Tortillas From Scratch
Making Tortillas With Maria Luisa
(Page 3)

Now I have my ground corn, or masa. I walk back to my home and have to start the fire in my tin stove. While this is warming, I remove the two big balls of masa from the cuartarones and knead them both separately, mixing with just a little water to keep the masa flexible and moist. Next, I pinch off small sections, about the size of my fist and roll these into balls. Each ball is placed onto a thin piece of plastic that is spread on top of a tortillera ("tortilla-maker" or tortilla press). This tortillera is sure to be found in every household across Mexico! It is usually made from wood and has two circular pieces connected by a hinge. Therefore I am able to fold over and press firmly the tortillera and make the ball of masa flat just like a tortilla. The plastic sheets on either side of the flattened masa keep it from sticking to the wood. Now I can remove the tortilla-shaped masa and toss it back and forth in my hands just enough to shape it perfectly before gently laying it on the stove.

Maria with her "masa," and starting to prepare her tortillas.


I continue making balls and shaping the masa into large, flat circles as the other tortillas cook on the stove. Each one needs to be turned over after a couple minutes and when they are fully cooked they are put into a tortilla basket, with a cloth over them to keep them warm. Usually I will make about 20 to 30 tortillas for one meal, and throughout the day this totals to at least 60 tortillas. Our tortillas are ready to eat!

Maria using her "tortillera" to shape the "masa."

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