Homemade sourdough discard tortillas are more flavorful than store-bought tortillas and so easy to make.
These tortillas are perfect for soft tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and wraps. I’m always looking for ways to use my sourdough discard and these tortillas are perfect.
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All you need are a few simple ingredients, a mixing bowl, rolling pin, and a skillet. Once you taste the sourdough tortillas you will never want to use store-bought tortillas again. There is no yeast involved and minimal kneading. The dough is super easy to work with, not sticky, and so easy to roll out.
All-purpose Flour: This recipe uses standard all-purpose flour. No special flour necessary.
Kosher Salt: Salt gives these tortillas flavor. I recommend kosher salt but if all you have is table salt be sure to reduce the amount by half.
Baking Powder: Baking powder gives these tortillas lift and a bubbly texture.
Fat: I recently read the book Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat, which I highly recommend if you want to learn how to cook more intuitively without always relying on a recipe.
In the book, she says the secret to achieving authentic flavors is to use authentic ingredients. For example, olive trees don’t grow in Mexico so when cooking Mexican food you should not use olive oil. Types of fat used in Mexico include lard and neutral oils.
For these tortillas I recommend using lard. But not just any lard. You want to use leaf lard.
Leaf lard is the soft fat found around a pig’s kidneys. It’s delicate flavor and soft consistency makes it a great fat for pastries like pie crust. It also works really well for making you guessed it … tortillas.
Leaf lard can be hard to find in the grocery store. It may be available at some butcher shops but I like to order mine from a company called Fatworks.
Fatworks specializes in selling different types of natural fat like ghee, tallow, lard, and duck fat. All of their products come from pasture-raised non-gmo animals that are free from antibiotics and hormones.
Leaf lard should be refrigerated and will last 12-18 months if stored properly.
If you don’t want to use leaf lard you can substitute vegetable shortening.
Sourdough Discard: I love maintaining my sourdough starter who we nicknamed Baby Dough-da. But that also means I am always looking for ways to use up my sourdough discard.
If you don’t have a sourdough starter I recommend this free course from Heather at Leavenly.com. Her course titled Trouble-Free Sourdough Starter will give you 10 Days of written step-by-step easy to follow instructions to help you create your sourdough starter from scratch.
Hot Water: You will want the water to be hot enough to help melt the fat but not too hot that you burn your hands when you mix the ingredients.
You can heat the water on the stovetop or in the microwave. My favorite way to heat water is using my electric kettle. It’s fast and gives me great temperature control when I am heating water to make tea or coffee.
How to make tortillas
These tortillas can be made with a stand mixer or by hand. I have a stand mixer from KitchenAid. My mom and brother bought it for me for my birthday almost 15 years ago. I use it weekly and it still works just like it did when it was brand new. It makes so many kitchen tasks easier and comes with a variety of attachments.Sign up for KitchenAid’s Newsletter to receive 10% off your next order!
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the lard or shortening into the flour mixture.
Mix in the sourdough discard and warm water with a fork or your hands until a shaggy dough forms.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and not sticky.
Cut the dough into equal portions. The size is up to you depending upon what size tortillas you want to make. For reference, dividing the dough into 16 equal pieces makes taco sized tortillas.
Form the dough into balls. Cover dough balls with a tea towel and let them rest for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours.
On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out each ball into a thin, flat circle. When rolling the dough out, start in the middle of the ball and roll up.
Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the process until it is approximately 1/8 inch thick.
The tortilla should almost be translucent when you hold it up to the light.
You can wait and roll the tortillas out one by one while you are cooking, but I don’t really like this method because tortillas cook and burn very quickly. I don’t want to be racing to roll out the next tortilla while risking burning the one that is cooking.
I like to roll all of my tortillas out before I begin cooking. You will want to separate the tortillas with a paper towel or some parchment paper to keep them from sticking together. These precut sheets of parchment paper work really well for this.
Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Place a raw tortilla in the skillet and cook until it begins to bubble and look dry.
Flip to cook the other side. Each side should cook for about 30 seconds.
Traditionally tortillas are cooked on a comal. A comal is a flat cast iron plate with low sides. They look very similar to this cast-iron skillet from Lodge.
If you don’t have a comal, a standard large cast-iron skillet or electric griddle works well. This is my all-time favorite electric griddle. It is huge and allows me to cook nine pancakes at one time. Making weekend breakfasts super simple and quick. If using an electric griddle heat it to 450 degrees F.
If the excess flour starts to burn use a wet paper towel to wipe the skillet clean.
Once the tortillas have been cooked, place them in an enclosed container to steam. This will help keep your tortillas soft and flexible.
If you make tortillas often you may want to purchase a tortilla steamer. But stacking the tortillas on a plate and covering them with a towel will work too.
Frequently asked questions
It’s important to allow your dough to rest after you have portioned it out. This allows the flour time to fully absorb all of the liquid and also allows the gluten time to relax.
If your dough continues to shrink back while you are trying to roll it out allow it to rest for a few minutes lightly covered by a towel.
I try to roll my tortilla dough out until it is about 1/8 inch thick. The tortilla should almost be translucent when you hold it up to the light.
Nope, the extra flour coating the tortillas should prevent them from sticking. If the excess flour starts to burn in the pan, wipe it out with a damp paper towel.
Sure, after mixing the dough wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours.
Extra tortillas can be stored in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for about a week.
Straight out of the refrigerator the tortillas will be stiff. Simply cover them with a damp paper towel and microwave for 15-20 seconds to make them pliable again.
Yes! In fact homemade tortillas freeze really well. Freezing your tortillas is a great way to always have a couple on hand when a taco craving strikes.
Place the cooled tortillas in a zip-top bag labeled with the date and contents. Frozen tortillas should be good for 3-6 months.
- You don’t need a tortilla press. The dough is pretty easy to roll out with a rolling pin.
- If the tortilla dough keeps shrinking back when you try to roll it out, let it rest for another 15-30 minutes to give the gluten more time to relax.
- Roll the tortillas pretty thin. You want them to be almost translucent when you hold them up to the light.
- If the excess flour starts to burn in the pan, wipe it out with a damp paper towel.
Ways to use sourdough tortillas
- The obvious answer is all of the delicious Mexican specialties like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chilaquiles, and quesadillas.
- These tortillas also make terrific wraps for a variety of meat and vegetable fillings. The next time you make tuna salad try wrapping it in a homemade tortilla.
- You could also make some super thin crust pizzas by brushing these tortillas with a little pizza sauce and topping them with your favorite toppings and cheese.
Looking for more great sourdough recipes?
- Sourdough Flatbread
- Sourdough Banana Bread
- Sourdough Chicken Strips
- Sourdough Crackers
- Sourdough Discard Pita Bread
Thanks for Reading!
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