Today we’re going to have a wee cooking lesson. But it’s also a lesson in budgeting and in ridding ourselves of un-needed preservatives. And as the topic of tortillas has come up a few times in the last week, that’s what we’re going to play with today.
First, let’s look at the nutritional side of things, using Old El Paso flour tortillas as our guide. The back of the pack claims the following ingredients: Wheat Flour, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Stabiliser: Glycerol, Salt, Raising Agents: E450a, E500, Dextrose, Emulsifier: E471, Preservative: E202, Flour Treatment Agent: E920.
[Note for American readers: ‘E Numbers’ are how preservatives and additives are labelled in the EU/UK. Find out more here.]
Now, compare those ingredients to my recipe: Flour, water, olive oil, baking powder, and salt.
(Do you see where I’m going here?)
Then, let’s look at the cost. A pack of tortillas will cost you anywhere from £1.20-£3.00 in the UK and, what, about $1.00-$4.00 in the States, depending on the brand and the number/size in the pack. After you add up the cost of a 5-pound bag of flour, 16-ounce (or so) bottle of olive oil, and the negligible cost of salt and baking powder, you’re looking at less-than £1.00 ($1.00) for a batch of 8-10 tortillas. And yes, I realise that time and electricity/gas for cooking plays into this, too, but I still think homemade is a bargain!
But, more importantly, homemade just tastes better. The texture and the flavour are a vast improvement over store-bought. And you can use whole wheat and/or gluten-free flours if you want.
So, on to the next part: A wee how-to video to show you just how easy it is! (And because I haven’t made a video in a while.) Recipe will follow the video.
- 3 cups plain flour (375 g)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water (8 oz / 250 ml)
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and oil
- Add water a bit at a time and mix with hands until it forms a nice, doughy ball (you may not need all of the water!)
- Form into large ball and let sit (covered with towel) for 15 minutes
- Divide into 8-10 smaller balls
- Flour work space
- Roll each ball flat with rolling pin (or a wine bottle!)
- Cook on very hot, un-greased pan or griddle for a few seconds on each side—just enough to get pretty little brown spots
These can be enjoyed as a taco wrap, or for a bread substitute for almost any kind of sandwich. I like to spread them with cream cheese or salmon pate and enjoy with a few olives. Yummy!