Thursday, May 31, 2012

Perfect Gluten-free Flour Tortillas

Have a burrito - a real burrito.  Just like I did every day this week since I came up with this recipe for gluten-free flour tortillas.  They aren't even hard to make!


There are several secret ingredients.  The first one is not so secret - it's more of a traditional, but underground ingredient.  The ingredient that makes these tortillas taste so good is lard.  Yep, delicious lard!  It's how flour tortillas are made.  (Sub out with vegetable shortening if you are vegetarian, of course.)



The second secret ingredient is my No. 2 Deluxe Pastry Flour.  It has just the right balance of gluten-free flours for texture, pliability, and flavor.  You need flavor in your flour to balance out that fat you're using.  You know, the lard.  It's delicious, but you want to taste flour with a beautiful enhanced flavor.  As much as I like lard, you don't want the lard flavor to take over your tortilla. That's exactly what will happen if you use a flour mix with too much starch in it, and no flavor.


The third secret ingredient is flax seed.  You need this for the flexibility.  Did you know that xanthan gum does not make your gluten-free flour flexible?  Flax seed does, though.


Now that you know the secrets, I'll show you the recipe.

Recipe for Perfect Gluten-free Flour Tortillas


This recipe makes about three 12-inch tortillas.  Multiply the recipe as needed.

Whisk together in a bowl:

1 cup (135 g.) No. 2 Deluxe Pastry Flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp flax seed, finely ground

Drop into the bowl:

2 Tbsp Lard

Cut the lard into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or just blend it in with your fingers until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Drizzle over the crumbly flour:

6-12 TBSP very warm water

Mix the water into the dough with your hands. Start with 5 or 6 Tbsp, then start kneading when it comes together.  If it's still too dry, add more warm water until it feels like proper dough.

Let the dough rest, covered, for at least 15 minutes at room temperature.  This helps the dough and the flax absorb the water and become flexible.

Turn on your cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat.

After the dough is done resting, knead it again for a minute and then do this test to see if it's the right texture.  Roll a piece of the dough into a ball and press it down into a disk.  Then use this guide to see if you need to adjust the water content:


Once it's perfect - and don't go to the next step until it is! - separate the dough into equal sized balls a bit bigger than a golf ball.  Roll it out on a piece of wax paper that is liberally floured with potato starch.  When it is a disk about 8 inches across, you might start to think it's not going to roll out more.


You would be wrong.  Just dust it with starch again, and flip it over onto the piece of wax paper, freshly floured
.

Roll it out until it's about 12 inches wide, then stick your hand under the wax paper again and peel the tortilla off.  (If at any point in this process the tortilla falls apart, just form it into a ball again and start over, adjusting the moisture content if needed.)





Slap the tortilla onto the hot griddle and cook for no longer than 30 seconds. 
Flip the tortilla over and cook for no longer than 30 seconds on the other side.
Remove the tortilla to a plate and cover it with a towel.  Cook the rest of your batch the same way, stacking the tortillas up under the towel as you go.  Serve them right away while they are warm, or within a few hours.  These tortillas are flexible enough to wrap around anything, or nothing.

12 comments:

l'actrice said...

Now I know what's next on my cooking list. Nothing better than handmade tortillas. And even gluten free:-)

Gina said...

Iris, it's an amazing experience to eat a burrito, and I had forgotten what it was like. Let me know how they turn out!

Christi Silbaugh said...

This is a great post. I will be attempting to make your flour tortillas soon for my daughter because with her celiac diagnosis, the thing she misses most is the wonderful burritos that are served on every corner here in southern california! Flax seed huh? I have never been a big fan, but I will have to give it a try because your tortillas look AMAZING! Well done!

Gina said...

Christi, thanks for the comment! The flax seed flavor doesn't come out at all in this recipe. It's such as small amount, and the other ingredients really take over. I recommend using golden flax seed. It has the mildest flavor. Let me know what you think once you've tried it, and thanks for reading!

Rebecca K Clark said...

So excited about this recipe! I need to get my hands on your flour mix. Is it available at any grocers?

Gina said...

Rebecca, I don't have distribution in any local chains - yet. Right now I only sell online. I'm sure we could work something out since you're local. We should email about it and set something up!

Amble Island Kitchen said...

Where do you buy a small amount of lard? I don't know where to buy lard period, but I'm guessing it would be sold by the pound. Thanks !

Gina said...

Amble Island Kitchen - I bought lard at Fred Meyer, our local chain of grocery stores. It was in the baking isle. I think the package I got was half a pound, but it's cheap - cheaper than vegetable shortening. It's also shelf-stable, so it lasts a really long time. If you don't see it in the regular grocery store try a Mexican grocery store. The brand I bought is Snow Cap. Thanks for reading!

Holly said...

Has anyone tried freezing these? Being a single GF gal making a batch of anything is most likely too much for me to use up before it would go bad.

Gina said...

Holly, I have frozen the whole burritos with good results. I make a batch of three to six and make frozen burritos to take to work. Defrost them wrapped in a paper towel and they are good to go.

They keep in the refrigerator for a few days and stay pretty flexible. I have not yet tried freezing them by themselves, but I bet that if you separated them with parchment or wax paper and put them in a ziplock bag they would freeze pretty well. They probably won't be as flexible afterwards, but still serviceable I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

can i use coconut oil in place of the lard to you think?

Gina Kelley said...

I have never tried coconut oil in this recipe. I'm very confident that a vegetable shortening would work with this recipe, but coconut oil would be an experiment. Even though it's solid at cooler temperatures like vegetable oil, it does melt at a lower temperature and I just have the feeling it might not hold the dough together as well. It might work, though. There's only one way to find out - just try it!