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Tortillas


mdt
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Too bad I can't make it to the picnic, as I could have brought some from Tortilleria Sinaloa in Baltimore-- they're incredible.  Not sure of any place closer in like that (Bladensburg maybe?)

I looove that place. The tortillas have become a staple for us—they are good with nearly everything. And, I am mildly obsessed with the carnitas tacos. I get wild cravings for them and nothing else will do. They are also my favorite hangover remedy.

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I looove that place.  The tortillas have become a staple for us—they are good with nearly everything.  And, I am mildly obsessed with the carnitas tacos.  I get wild cravings for them and nothing else will do.  They are also my favorite hangover remedy.

If I buy a stack of the tortillas, I usually end up eating three of them plain on my way to the car. That's how good they are.

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Freshly made tortillas can be obtained from Moctec in Landover, MD--this is the only tortilla factory close to DC. However, they do not have a retail outlet. One must call and order them in advance and then drive out to pick them up. It's a shlep, not at all convenient to NoVA. OK then, since we have established that really fresh tortillas are impractical, and I assume that you don't want to make your own, what are the alternatives?

1) Trader Joe's corn tortillas. These are, in my estimation, the best widely available tortillas. They are made from fresh masa, not from masa harina. This is what I use for everyday-type Mexican meals.

2) Salvadoran-style "hand-made" tortillas can be found at any of the Latin grocery stores in Arlington, like the one on Wilson Blvd, across from Whole Foods or the ones on Columbia Pike. They are made from masa harina and are very thick, so do not work well for rolling or folding.

3) Mission brand corn tortillas, sold in Safeway stores. They are from California, and aren't too bad.

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It is dangerous having the Tortilleria on Eastern Ave. so close to my house.

I am there all the time. Best deal in town.

Their home made chips are also outstanding.

I took them to a party in DC this past weekend and that was all people asked about.

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I am also looking for good flour and corn tortillas in NOVA.  Does anyone know if Rio Grande Cafe will sell their tortillas as take-out? thanks.

They used to offer these through their catering service, but that was before it changed ownership. Couldn't hurt to call & ask!
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A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of learning how to make tamales from the master. Zora's wonderful tomatillo sauce haunts me, still.

Since then, I've been having fun buying things I've never bothered with before, making my own queso blanco and thumbing through the more effortless recipes in Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday where the author relies exclusively on corn tortillas.

I did try steaming the Hacienda brand tortillas (from Capital Heights, MD; Salvadoran flag on label) I picked up in Arlington. They were okay. However, I am wondering if there are any updates to contribute to this thread, especially if news involves a source in Washington, D.C. Mexican?

* * *

Are there vendors at any of the area's markets or food trucks who sell fresh Mexican tortillas?

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of learning how to make tamales from the master. Zora's wonderful tomatillo sauce haunts me, still.

Since then, I've been having fun buying things I've never bothered with before, making my own queso blanco and thumbing through the more effortless recipes in Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday where the author relies exclusively on corn tortillas.

I did try steaming the Hacienda brand tortillas (from Capital Heights, MD; Salvadoran flag on label) I picked up in Arlington. They were okay. However, I am wondering if there are any updates to contribute to this thread, especially if news involves a source in Washington, D.C. Mexican?

* * *

Are there vendors at any of the area's markets or food trucks who sell fresh Mexican tortillas?

The only local authentic tortilla factory is Moctec, in Landover, MD. Moctec sells fresh masa to Oyamel, so that they can make fresh tortillas at the restaurant. Moctec also makes tortillas and chips, which are sold at various places in the area. The only place I've found that sells Moctec corn tortillas is the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op. IMO Moctec tortillas are the best "factory" tortillas available here, since they are made with fresh masa, which is made on site. It is possible to buy super fresh tortillas (or fresh masa) at the Moctec factory, but you have to order them in advance-- they don't have any retail facilities. It's kind of a shlep on the Beltway to get there, too.

Next best, IMO are Trader Joe's corn tortillas, which are made from real masa and are quite tasty when steamed. Distant third is Mission Brand, which can be found at Safeway. They're from California. Everything else I've tried, including all of the "organic" types at Whole Foods are crap.

Next step for you, Anna Blume, is to get a tortilla press, and start making your own tortillas at home. You can start practicing with Maseca or Quaker masa harina and work your way up to fresh masa. It's not hard to make tortillas, once you've learned a few little tricks--I'll be glad to teach you how to do it.

