Red, white, and… yellow. And green. Tempting tortillas.

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Tortilla.

Definition: “A thin, round, unleavened bread prepared from cornmeal or sometimes wheat flour, baked on a flat plate of iron, earthenware, or the like.”

So, how come these soft, thickish breads, leavened with both baking powder and yeast, and featuring not corn, but wheat and barley flours – are called tortillas?

Because we couldn’t figure out what else to call them.

Created by our maven of mixes, test kitchen baker extraordinaire Sue Gray, these soft rounds are perfect for folding around almost any kind of filling, from chicken fajita to cold cuts to egg salad.

They’re too fat to roll into a cylinder; and they don’t split in half, like a pita pocket. But their soft texture and mild flavor makes them the perfect base for absolutely any sandwich filling.

These not-actually-tortillas should, in reality, be called gordas – Spanish for “thick tortilla,” or “little fat one.”

Sound familiar? Taco Bell offers gorditas, thick tortillas stuffed with meat, cheese, and veggies. And we’ve blogged gorditas in the past. But this time around, we’re going to use this soft, flat-but-kinda-thick, round piece of bread to clash some cultures.

Pizza – meet tortilla.

You can absolutely top these tortillas with your favorite pizza ingredients. But now, in the heart of summer, why not take advantage of the wonderfully fresh vegetables appearing at farmers’ markets, and in your own backyard garden?

Corn! Tomatoes! Fresh herbs! Who can resist? Look at this gorgeous butter-and-sugar corn…

So let’s cook up some tortillas, a.k.a. gordas, a.k.a. south-of-the-border pizza crusts. And let your imagination be your guide as you find the tastiest, most colorful toppings possible.

These soft, tasty tortillas include a touch of high-fiber barley flour. It’s not absolutely necessary to the recipe – you can substitute all-purpose flour – but if you’re an inveterate flour-collector, add this Sustagrain barley to your pantry arsenal.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sustagrain® barley flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon instant yeast

*Substitute 1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, if desired.

Beat at high speed for about 1 minute to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Scrape the dough down the sides of the bowl, to make a cohesive ball.

Like this.

Lift the dough out of the bowl, and grease the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it, and let it rest for 30 minutes. You can take this opportunity to make your fresh corn salsa.

It’s… the corn stripper! Cuts (corn), slices (from the cob), and DOESN’T dice (the kernels). The perfect solution for those fresh, juicy corn kernels you need for your salsa or salad.

It captures a big ear’s worth of corn easily.

Can you just imagine how good this fresh corn tastes? We were nibbling on these kernels so continually I had to hide them.

Hey – is that why they call them niblets?

I’ve used this corn to throw together a fresh salsa here – salsa cruda, using the corn in place of the more traditional chopped bell peppers.

Here’s the recipe. Mix together the following:

1 1/2 cups diced Roma or plum tomato, about 2 tomatoes
1/3 cup diced red onion
2/3 to 1 cup fresh corn kernels, from 2 ears of fresh corn
1 to 2 peeled garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Let the salsa rest at room temperature, while you make the tortillas.

Back to the risen dough. We’re going to divide it into 12 pieces.

A scale certainly helps divide the dough evenly and easily.

Roll each piece into a ball. Cover the balls and let rest for 15 minutes.

Next, use a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands to pat each ball of dough into a thin, 4” to 5” circle.

Notice how the dough ball is offset on the tortilla press, towards the top. This way, it’ll press itself into the center, rather than oozing out the bottom.

Close the lid…

Press the lid down.

Nice!

Hint: if you grease the plates of the press, the tortilla will press itself thinner.

The tortillas will shrink a bit once they’re pressed. After shrinking, they’ll be a bit over 4” after the first go-around.

Stack the tortillas between greased parchment or waxed paper, to keep them from drying out as you work.

Here they are, all stacked and covered with a plastic shower cap, for protection.

Let them rest for about 15 minutes; this gives the gluten a chance to relax.

