Why It Works
- Lard gives these tortillas a subtle porky flavor, but vegetable shortening can be substituted if needed.
- Baking powder creates the bready, chewy texture.
- Cooking the tortillas on a very hot skillet results in maximum tenderness.
I'm enough of a flour-tortilla snob to demand different types of flour tortillas depending on the application. For grilled meats and seafood, I want thin ones that are so rich with lard that you can almost see through them. For quesadillas and scooping up melted cheese, though, I prefer a thicker tortilla that's soft and chewy. Here's how to make the very best version, perfect for quesadillas, breakfast tacos, and queso fundido.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
- 3/4 cups warm water (approximately 110°F)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub lard into flour mixture using your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add warm water and work dough with hands until completely combined and no dry flour is left in bowl.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces; roll each piece of dough into a ball. Cover dough balls with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rest an additional 15 minutes.
Preheat cast iron skillet, griddle, or comal to 500°F. Place one ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and pat down into a flat disc. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to an 8-inch round. Place dough in skillet and cook until bubbles form on top side and bottom side has brown spots, 30-60 seconds. Flip tortilla and cook until second side develops brown spots, 30-60 seconds longer. Transfer tortilla to a plate and cover with clean dish cloth. Repeat with remaining balls of dough. Serve immediately while still warm.
Rolling pin, cast iron skillet
The tortillas are best eaten while fresh and still warm. They can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated individually in a hot skillet or wrapped together in foil and placed in a warm oven for reuse, though they won't be as good as when fresh.