The first tortillas made of native corn date as far back as 10,000 years before Christ. Most of the Aztecs diet consisted of corn and corn-based foods; they would eat the corn straight from the cob and in recipes. They would ground the corn, and used the resulting cornmeal to make dough named masa. When the Spaniards first arrived in Mexican territory in 1519, they discovered this new and unusual food or flatbread made by the native peoples of Mexico, which the Aztecs in their native nahuatl called Tlaxcalli. The flatbread made from corn got the name of tortillas because they resembled the omelette or Spanish tortilla in Spain called a Torta. With the Spaniards arrival they introduced wheat to the Aztec people of Mexico, who then created what is known today as flour tortillas.
Aztecs would heat the corn kernels in a lime solution and water until the skins came off the kernels. Without the skins, the kernels are known as nixtamal, which when mashed, and soaked turn in to cornmeal which they used to make dough called masa, and then used it to make the famous tortillas. Even still today the word Nixtamal is used in Mexico, to refer to the soaked kernels to make tortillas as well as the ancient way of making them. To make the dough, Aztec women as Indigenous women still do today, will kneel on the ground in front of a metate (mealing stone) putting handfuls of nixtamal on the metate and they will scrub back and forth with the help of a smooth hand-held stone known as a mano. The masa can be yellow, white or other colors depending on the corn used. She then takes a golf-sized piece of dough and rolls it in to a small ball, and then she will pat it by hand into a thin, round pancake shape and place it into a Comal (hot griddle) and cook it on both sides. Cooking the tortillas is the easy part, put them on the Comal for 20 seconds, and then turn it for another 20 seconds. You’ll see the tortilla starting to get fluffy and bubbly which means it’s ready; usually tortillas will brown slightly on both sides.
Corn tortillas can be used as plates and spoons, as well as being dipped into stews, broken into pieces to scoop up salsas, beans and to make the famous Chilaquiles. Tortillas can be rolled up and eaten plain right out of the comal, or you can prepare them in any way or place any ingredients in them, like beans, chile, and salsas as long as the ingredients are not too liquid. With Corn tortillas you can make the world famous tacos, enchiladas, huaraches, entomatadas, enfrijoladas, sincronizadas, huevos motulenos, flautas, chalupas, tlayudas, tacos dorados, taquitos, tortilla soup, tostadas, tortilla chips and quesadillas. With flour tortillas you can make burritos and wraps. The masa or dough used to make tortillas is also used to prepare sopes, tlacoyos, huaraches and the delicious tamales.
To increase the production of tortillas and meet the modern lifestyle of its cities and habitants, tortilla-making equipment has facilitated and expedited tortilla making, producing up to 60,000 tortillas per hour. Today tortillas are made not only from cornmeal, but wheat flour as well. Store bought tortillas come in many varieties and flavors. Some families like the home made tortillas, so women go to the Tortillerias (tortilla factories) and buy their masa (dough) and with the help of a tortilla press they make perfectly round tortillas at home.
Please visit our tortilla cookware
, authentic tostadas
, and a Mexican tradition and culture section for making tortillas
at home. At MexGrocer you can find everything you need to prepare your own homemade tortillas from scratch, either corn or flour by buying all your ingredients and cooking utensils at MexGrocer.com. Here you will find Maseca corn flour masa for tortillas, Maseca yellow corn flour for your corn tortillas, Selecta flour for tortillas de harina (flour tortillas),Tres Estrellas wheat flour, and various tortilla presses and comales (griddles) of different sizes to fit your needs. After you make your tortillas, you’re going to need something to keep them warm, so MexGrocer has very coloful plastic and fabric tortilla warmers with Mexican motifs, that you’ll surely love. If making tortillas from scratch is too hard for you, MexGrocer has a large selection of corn and flour tortillas from Porkyland, Tortillaland. Bring the flavor of Mexico to your table by serving delicious tostadas by Charras, Los Pericos and sopes by El Mexicano. Learn to make a wide variety of dishes and recipes using Tortillas, with the Tortilla lover's cookbook by Bruce and Bobby Fisher. We also have great related articles so you can learn how to make tortillas or the history of tortillas. Give the gift of Tortilla making to your friends and family, get them started on this delicious tradition of making tortillas by giving them one of the 4 gift packs MexGrocer.com has for you; you can choose from the Tortilla essentials Making gift pack, Quesadilla lovers gift pack, Mexican Tortilla Making kit, and the Tortilla lovers gift pack.