We eat lots of tortillas. We normally buy sprouted wheat tortillas at the coop, but they are pricey and every few days we're tossing a plastic bag in the trash. Plastic. I am moving beyond plastic, one homemade tortilla at a time.
This was our first effort at 100% whole grain sprouted tortillas. Quick, easy, and delicious. I was reminded of Norwegian Lefse and Indian roti throughout the process. These are breads that are so familiar to me, all spring from the same collective memory. Simple flat-breads from a simple process used throughout the world.
This tutorial has more steps than the recent butter post, but only because we decided to sprout and grind our own grains. To simplify, purchase sprouted flour (or any flour!) and begin below at "Making Your Tortillas".
Sprouting Your Grains
You can use almost any grain for this process. Wheat, spelt, quinoa… just know that sandier grains (like rice) are harder to work with and are better in combination. In total you want four to five cups of whole grains.
We combined the following ration of whole grains in a wide moth half-gallon jar: 1 cup rye, 1 cup kamut, 2 cups spelt.
Rinse grains and then fill the jar to the shoulders with water.
The next day drain, rinse, and prop jar at an angle over a bowl or towel.
Rinse at least once a day (more is better) and watch for little white sprouts ("tails") on your grains. When the tails appear on most of your grains, rinse and drain well one last time. Then transfer to food dehydrator trays or to cookie sheets in a warm oven. Dehydrate thoroughly.
(Some people have had great luck with the pilot light on and the oven door cracked, others simply set their oven to its lowest possible temp. Fiddle with it. You'll get it!)
Transfer dried grains to your food mill. (If you don't have a grain grinder – most people don't – you can thrift a small blade-style coffee grinder. Clean it by grinding up a chunk of bread and then grind your grains in batches with some motor-cooling time between each batch. A good blender or food processor can also make flour but be patient. It takes time.)
Grind six cups of flour.
If you have a small helper who likes to bring the sum total of her play kitchen dishes to your kitchen when she hears the food mill running, then do grind extra. You'll need it.
Are you overwhelmed yet yet? It sounds daunting as I type it out,
but really it was stretched out over a week and was just a few moments
each day. Hang in there. It's almost tortilla time. Or if you prefer just dump your grains in the compost and go buy some flour. I'll be here when you get back.
Making Your Tortillas
5 C flour plus 1 C flour reserved
2 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 C fat of your choice (coconut oil, butter, olive oil, lard, etc.)
Place 5 C of flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add salt and stir.
Add 1/2 to 1 C of fat (more fat = richer tortillas. Start with 2/3 C if you can't decide). We used coconut oil (okay, full disclosure – we also used lard, 1/3 C of each because that was what we had. My ex-vegetarian self shudders as I type). Seriously. They are forgiving so use what you have.
Rub the fat in with your fingers until it looks something like the photo above. Somewhat coarser than cornmeal with no big blobs of fat.
Boil 1 1/2 C of water. Add all at once and then stir to combine until you have a ball of dough. Knead by hand on a well floured surface (or in your stand mixer) until the dough feels smooth, adding flour as needed.
Make golf ball sized dough balls and place them in a pan.
Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for at least one hour.
At baking time, lightly flour your work surface and roll out one ball at a time. You'll get the hang of the thickness quite quickly. Play with it until you get what you like. Sage was successful at rolling out most of our tortillas at age seven, so do involve your kids!
Heat a griddle or frying pan on medium-high heat. A cast iron skillet will take longer to heat than a stainless frying pan, so watch your pan closely. It should be quite hot but not smoking.
Place your rolled tortilla on griddle.
Cook on one side until bubbles form, then flip. Cook the second side for
a minute or two until brown bubbles ("freckles") begin to form. Flip
and cook side one again until you have some nice "freckles" and
then transfer to a towel.
You did it! Pioneer woman (or man). I'm so proud.