Last Updated on October 14, 2021 by Boniface Muriuki
Nothing beats the scrumptiousness of freshly homemade tortillas! The pride of preparing them in your kitchen as opposed to buying them from the grocery stores is exceptional. If you’re still uncertain on how to use a tortilla press for the best tortillas, then this article is all you need!
What is a Tortilla Press?
A tortilla press is a kitchen gadget that uses leverage to press a small dough ball into a flat tortilla. As compared to a rolling pin, using a tortilla press is quicker, produces less mess, and delivers uniformly made tortillas.
The tortilla press is made of cast iron, wood, and aluminum, and it comes with an upper disc and a handle. While this may appear straightforward, there are still many questions on how to use a tortilla press to make homemade tortillas.
So the article explains how to use a tortilla press in your kitchen conveniently.
Choosing the Best Tortilla
Tortilla press comes in two different types. One is an electric tortilla press, and the other is a manual hand crank.
Electric tortilla presses flatten as well as cook the tortilla dough. While they save your kitchen from getting smoky, electric tortillas are a bit bulkier to store.
On the contrary:
Manual tortilla presses are simple to store, barely need any upkeep, and are easy to use. They are available in two options, including cast iron and wooden.
Many cooking enthusiasts prefer the wooden option as you don’t have to season it before preparing your tortillas compared to a cast iron tortilla.
How to Use a Manual Tortilla Press
- Start by preparing masa for corn tortillas. Separate the masa into different orbs (same size as a golf ball. Remember, small masa balls yield smaller tortilla corns almost four inches in diameter.)
- Cut two pieces (round or square) of strong plastic from a clean shopping bag or a storage bag using a sharp knife. Ensure the pieces are an inch larger than the size of the tortilla press. You can as well use a parchment paper as it works. But the choice is yours!
- These pieces of parchment or plastic papers are used to line the bottom and top surfaces of the tortilla press. For proper measure, ensure you make at least two to three pairs just in case the first pair fails to work through getting sticky.
- When ready to press the corn tortilla , line the lower side of the press using parchment paper.
- Failure to use a parchment or plastic paper can make the dough extremely hard to peel off, making the shape of the tortilla intact. On the other side, a plastic paper makes easy cleaning of the tortilla press.
- Having done that, wet your hands with water to prevent sticking. You can also use your palms or fingers to flatten one of the masa balls at a time to make it a thick disc.
- After that, position the thick disc at the center of the lined bottom press. Again center the other piece of plastic or parchment paper over the masa. Firmly, press the top plate down. You can shake the press handle faintly from one side to the other to distribute the masa evenly.
- Lift the upper plate ten rotate the tortilla a half turn (about 180 degrees) then press firmly once more to form a 6-inch tortilla as flat as possible.
- If you desire a somewhat thinner tortilla, then you can remove the tortillas away from the tortilla press by lifting the plastic edges. Alternatively, use a rolling pin to make the plastic-covered tortilla a little bit thinner by pressing it.
- Finally, when the tortilla is at its best thickness, lift the upper piece of plastic. With that done, flip the tortilla using the other hand then, later on, peel off the extra plastic layer. Use your fingers or a spatula to toss the tortilla into a preheated griddle or Comal.
- Make sure you are reusing the plastic pieces until they become sticky or tear.
How to Use an Electric Tortilla Press
Electric presses can flatten the tortillas between two plates then toast them using the bottom plate. The presses resemble waffle machines with soft plates rather than patterned plates. The combination press comes with two handles. One is essential in shaping mechanism, and the other is used for pressing the tortilla.
However, here is a step by step guide on how you can use an electric tortilla press to make perfect tortillas.
- Begin by preheating the machine according to the user manual guidelines.
- Having done that, wet your hands to make them less sticky. However, you can use your palms and fingers to flatten the masa balls into a thick disk (about 3 inches in diameter).
- Use a paper towel to wipe each plate using vegetable oil.
- With that done, position the somewhat flattened piece of dough near the handle of the bottom plate. Shut the lid, then push down on the pressing handle to flatten the tortilla dough.
- The thickness must not be less than a book cover or more than 1/8 inch.
- Next, raise the lid slowly to release the steam.
- As evident, using a tortilla press is easy, and the process is quick. When you are worried that your tortilla press can’t do a lot, remember that it’s designed to work on anything that needs to be flattened. It’s vital in making individual pizzas, pita bread and flour tortillas, and many more.
- Also, immediately you are through with making your flour or corn tortillas, you can decide to fry them then prepare homemade tortilla chips. You won’t mess with more tortilla chips in life.
Much has been said, and placing issues on the table, getting your palms on a tortilla press means cooking a delicious meal for your household. Perhaps you didn’t know that this is a versatile tool. It can do a range of activities!
To get the best service from the tortilla press, ensure that you keep it clean all the time. Also, you should dry it immediately after use.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.