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Next step for you, Anna Blume, is to get a tortilla press, and start making your own tortillas at home. You can start practicing with Maseca or Quaker masa harina and work your way up to fresh masa. It's not hard to make tortillas, once you've learned a few little tricks--I'll be glad to teach you how to do it.
Would you please post here about it? I have a tortilla press and have tried many times with masa harina, and the things just don't come out right. Please??
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Okay, so I SUCK at making corn tortillas. I'm using Maseca brand masa harina. The directions on the back only give volumetric measurements, and the recipes I find online vary widely in the amount of water used - from 1.25 cups water to 2 cups flour, to 1.5 cups water to 2 cups flour.

I did my best to convert to baker's percentages by weight and came up with around 150% hydration.

This is my tortilladora: http://www.amazon.com/Imusa-Victoria-Tortilla-Press-2-Inch/dp/B00164VNYQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1344526298&sr=8-3&keywords=cast+iron+tortilla+press

Anyway, when I cook them in a 450 degree cast iron skillet they either come out dry and they crack when you try to fold them, or they come out kind of wet and rubbery. In both cases they're kind of fragile and mealy.

What am I doing wrong?

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Okay, so I SUCK at making corn tortillas. I'm using Maseca brand masa harina. The directions on the back only give volumetric measurements, and the recipes I find online vary widely in the amount of water used - from 1.25 cups water to 2 cups flour, to 1.5 cups water to 2 cups flour.

I did my best to convert to baker's percentages by weight and came up with around 150% hydration.

This is my tortilladora: http://www.amazon.co... tortilla press

Anyway, when I cook them in a 450 degree cast iron skillet they either come out dry and they crack when you try to fold them, or they come out kind of wet and rubbery. In both cases they're kind of fragile and mealy.

What am I doing wrong?

I never measure. I just keep adding water until the masa holds together in a soft ball. (Sorry, but experience tells me when it feels right, so I can't give you specifics.) It needs to be fairly wet to hold together in the press and not crack on the griddle. Keep the bowl of masa covered with a wet towel while you are making tortillas, it dries out quickly. I wet my hands while rolling balls of masa. Tortillas need to be steamed after they are baked on a comal or griddle. I have an insulated tortilla holder, which I line with a cotton dishtowel. I pile them in on top of each other and keep them covered with the towel while I am cooking the next ones. The moisture and heat inside the towel is often enough to steam them. But if they are made in advance, sprinkle some water on the towel, and briefly zap the container full of tortillas in the microwave. That way they will be hot and pliable when you serve them.

Also-- There are two different grinds of masa harina. Make sure you are using masa para tortillas. Masa para tamales is coarser ground.

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Fresh tortillas made in a hand press are never going to be as thin as factory made tortillas. Try rolling them out some more with a rolling pin, after you use the press. If your masa is cracking it needs more water. Try a less hot griddle and cook them a little bit longer.

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It's been a few years since the last "bump" on this question here, so I will hope that somebody can tell me that there is now a great place to buy corn tortillas.  This summer I got spoiled by the ones at Cardenas supermarket in southern California, so I am looking hopefully for fresh (no preservatives), Mexican rather than thicker Salvadoran.  Surely somewhere in Mt Pleasant or Columbia Heights by now?  I can dream.  Thank you for any info.

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How many tortillas will you need?  This gives me an idea where to suggest.

Wes

Thank you.  Optimally, it would be a place where I could pop over and buy 24 or so whenever I felt like it - very very rarely would I need more than that, but am willing to buy more than I need (within reason) if necessary.

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Thank you.  Optimally, it would be a place where I could pop over and buy 24 or so whenever I felt like it - very very rarely would I need more than that, but am willing to buy more than I need (within reason) if necessary.

One question is: Do they freeze, and if so, how well?

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Sad to say, they tell me that they no longer sell tortillas - they make only enough for in-house use, and couldn't really recommend another place nearby to get truly fresh ones. But I got a great taco out of the experience!

Did you ask if you could call in with a special order, maybe a few days in advance?

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I like the corn tortillas Canales has at Eastern Market.  They're quite thin.  In fact, the only problem I have with them is that they sometimes flake apart during reheating due to the thinness.  They come in packs of 12 for $2 per pack.  I'm not even 100% sure they make them themselves, but they're my go-to corn tortillas.  I don't like thick ones, and my only attempts to make them myself have resulted in too thick and defective tortillas.

(This is their stand that is the farthest South in the market, next to where the bakery is.)

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