Don’t have a tortilla press? Just roll them out. You probably won’t get them as round; that’s OK. Once they’re rolled, stack and let them relax for 15 minutes.

Notice they’ve shrunk even more as they rested. What’s up with that?!

It’s the elastic gluten, wanting to return to its original tightness.

But just this simple step of waiting 15 minutes has relaxed it. See how nicely it presses out now?

Sometimes it may stick to the top plate, rather than the bottom one. No big deal; just peel it off.

OK, time to cook the tortillas. Heat a griddle on high heat; you want these to cook fast. Press however many tortillas you can fit on the griddle at once; I was happy just doing two at a time. You want them to be about 6” in diameter.

Flop the tortillas onto the hot, ungreased griddle. They may puff up quite vigorously; that’s OK.

Cook the tortillas for about 30 to 90 seconds, till the underside is nicely flecked with brown, then flip over.

Yes, that’s a wide range for cooking time; a lot depends on how hot your griddle is.

Press down on the tortilla when you flip it over, to smooth out any bubbles.

The tortillas will be somewhat thick and puffy; remember, these are more gordita than thin, rollable burrito wrapper.

Cook for 30 to 90 seconds, till the bottom side is nicely browned.

Stack warm tortillas, to keep them soft and pliable.

Now, for the topping. Ready your salsa cruda.

Cut or crumble some goat cheese, or the cheese of your choice.

I’m using a 4-ounce log of pepper-crusted goat cheese. For thin, even slices, loop a piece of dental floss under the cheese, cross the ends, and pull. No sticking! No smearing!

Arrange the goat cheese on six tortillas, which you’ve placed on a baking sheet.

Heat in a 350°F oven just till warm; this will only take a few minutes. You don’t want the tortillas to bake; you just want everything warmed and softened.

Top with the corn salsa.

Yes, some will fall onto the pan. That’s OK; just scoop it back on.

Serve immediately, garnished with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Pick up and eat like a mini-pizza. Or cut and eat like a pancake.

So, you used six tortillas for these “pizzas.” What about the other six?

Gorditas!

Top tortillas with spicy cheese, warm till cheese melts, and stuff with your favorite filling. Pulled pork is a great choice.

As is Caesar grilled chicken

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Soft Flour Tortillas. Information for making tortillas into these “pizzas” appears in the hint at the right of the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Wei-Wei

    Would you say that tortillas are an easy type of bread to bake for an inexperienced baker? The first kind of yeasted bread I made was pita bread, and I’m thinking of making these tortillas next. I don’t have tortilla presses, though.

    The corn looks so tasty, and that corn stripper is so cool!

    Wei-Wei

    Yes, Wei-Wei – you can absolutely do these. Just follow the step-by-step photos/instructions; the dough is so nice and soft, it’s easy to roll out without a press. The circles won’t be as round, but hey, looks are only skin (crust) deep, right? They’ll taste just the same. Good luck, and be sure to call us – 802-649-3717 – if you run into any challenges. PJH

    Reply
  2. SMJ

    These look delicious! Since they need to cook fast, can I cook these outside in my charcoal grill?

    I think the grill would be an excellent idea – thanks for the suggestion! PJH

    Reply
  3. Lilly

    Can I make these with whole grain flour?

    Also, I’ve recently learned how to save your recipes to my own little “place” on your site. But I don’t see a link to do that for this one….

    Enjoying reading all your past blogs. You inspire me to bake and cook more!

    Give it a try. You may need a little more liquid to accommodate the bran in the whole grain flour. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  4. michellemabell

    It all looks so delicious and fun to make! My kids will love this!

    I do have to say I have never seen a corn stripper before! I try not to get every gadget that comes out but this one I may have to try…:)

    Thanks for posting!
    michelle

    Reply
  5. Miranda

    I am sooo inspired by this post. I have two children and I am trying more and more to make most of my food from scratch. I like the idea of knowing exactly what is going in it. Thank you for such great ideas and such wonderful products.
    I will be purchasing the corn stripper VERY SOON!!!!!

