not to use it. Anything else, and you have a wrap!

    This is the most exciting post of my day!

    • says

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Seriously – I took fresh tortillas to a potluck once. People thought I was a genius.

      You are very welcome for the Lard props! I will preach to the church of Lard until my dying day. :)

  10. says

    I’m making these. Lard is the way to get amazing texture in lots of things. When it calls for it have it occasionally and its so wonderful. I think people just see the word and have a bad connotation of it but seriously anyone who eats pork has a little lard in them :) thanks for sharing

  11. says

    Fresh made tortillas is just one of the many things I miss about living in Texas. I’ve tried to make them, with mixed results, but your photos and description make me want to take another stab at it. Maybe with a press, I can keep mine from coming out shaped like Florida!

  12. says

    Finally got around to getting a small press and I’m totally sold on it, and your recipe! I made half a batch with baking powder for fluffy, soft tortillas to eat with butter and honey and another batch without to use for tacos. Thanks so much!

  13. Karen N. says

    There’s not much better than homemade flour torts! They just make whatever you put inside taste that much better. Mmmm!

  14. says

    So excited to find your blog! I live in Castroville which is right outside of San Antonio and totally understand all of the memories you have from the area… My mom learned how to make tortillas when I was very small. I learned at a very early age…We use shortening instead of lard and they are heaven…you just can’t beat a homemade tortilla!

  15. Chris says

    I am from San Antonio and agree with everything she wrote above. I have looked for recipes on the net and it always leads me to your site. What a great site you have. I am also looking for a good carne guisada recipe, something like the one they serve at las palapas. Do you know where i can get one?

    • says

      Chris, you made my day with this comment. I have a recipe for “Carne G” here on the site, a sort of bastardized version that my brother-in-law makes at the station (he’s in the SAFD), but I’ve never posted my “real” carne guisada recipe because I’m still playing with it. It’s not perfect yet.

      I’ll email my somewhat perfect recipe separately, and see how you get on with it. Let me know what changes you make, maybe we can post it here together with dual credit!

      Amber

  16. Erica says

    I am so glad I found this! I am from Corpus Christi but I live in California (the hubs is in the military) and tortillas here are absolutely NOT even close to what Texas is .

  17. Rose says

    After years of practice, I can throw together a batch of tortillas in no time flat. Nothing better than fresh roasted & peeled green chili wrapped inside a warm tortilla right off the griddle :)
    Great secret to soft tortillas – instead of warm water use warm milk. Never use cold water as called for in some recipes I’ve found.
    I never use a tortilla press. Like all else, rolling round tortillas takes practice. The first ones I ever rolled look like some of the 50 states:/

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