Homemade is always better, especially when it gives you total control over the ingredients in your body. This simple and delicious tortilla recipe gives you options for enjoying them. Eat them traditionally as a taco or enchilada or cut them up to eat as chips.

Ingredients

2 cups blue, white, yellow, or red masa harina

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

2 cups water, plus more as needed

Instructions

Combine the dry ingredients. Measure out 2 cups masa harina by spooning it into the measuring cup rather than scooping it straight from the bag. Place in a medium-wide, shallow bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt if using, and stir to combine.

Mix in the water. Heat 2 cups water until warm to the touch (about 100ºF). While mixing with a spoon, gradually pour 1 1/2 cups into the masa and eventually knead by hand as it comes together. Focus on how the masa feels rather than on the exact measurements since different varieties of masa harina have different levels of starch, and coarseness varies from brand to brand. The masa is ready when it feels soft but doesn’t stick to your hands, and the texture is similar to Play-Doh. You will also notice that you can wipe away all traces of the masa when you rub the whole dough against the bowl without sticking. Test by rolling a small ball of masa between your hands and pressing it in a patty cake motion or making an indentation with your finger: If the masa cracks around the edges, it needs more water. The success of the masa depends on how well it’s hydrated, so you may use less or more water as needed.

Let the dough rest. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and top with a plate, or cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for about 20 minutes.

Prepare for shaping the tortillas. Cut 2 square sheets of parchment paper. Alternatively, cut a plastic produce bag or large plastic zip-top bag in half along the folds to form 2 pieces. Each piece should be about the size and shape of your tortilla press.

Form the masa balls. Divide and form the masa into 16 walnut-sized balls (about 2 inches wide) (3 tablespoons or 1 1/2 ounces each). Place it on a work surface and cover it with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

Press the tortillas. If using a tortilla press, line the bottom with one piece of parchment or plastic. Place a masa ball in the center. (If the masa looks dry, dampen your hands with a bit of water and gently massage the masa ball in your palms.) Flatten it slightly in the middle of the tortilla press. Cover with the second piece of parchment or plastic. Flatten the tortilla with the press, but not all the way. Rotate the tortilla, still covered, 180 degrees. Press again until about 4 1/2 inches wide and a scant 1/4 inch thick, ensuring it is even thick.

If you don’t have a press, sandwich the masa ball between the sheets of parchment or plastic and place on a work surface. Place a large, heavy hardcover book or chopping board on top and press down to flatten until a scant 1/4-inch thick, making sure it is of an even thickness.

Cook the tortillas. Cook each tortilla as it is shaped (or as many tortillas as can fit in your pan in a single layer). Heat a large griddle or nonstick frying pan to medium heat for at least 5 minutes before you start cooking. Remove the top sheet of plastic or paper from the tortilla. Gently flip the tortilla-side down onto your dominant hand, then remove the second sheet of plastic or paper (the tortilla should rest halfway across your palm and the other half dangling to make the transition from your hand to the hot pan as smooth as possible). Carefully flip or lay onto the pan or griddle.

Follow the 10-40-30 rule: how many times the tortilla should be cooked per side. Cook until it slides around easily, 10 to 15 seconds. Flip with your hands or a heatproof spatula and cook until the edges are drier 35 to 40 seconds. Flip it a second time and cook it for 30 seconds. During this time, the tortilla might puff; if it doesn’t, you can gently press on the edges with the spatula to encourage puffing. Flip a third time and cook 10 to 15 seconds more. The tortilla should be browned in spots and look slightly dry on the surface.

Keep the tortillas warm. Transfer to a tortilla warmer, or basket or large plate lined with a kitchen towel. Cover and continue making tortillas, stacking and keeping them wrapped and covered so they steam.

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