As we have ventured farther down the road of gluten-free living, various little challenges have arisen. No surprise there, I suppose. However, it was a little unexpected when corn tortillas, generally a big time staple at our house, temporarily became a no-go. Corn, being corn, is naturally gluten-free. But, after being advised by various gastreonterologists about the importance of maintaining a strictly gluten-free environment for Mariam, we found ourselves needing to read labels on everything, even products that were seemingly safe. And it turns out that a corn tortilla that is both semi-decent and guaranteed to be free from any and all traces of gluten is not to be found in the greater Burlington area. Thus the humble brilliance of the tortilla press arrived at our house.
Making corn tortillas turns out to be surprisingly simple, which is a good thing, since we have been eating them like it is our job. The biggest challenge in the whole operation was probably just assembling what we needed. We couldn't get guaranteed gluten-free masa locally, so we had to order it online. And the press came from Amazon as well, since none of our local kitchen shops had them in stock when we were looking. We'd love to find a cast iron one, but apparently they are few and far between and so far, we haven't had much luck.
We've been using a combination of 2 cups masa, 1 1/2 cups of hot water and a teaspoon of salt for each batch of tortillas. This seems to yield a dough that is stiff but still workable and that forms and presses well. Letting it sit for an hour or more after mixing up the batter is important to getting good results, so I would definitely recommend doing that.
The basic process goes something like this: mix up the dough in the proportions mentioned above. Let it sit for an hour at room temperature. Then, make a golf ball sized ball of dough and place it between two sheets of wax paper in the center of the press. Close the press and press down hard enough on the handle to really flatten out the dough. Open it back up, peel off the top sheet of wax paper and then gently peel the tortilla off of the bottom sheet. Toss the tortilla into a dry skillet and cook it over medium-low heat, turning once about half way through and taking it off when it begins to brown just slightly. You can reuse the same wax paper to make the rest of the tortillas from your batch of dough.
And as always, easy and good continue to be a stellar combination.