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.
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.
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.
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?
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.