A tortilla is a thin, round, unleavened Latin American flatbread made of corn or wheat. It should not be confused with the Spanish omelet also called tortilla.
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
All types of tortilla are very thin and flexible enough to be folded and sometimes rolled. Traditional corn tortillas are made entirely from ground nixtamalized corn, although some mass-produced corn tortillas may have wheat added to the dough. Corn tortillas tend to be less flexible but more flavorful than wheat ones. Wheat tortillas are made from wheat flour and water, sometimes incorporating fat or chemical leavening. Flour tortillas tend to be bigger, more absorbent, and more flexible than corn tortillas, but they have less flavor.
Production[edit | edit source]
Traditional corn tortilla dough is made by boiling dried corn kernels with limewater (calcium hydroxide). The softened cooked corn is then ground to make a dough called masa. Wheat tortilla dough is made by kneading together wheat flour, water, and salt, with the option of including fat or baking powder.
Both kinds of dough can then be shaped and flattened into thin discs, often using a tortilla press. The tortillas are then cooked in a pan or over a griddle or other sheet of hot metal. Mass-produced tortillas may be cooked over a flame using a conveyor belt.
Use[edit | edit source]
Tortillas have a wide variety of uses. They can be used as utensils to scoop stews or sauces, and fried tortillas are made into tortilla chips (totopos), which are used to scoop a variety of dips. Tortillas can be sandwiched with cheese and fried to make quesadillas, or they can enclose fillings to make tacos, burritos, chalupas, and fajitas. They can also be layered with fillings and baked to make enchiladas.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Blue corn tortillas
White corn tortillas
Cooking tortillas on a hot griddle
Recipes[edit | edit source]
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