There are many foods out there that act as a blank canvas for you to work with. In some cases, the food might be something that you add to, such as a sandwich, allowing you to create whatever dish you are in the mood for.
More often than not, these kinds of foods are at the center of many family favorite meals as they can be adjusted to fit just about anyone’s tastes.
A good example of this kind of “blank canvas” food would be the tortilla. Both corn and flour tortillas are used in a wide variety of meals ranging from simple tacos and burritos to more traditional meals that you can work with. While corn tortillas certainly have their purpose, more people favor the flour tortilla.
As you become more interested in preparing your own food and not relying on store-bought and restaurant food as much, you will quickly find that some of these foods are not quite as simple as they seem.
There are more than a few issues that come with trying to make your own tortillas at home, especially when you are working with an ingredient that is as fickle as flour.
At its core, making flour tortillas at home is not a complicated task. The dish itself only consists of a few ingredients and you don’t have to use any complex techniques to get the ingredients to create the final dish that you are looking for.
However, a common problem is that getting flour tortillas to have the texture and consistency that you want is a separate issue entirely.
One of the most common issues that you will come across is that your flour tortilla will not have the texture that you are looking for. It might be that the tortilla is too thin and it turns into something more akin to a crisp than a soft, pliable wrap.
It could also be that you are making your tortillas too thick, trying to avoid the previous issue.
Getting the texture of your tortillas just right is going to be one of the most complicated parts of making a tortilla but even then, it is pretty simple once you know what is going wrong.
What Makes a Hard Flour Tortilla?
Flour tortillas are known for being soft and easy to work with. They are most commonly used in burritos, wraps, and soft tacos for this very reason. When a flour tortilla turns out to be just as stiff as a corn tortilla, you may be disappointed and wondering what you might have done wrong.
Generally, there is only one issue that will result in your flour tortillas becoming too brittle to use in a recipe and that issue is going to be that you cooked the tortilla for too long.
The longer you cook the tortilla, the harder the dough is going to become, meaning that if you leave it on the pan for too long, your tortilla is going to go from prime wrapping material into something that you could use with a dip.
Now that you have a better understanding of what causes flour tortillas to become hard, you may have a good few ideas on what you can do to avoid having this happen again.
Because the problem stems from the dough in the tortilla cooking for too long, the obvious solution to the problem is going to be that you will want to try to cook your tortillas for a little bit less time.
Finding the Perfect Time to Cook Tortillas
With all of this being said, it is an unfortunate fact that just about everyone’s tortilla recipe is going to differ slightly. Different places where you can find recipes are going to offer a variety of recipes to choose from, with each of the recipes boasting that their recipe is the best one.
On top of this variation, people are going to source their ingredients from different stores, markets, and so on. This leads to the miniscule variations between different brands of flour and other ingredients.
Due to all of this, there is no hard and fast answer of how long you should typically cook your tortillas for. If you are going by a recipe, you should try to do some extra reading to see how people liked that specific recipe and if there are any adjustments that numerous people made to the cooking times.
If there is a general agreement that cooking times should be adjusted for a better tortilla, then you should go with those instead.
If you have been trying to make tortillas from a specific recipe and you have ended up with brittle and hard flour tortillas, you may want to make some of those adjustments yourself.
One rule of thumb that comes with making tortillas is that once the first one has finished cooking, you will want to wrap it in foil so it can continue to cook slightly while you place the other tortillas onto the pan.
You may also want to make sure that you know how to properly rest your tortillas after they have cooked so that they do not become dry and brittle while they are cooling down.
Saving a Failed Tortilla
If you have already made the tortillas and they have come out as hard pieces of dough, you might wonder if there is a chance that your tortillas can be saved. Typically, the cause of the hardness in tortillas when they are overcooked is because you have cooked all of the moisture out of the dough.
If there isn’t enough moisture in the dough, then the logical solution to fixing your tortillas is going to be to introduce moisture back into the dough.
First, you will want to dampen some paper towels. The paper towels shouldn’t be thoroughly soaked through but they should have enough water in them that you will effectively be able to transfer the moisture from the paper towel to the tortilla without much of it getting lost in the process.
Next, you will want to microwave both the dampened paper towel and the tortilla on high together for about ten seconds. The heat of the microwave will cause the moisture from the paper towels to rise as steam and to be absorbed by the tortilla without overloading the tortilla and turning it into a soggy mess.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.