There's nothing that truly propels me toward the 'real food' movement than finding things in my fridge that should be spoiled, but are still perfectly preserved. As I was culling the beasts that have taken over the recesses of the refrigerator, I noted a single flour tortilla in a package whose expiry date indicated 'August 7th'. Now, I'm not a math genius by any stretch of one's imagination, but I can calculate that this edible item should be displaying some kind of decomposition. As you can guess, it looked exactly the same as the day it was purchased. Oh. Dear. Gawd. Talk about a Halloween nightmare.
Then, I made the mistake of reading the ingredient list:
Enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean, cottonseed) with mono- and diglycerides, glycerin, corn syrup solids, salt, baking powder (baking soda, corn starch, sodium aluminum sulfate, calcium sulfate, monocalcium phosphate), potassium sorbate and calcium propionate (preservative), monoglycerides, fumaric acid, L-cysteine hydrochloride.
I used to live in the bliss of commercially prepared tortilla ignorance, but after seeing a bread product remain perfectly pliable and mold-free for nearly three months, I decided it was time to make my own. So, I did.
The great news is, flour tortillas are ridiculously easy to make. Ridiculous! Not only that, you'll save all your potassium sorbate, calcium propionate, fumaric acid and L-cysteine hydrochloride because this recipe has none:
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup hot water
I love recipes I can remember. After mixing the dry ingredients, I cut the butter into the mix, then added the water. After kneading the dough for about 5 minutes, I rolled them into small balls, then let the balls rest for 20 minutes.
I recommend dividing the dough into eight balls. Initially, I was going to make 16 smaller ones, but realized they'd be too small for anything but dolls. Or leprechauns. (It's known fact that leprechauns love tortillas.) Once rested, all you need to do is roll out the balls until they are paper thin, then place them in a medium-high heat non-stick or cast iron pan for a few minutes each side. You'll know it's time to turn them when bubbles start to form, and the surface begins to brown. I didn't use any oil, and the result was amazing.
These tortillas have a wonderful, flaky texture in addition to an authentic taste. Although there is a small investment of time to make them, you could make several batches and freeze them. These certainly won't keep for months in your refrigerator, and you can taste why.