Freshly made corn tortillas are such a treat. Watch our video to see us go through the whole process. If you have never seen a tortilla press, there are some photos in the article to guide you.
1 cup (115 grams) masa harina, see notes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, optional
1 cup (120 ml) warm water
Whisk the masa harina and salt together until well blended.
Switch to your hands or a spoon. While mixing, slowly pour in the warm water. When the dough is moist and starting to hold together, stop adding water. You will most likely have a little water leftover. If the dough seems dry, add a little water, a few teaspoons at a time or if it seems too wet or is sticky, add a little more masa harina.
Knead the dough for a few minutes or until there are no dry or powdery spots left. Kneading the dough helps the masa flour to rehydrate. You are looking for a dough that resembles playdough. It should be moist, but not tacky. When you press your finger into it, you should not feel any dough stick to it.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Keep the balls covered with a damp towel while you press, and then cook each tortilla. It is important that the dough does not dry out, working quickly and keeping them covered helps with this. If you notice that the balls are starting to dry out, spritz them with a little water.
Heat a wide, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. As you cook the tortillas, you might find that you need to reduce the heat slightly. If you notice that tortillas are browning too quickly, turn the heat down to medium.
While the skillet heats up, cut two pieces of parchment paper into the shape of the surface of the tortilla press. You can also cut a plastic freezer bag into two sheets and use that.
Open a tortilla press and lay one piece of parchment paper or plastic down onto the press. Add a ball of dough and gently press it down with your fingers. Cover the dough with the second piece or parchment paper or plastic. Close the tortilla press and press down until the dough has spread into a thin disk, about a sixteenth-inch thick. Watch us do this in our video. (Check the tips section for an alternative method using a baking dish.)
Carefully remove the tortilla from the parchment or plastic and place onto the hot skillet. Cook the first side for 10 seconds, flip and cook the second side for about 1 minute. Flip again and cook until the tortilla starts to puff and is cooked in the middle, 30 to 60 seconds more. If the tortilla is cracking or looks too dry, spray with a little bit of water.
While the tortilla finishes cooking, press the next tortilla.
Transfer cooked tortillas to a tortilla warmer or bowl lined with a clean dishtowel. Keep the tortillas in the warmer or wrapped with towel until ready to serve. Fresh tortillas are best when enjoyed fresh, however, you can store them in an airtight container for a few days. Reheat on the stovetop — if they are a bit dry, spritz or brush them with a little water.