These flour tortillas with bacon fat are homemade with just flour, bacon drippings, butter, buttermilk, baking powder, and salt. And they turn out extraordinarily soft, supple, and ever so slightly smoky. Not to mention frugal. We think you can understand why we’re swooning.
You know those skinny, rubbery, almost elastic frisbees that pass for packaged shelf-stable tortillas at the grocery store? Don’t expect those from this flour tortillas made with bacon fat. They’re tender and supple and smoky and impossible to live without once you’ve experienced them.–Renee Schettler
HOW DO I MAKE PERFECTLY SHAPED FLOUR TORTILLAS?
A word of warning to the wise: Don’t expect yourself to turn out perfectly shaped circles like the mass-produced tortillas the first time you make them from scratch. Homemade tortillas tend to have a certain charming misshapenness to them. When we made this recipe, we witnessed tortillas in the shape of a lot of things. A tortilla press works well but to be able to direct the shape of the tortilla, a rolling pin is the way to go. If you have any experience, rolling pastry dough, you’ll find this remarkably similar. Roll from the center out, rotating the tortilla as you go.
Flour Tortillas with Bacon Fat
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk either low-fat or full-fat
- Combine the bacon drippings and butter in a pot and cook over medium-low heat until both are melted. Remove from the heat.
- In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the melted fat mixture and stir with a fork or pastry blender until the flour mixture is crumbly. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a soft, sticky dough forms.
- Plop the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead, using lightly floured hands if the dough is sticky, until the dough is firm and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for an hour.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, place it on a lightly floured surface, pat it out into a 4-inch circle using your hands, and then roll it with a palote or rolling pin, from the center out and rotating it 1/4 turn each time you roll, until the tortilla is thin and about 8 inches in diameter. Keep the rolled-out tortillas covered, side by side, until you’re ready to cook.
☞TESTER TIP: To save time, it helps to get into the rhythm of having a tortilla cook in the skillet as you’re rolling out another.
- In a dry cast-iron skillet heated over medium-high heat, cook each tortilla for 30 seconds on one side, flip it, and then cook for 1 minute on the other side. It should start to puff a bit. Flip it again and cook for 30 more seconds. You may need to turn down the heat a notch if the skillet seems to be cooking the tortillas too quickly.
- Toss the cooked tortilla on a plate and cover it with a cloth until you’re ready to eat.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This was my first foray into tortilla making and HOLY MOLY, this flour tortillas recipe is a game-changer. I was surprised at how easily they came together.
My hands-on time for this recipe was 5 minutes to mix everything together, and rolling out and cooking the tortillas took very little additional time, maybe 1 minute to roll one out and about 2 minutes to cook it. I didn't need to use the tortillas until well after I mixed the dough, so I kept the wrapped dough in the fridge for a day or so and they still rolled out just fine straight out of the fridge. I was surprised at how easily I was able to roll them out and how I was able to get them very thin with just a rolling pin and some flour. I kept the rolled-out tortillas on floured waxed paper for easy cleanup and storage. You could probably roll them out in advance and keep them sandwiched between layers of wax paper in the fridge as well.
Once cooked, they were nice and puffed with flaky layers and just a hint of the bacon. I cooked them for a few minutes on each side so I could get a nice char on them. I've used these for taco fixings and with butter and marmalade at breakfast, although they would probably be awesome with some butter and cinnamon-sugar. I could even see these as a great substitute roti, naan, or pita. Amazing.
This flour tortillas recipe worked like a charm! The resulting homemade tortillas were soft, pliable, and slightly chewy. Mine also had a smokiness as they charred a bit on my cast iron pan.
When I poured the melted fat and butter into the flour mixure, I used a pastry cutter instead of a spoon, which made quick work of getting the crumble. Once you mix in the buttermilk (I used a spoon at this point), the dough is going to be really wet and sticky. Don't worry. Just turn the dough out onto your floured surface and then flour your hands before you start the kneading process so the dough doesn't stick to your hands. The dough firmed up pretty quickly. When I covered the dough I used a piece of plastic wrap then put a dish towel on top of that.
The dough balls pressed and rolled out like a dream. I had a tape measure to make sure I hit the 8-inch diameter. When you're rolling these out, be sure to give the tortilla 1/4 turn after each roll. This will help to roll the tortilla into an even circle. The cooking time was spot on. These tortillas will puff up—like, a lot. Don't worry about popping the air bubbles, they will deflate once you pull them off the hot pan. I served these with beans, roasted jalapeños, and sour cream—so good! What a fantastic meal. Yum.
Originally published January 20, 2015