    Miranda, corn stripper is awesome – such perfect little kernels. You can eat them raw, like candy! :) PJH

    Reply
  6. Han Lam

    wow, I’m so glad you post this. I can not find any tortillas without preservatives at my local grocery stores. So i just go for Rotis instead. Now I can make natural tortillas! Thank you!

    Reply
  7. AmandaLP

    A trick for the tortilla press is to use plastic wrap, or a plastic bag cut open, on the metal plates. Most tortilla presses have grooves and ridges, so they are not perfectly smooth. For a thicker bread like this, it may not be that big of an issue, but for thinner tortillas, it is a good thing :)

    These do look amazing, and I wish I did have access to my tortilla press again! Thanks for that great tip Amanda! We learn so much from our customers. Mary@ KAF

    Reply
  8. Erin R.

    Woohoo! I just bought a tortilla press a few weeks ago! There really is no comparison with the store bought ones. Homemade tortillas are tender and chewy, rather than stiff and dry. So far I have only made corn ones, but I’ll definitely have to give these babies a try. Thanks so much for the wonderful (and timely!) post.

    Reply
  9. sometomato

    These look like the ones I used to make by hand in New Mexico, and I often served them with “Calabacitas con Chile Verde”, sometimes adding fresh corn to the mixtures. Yummy!

    Reply
  10. Doris

    Wrap your press plates with plastic wrap and the dough will not stick at all. I do this every time when I make Chinese dumplings.

    Reply
  11. Jeanna

    The easiest way to press the tortillas is between two sheets of plastic wrap (cutting a gallon zip top bag in half at the seams gives you a thicker piece of plastic to use between the press.

    Reply
  12. Br. Bruno

    My hispanic brothers just might appreciate this recipe. There is a 100% whole wheat, no salt / no sugar flatbread that I make that my brothers inhale. Maybe I can try adapting that to this recipe?

    Absolutely – this should adapt pretty well to whole wheat, so long as you understand they’ll taste more assertive. Go for it! PJH

    Reply
  13. Sara

    Just made these for lunch. YUM! I don’t have a press, but my birthday is in two weeks, and I may have to try to change that. As a result and because I’m not very patient with my rolling pin, I got pretty inconsistent thicknesses, but no one cared. Some were crispier than others. All were outstanding. I made a “sauce” of peanut butter and honey for the small folks (I know it doesn’t sound very good, but it was), and for the bigger people, I mixed ripe tomatoes, feta cheese, white wine vinegar, and olive oil and put it in the middle. I couldn’t make them fast enough. We had one left over, which I smeared with Nutella. You can imagine what happened to it.

    Sara, I love all the ideas readers come up with to tweak recipes. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I love the honey/PB mixture – I mix up a batch for myself regularly…. :) PJH

    Reply
  14. Brenda

    Use the press for one of my favorite recipes–oozing cheese and bean empanadas; makes it SO MUCH EASIER! Didn’t get around to tortillas yet.

    Reply
  15. Alicia

    These sound delicious! If I don’t have enough time to put the salsa on them right after they are cooked in the griddle, can they be kept in an airtight container or frozen?

    Absolutely, Alicia. Keep them at room temperature for a couple of days, or freeze for longer storage. PJH

    Reply
  16. lisa11795

    I made these using whole wheat white flour. They came out great but tasted a little different than just plain flour tortillas. We used them for tacos and they were delicious! Very hardy and nice because they don’t fall apart like corn tortillas. (I made soft shelled tacos) Can’t wait for tomorrow to spread on the Nutella!

    Reply
  17. deathbychocolat

    I made these with whole wheat flour and barley flour (no white flour). Instead of milk I used milk powder and water. And since I don’t have a mixer capable of kneading dough for me, I let the yeast do most of the work. For this reason, I think it’s fantastic that you put yeast in it! I didn’t have to knead much by hand, and it still turned out elastic, and easy to roll out. I gave it one extra 30 minute rise time before I kneaded to give the flour time to hydrate. I’m probably going to make this recipe a lot.
    Thanks for sharing! ~ MaryJane

    Reply

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