Corn is part of our life, our worldview, ritual life, tradition, and culture. Therefore, the tortilla is a fundamental part of our diet. Mexican use it for all in blocks, quesadillas, tortilla chips, roasted and sometimes even as covered. We were born and grew up with it, whatever our social class.
But from a couple of decades to date, the presence of genetically modified corn companies such as Gruma / Maseca took on great strength. Therefore, the tortilla and its derivatives suffered severe changes. These large companies offered “better corn”, advanced technology, facilities, and even job opportunities. What we did not know is that we were signing a pact with the devil.
But what does this have to do with the super tortillas? Well, currently 70% of the tortillas produced in Mexico are made with Maseca “corn flour” ( Gruma’s main brand ), which is present not only in supermarkets but in tortilla shops on any corner.
According to a report by the Organic Consumers Association, in three out of eight samples of Maseca modified cornmeal. ”The Organic Consumers Association (ACO) announced today that samples of white and yellow cornmeal from the Maseca brand tested positive for glyphosate residues and its main metabolite, AMPA. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup. ” This results in an ear of low-quality corn and harmful to health. Basically, a corn-filled with GMOs.
The vast majority of tortillas in the supermarket are made with this type of flour. But this is not about a single company, it is about many corn flour companies that use additives, colorants, flavors, and countless chemicals to make tortillas “last longer.”
Cornmeal is not corn. The best effort we can make to take care of our health is to buy nixtamalized tortillas in a mill that does not use corn that was genetically modified.
How to make corn tortillas at home
For handmade tortillas, patience and practice are required, so don’t be overwhelmed if they don’t come out the first time.
According to CONACYT data, it is estimated that 94% of the Mexican population consumes corn tortillas on a regular basis. So, if it is such an important part of our diet, why not make it at home?
The first step is to obtain nixtamalized dough (about 500 grams) and non- transgenic corn. You can do it in places specialized in the subject such as Corn or Maizajo Expendio. It can be red, yellow, white, or blue.
Once you have the corn masa it is super important that you hydrate it with water. For each kilo, use approximately 1/4 cup of water and knead on a table or bowl. To the touch, as my aunt Balbina would say, it must be soft, soft, and manageable, that it does not crumble.
Once it is hydrated, cover it with a clean damp cloth. Gradually divide the dough into balls the size of a ping pong ball. Then you can make them by hand (torture) or in a metal or wooden press.
Making tortillas by hand takes patience and practice, so don’t be overwhelmed if they don’t come out the first time. With your two hands flatten the ball a little and with the upper part of your hand (upper palm and fingers) begin to shape it and turn it until it is completely flat. If it breaks a bit you can pinch and piece the part that was torn apart.
To make the tortillas with a press: place the machine horizontally (with the lever turning to the right side). Place a plastic – it can be film or a bag – on the open press, then a ball of dough and a plastic of the same size, close the press and press to flatten the ball. Take care that it is not too strong to prevent the dough from sticking to the plastic. Open and remove the top plastic and with the bottom plastic slide the tortilla over your hands.
Then place on a hot griddle and cook until a light skin and brown specks form, turn and let it inflate – this will pass through the remaining moisture in the dough. If the tortilla does not inflate, lightly tap the surface of the tortilla with your fingers on the last turn. Serve immediately.