For some reason, homemade flour tortillas have always intimidated me. I've made corn tortillas many times, so I'm not sure where the reluctance came from. But once I saw Lisa Fain's recipe for buttermilk and bacon-fat filled flour tortillas in her new cookbook, The Homesick Texan's Family Table, I could resist no longer. The dough comes together easily, and the abundance of fat in the mixture keeps everything super workable. An hour's rest afterward lets the flour hydrate and relax—it'll also give you ample time to prepare whatever filing you'll use with the tortillas. Rolling the dough is equally easy, and the tortillas puff and brown like magic in a hot cast iron skillet. I'm going to start making these every weekend.
Why I picked this recipe: I've never tried making my own flour tortillas. This seemed like a great place to start. (Bacon!)
What worked: I was prepared for the whole rolling and cooking process to be a pain, but these tortillas couldn't have been easier to make.
What didn't: No problems at all.
Suggested tweaks: If you want to make a vegetarian version of these tortillas, you could substitute additional butter for the bacon fat. If you are using bacon fat, make sure you strain out any little bits of bacon that may remain—they'll tear through the tortilla dough.
Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan's Family Table: Lone Star Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours by Lisa Fain. Copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease (see note)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups all‐purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
Combine the bacon grease and butter in a pot and cook over medium-low heat until bacon grease and butter have melted. remove from the heat.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the melted fat mixture and stir until the flour is crumbly. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a soft dough forms. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes until the dough is firm and smooth. Cover the dough and let it rest for an hour.
Divide the dough into eight pieces and roll each piece into a ball. One at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a 4-inch circle, and then roll with a palote or rolling pin from the center out until the tortilla is thin and about 8 inches in diameter. Keep the rolled-out tortillas covered, side by side, until you are ready to cook. (I usually have one cooking as I roll out another.)
In a dry cast-iron skillet heated over medium-high heat, cook each tortilla for 30 seconds on one side, flip it, and then cook for 1 minute on the other side. It should start to puff a bit. Flip it again and cook for 30 more seconds. Cover the cooked tortilla with a cloth until you are ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
Note: Bacon grease is what’s left over in the skillet after cooking bacon. While our great-grandmothers usually kept theirs in an old coffee can over the stove, to save my bacon grease, I pour it into a glass jar and store it in the refrigerator.