Homemade Flour Tortillas

Simple, delicious, Belizean-style homemade flour tortillas. 

When I was in primary school I would often ride bikes with my best friend into town. Our first stop was always by the old market in Corozal Town, where his mother had a mini-kiosk-diner. She was a very large, Garifuna woman. I can still remember her unorthodox method for making Belizean flour tortillas. Ms. Z would start with a little ball of dough but she would toss the dough high into the air and gradually spin out a perfect circle of dough. Her success rate was 100%.

What sets the Belizean Tortilla apart?

Belizean tortillas, on the whole, are generally thicker and less stretchy than Mexican flour tortillas. They are also slightly more bread-like in texture and therefore well suited to be paired with BBQ chicken or Belizean stewed beans. Traditional Belizean flour tortillas are not well suited for making burritos because they lack the stretch required, however, if more fat is added, the tortilla will gain the stretch required.

What follows is a very simple recipe for making Belizean style flour tortillas.  Leave us a comment and tell let us know how this recipe worked for you!

Belizean Style Flour Tortillas

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Yields: approx 12 Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 3 cups - white flour
  • 1 teaspoon - baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon - salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter or shortening
  • 1 1/3 cup - warm milk, water or coconut milk

Preparation

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together with the butter until the dough is consistently crumbly. Slowly add 1 1/3 cup warm milk (warm water or warm coconut milk) while continuing to mix by hand. The dough consistency should be soft, not-sticky, and ready to knead. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  2. Pinch off golf-ball amounts of dough and roll into smooth balls by hand. Allow to rest for 15-30 minutes.
  3. This step is the hardest, and there are a few methods: Ms. Z had her style for forming the tortilla dough ball into a flat tortilla, but more commonly in Belize, tortilla makers will press out a perfect circle of dough on a table using nothing but perfectly trained finger tips. Their fingers tap round and round the dough pushing it out to a circle. It’s harder than it looks to get perfectly round tortillas. When I was in home economics class I bribed a Mayan classmate to make my tortillas. Of course she had the advantage of waking up every morning and making two dozen flour tortillas for her family. Practice makes perfect! For untrained fingers, we suggest using a tortilla press or a rolling pin on a lightly greased surface.
  4. Heat your comal or a flat heated griddle. Tortillas cook quickly, so if you are cooking alone, press out all your tortilla balls first before cooking.
  5. Tortillas cook quickly, so if you are cooking alone, press out all your dough balls first before cooking. Heat the Comal over medium heat. A comal in Belize is either cast iron, or these days it’s common to find a 1/4 inch thick slab of aluminum instead. It’s essential that the cooking surface is hot and stays consistently hot. Even heat is ideal. If the cooking surface is smoking it’s too hot. When the raw tortilla hits the surface it should start to cook immediately.
  6. The uncooked side of the tortillas will start to bubble up. After a few bubbles have formed flip it. When both side have cooked flip it again, then using paper towel or cloth press down on the tortilla gently and evenly. This should cause the tortillas to bubble more and form a pocket. This pocket is the sign of great Belizean flour tortilla. It takes some “feel” to get a tortilla just right. Taste a few tortillas until you get one right.

Pro Tips

Different types of flour need different amounts of liquid. During step one, add liquid slowly to ensure that you get the right consistency of dough.

Belizean Style Four Tortillas

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