I’ve been meaning to try tortilla wraps for years, but the convenience of being able to buy them has always been too much to overcome. This week, I finally set out to give them a try. The results were not precisely as planned but were edible – nay, enjoyable – if not rollable or pliable…
My first mistake was probably on not following a recipe. I used Jillian’s post on Whisky Drinkin’ Chimney Sweep as a starting point but changed plain flour for self raising, so I could omit the baking soda, and shortening for olive oil, both for convenience and because shortening gives me the Fear. I also added some spring onion rounds, for a little colour and extra flavour. Ingredients list reads as follows:
- 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- green parts of 1 spring onion, sliced into rounds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
I started by combining the flour, salt and spring onion, then I stirred through the oil with a knife. I got some clumps, which was what I wanted – this is a technique that probably bears working on. It was supposed to replace the rubbing in of shortening to the flour, but of course with shortening (or butter) the point is to coat most if not all the flour with fat. That definitely didn’t happen with the oil, though it wasn’t as much of a failure as I feared it might be.
Next I added the warm water – I always find warm water mixes better, and of course I didn’t have to worry about melting shortening or butter into the flour. That said, the heat of the water might account for how elastic the dough was later, which did case a certain amount of trouble. I mixed the water in with the knife until it was a shaggy dough, then kneaded for five minutes until smooth and elastic.
I let the dough rest at room temperature for half an hour, before splitting into four. I had some real trouble getting them to stretch and shape neatly, but came up with an effective, if not elegant, solution. First I rolled each piece into a neat ball, and flattened into a neat circle, like so:
Note the heavy wooden chopping board next to the dough… I dusted the top and bottom of the dough round with flour, laid the chopping board over the top and then pressed down with all my might. There are unsubstantiated rumours that I actually climbed on to the table and kneeled on the board, doing a sort of twist-and-shuffle move to flatten the dough out. Once I climbed back down… er… lifted the chopping board off the top, the dough was flatter but still not thin enough. I brought out my rolling pin and worked from the centre out, pressing the dough as flat as I could and turning the dough as I went.
Trying to roll from one side to the other gives an oblong shape, at best, but rolling from the centre out and continually turning the dough makes for a much more even shape and thickness. You can even buy a tortilla press, if you’re going to make these often or have plenty of space in your kitchen, that will do this job for you. The end result looked something like this:
I cooked the tortilla-flatbreads in a hot frying pan, sprayed lightly with oil, for two minutes per side. The top bubbled up as I cooked them, like with naan bread but to a lesser extent. The finished result looked and tasted excellent, but definitely wasn’t a tortilla. I don’t know what it was.
Still, I’ve managed to eat them all – I even managed to use two as wraps of a sort. They had to be eaten somewhat carefully, but they tasted great.
What was in that sandwich, I hear you ask? Well, that’s a story for another day…