In this house, we have a love affair with pork. Not just any pork but, good quality pork. If you don’t eat pork, you may want to stop reading this post because there is nothing in here for you (because tortillas made with lard).
For so long, I didn’t know that real flour tortillas are made with lard. I have bought packaged flour tortillas all my life and did not know what I was missing. Having real tortillas made with lard is a game changer. There is a savory depth of flavor that these tortillas have that prepackaged don’t. Instead of just tasting like plain white bread, they taste rich and luscious. Not to mention the lard, gives it a flaky, chewy texture. There are something things that just taste better homemade, and flour tortillas is one of them.
In my Achiote Roast Chicken post, I told you about Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman’s cookbook, Tacos: Recipes and Provocations. It has turned my world upside down; it changed everything I thought I knew about Mexican cuisine and challenged me to become more familiar. If it wasn’t for this cookbook, I would have never even thought to make my own flour tortillas. I am so happy I did. Now I understand we won’t always make flour tortillas going forward just because of the time investment, but I believe these homemade tortillas should be paired with something special. We made New Mexican Green Chile Stew and I thought that was a dish worthy of homemade accompaniments. That recipe will be coming soon,but first I want to share with you these tortillas.
As I mentioned, we have a love affair with good quality pork, so the lard we used was leaf lard and bought from our local butcher, Pine St Market. Find the best quality lard in your area. Leaf lard is the highest grade of lard, and comes from only certain places on the pig. At room temperature, it is very soft and spreadable. The lard in block form sold in most stores, is made from fat from all over the pig and can be treated in a variety of ways to keep it solid at room temperature and make it shelf stable. That is why Leaf Lard is the best option, because it is pure and untreated.
- 4 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
- ½ cup lard, room temperature
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup water, plus more as needed
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, lard, salt and baking powder. Mix on low speed until mealy, about 2 minutes. Add water and mix until the dough just comes together, about 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a smooth work surface and knead gently. If the dough is too dry add 1 teaspoon of water and knead. You want the dough smooth and elastic. Do not over work the dough. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Set up a double griddle, two cast iron pans, or two frying pans ( we only have 1 cast iron so I used that and 1 frying pan) over two burners. One side or one pan over low-medium heat and one over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal balls. Cover with a damp towel. Take one of the balls and roll out the ball into a 6-inch round. You may or may not need to flour the surface.
- Once the dough is rolled out, position yourself on the cooler end of the griddle or pan, With the tortilla draped over the palm of your hand and the top of your hand parallel to the hot surface. Bring the edge of the tortilla to the griddle (or pan) and very quickly slide your hand out from under the tortilla, it should stick right away to the surface. If you are too slow, the tortilla will fold and cook unevenly. Cook for 15 seconds. The tortilla will change color after 10 seconds. Using a thin spatula, flip it onto the hotter side of the griddle (or pan) and cook for 30 seconds. Flip it again, leaving it on the hotter side and cook 10 seconds before flipping it a final time. Cook for an additional 10 seconds. When the tortilla is done, its edges will begin to release from the griddle and it may inflate slightly.
- Store the cooked tortillas in an insulated container or wrap in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm until ready to serve.