While corn tortillas are normally used for Mexican meals, flour tortillas are so versatile that it doesn’t have to end there.
They are great vehicles for any number of tasty fillings because they’re soft and pliable yet sturdy at the same time.
Use them for wraps, with curries instead of roti, filled with bacon and eggs for breakfast…the list is endless.
Don’t be intimidated about making them yourself at home because they’re super-easy to make and need just four or five simple ingredients that you’re sure to already have in your kitchen.
You can make them with a stand mixer or by hand. No special equipment is needed other than a sturdy pan to cook them in.
Flour tortillas are made with flour, water, salt, a small amount of butter or lard, and baking powder to make them puff a little.
Flour tortillas are supposed to be soft and slightly puffy – not brittle and hard. If you’re having problems with achieving this texture, read on because we have some tips for you.
What if your flour tortillas do not turn as puffy as you want them to be? There are several easy-to-fix reasons for your flour tortillas not to puff; we will discuss them in this article.
Moreover, we will walk you through some ninja ways to make perfectly puffy, soft flour tortillas.
Help! My Flour Tortillas Don’t Puff
Flour tortillas are the end products of a mixture of all-purpose flour, water, lard, salt, and a raising agent.
The ingredients might seem simple, but the wrong ratios or the wrong cooking technique can really make your flour tortillas brittle and hard instead of their signature texture which is soft and puffy.
Your floury tortillas are supposed to puff or raise with an appealing fresh-bread smell every time you finish making them. If they don’t happen to rise, then you’ve come to the right place because we can help you.
1. Dehydrated Flour Dough
If your flour dough isn’t hydrated enough, it will be difficult to roll out and flatten and feel tough. When you’re cooking it, it will be too dry to produce sufficient steam to puff the tortillas.
Always make sure that the dough is wet enough. It shouldn’t be sticky but should have a soft, elastic feel like bread dough. Do not keep the dough too runny or too thick.
The puffing of your flour tortilla is a sign of well-hydrated flour dough. Use warm water because this helps to soften the lard and get it evenly distributed throughout the dough.
You do not have to stick to the exact amount of water called for in the recipe. Different flours contain different amounts of moisture, so it’s impossible to specify the exact amount of water to use. If your dough feels hard, add a little more water.
2. Pan Not Hot Enough
Before cooking each tortilla, the dry pan needs to be heated up. Never start the cooking process with a cold pan. Hold your hand over the pan to feel if it is hot.
If the pan’s temperature is too low, the tortilla will cook slowly and dry out, becoming tough and leathery.
A puffy and soft flour tortilla requires a heavy-based pan that is pre-heated at a high temperature so that every square inch of your tortilla cooks to perfection and attains the signature softness and golden dimples.
3. Use Baking Powder, Not Baking Soda
While baking soda is an acceptable substitute for baking powder in some cake recipes, you cannot use it for tortillas. The reason is that baking powder needs heat to activate it.
Baking soda requires adding something acidic like vinegar, lemon juice, or yogurt to activate it and make it bubble. Tortillas do not contain any acidic ingredients; hence the baking soda will not make them puff.
4. Uneven Flipping of Tortilla Wraps
When cooking, the tortilla wraps need to be flipped from one side to another to cook evenly on both sides. Be sure to flip yours halfway through the cooking time.
Don’t leave one side cooking for too long, or the wrap will dry out and become hard. If your pan is hot enough to start with, cooking each side for 30-45 seconds should be enough.
Also, be sure not to press down on the wrap with your spatula while it’s cooking, as this will flatten it and force out any air bubbles that form.
5. Old Baking Powder
This is probably the most common reason for cakes not rising and tortillas not puffing. Baking powder has a limited shelf life.
It needs to be kept in an airtight container. If yours has been exposed to air or has become a little old, this may be the reason for your tortillas not puffing.
Please don’t give up! Freshly made flour tortillas are delicious, and once you’ve found a good recipe and mastered the technique, you will make them again and again.
Keep trying and tweaking your recipe. Do let us know if our tips have helped you. Happy wrapping!