With so many types of tortilla shells staring at you from the grocery shelves, it can be difficult to know which type is gluten-free. People who eat a gluten-free diet have encountered this obstacle with more than just tortilla shells. Sometimes products are not clearly labeled with the words “gluten-free” on the box or bag. Shopping can be stressful enough. Luckily there is an easy solution to answering this question. Below is a handy breakdown of the various types of corn tortillas.
What They Are
Corn tortillas come from masa harina. It’s a special type of corn flour that basically is gluten-free. The ongoing debate though is regarding issues with cross-contamination with gluten during the processing and packaging. Many of the masa harina products are actually milled. Many of the packaging facilities that are used for the masa harina also, in some cases, handle wheat, rye, and barley.
Why Choose Corn Tortillas
Simply put, corn tortillas taste amazing, and they are very easy to make if you would prefer not to take a chance on store-bought brands claiming to be “gluten-free.” Some are, yet some aren’t. The brands that state they are on their packaging are supposed to be legitimate, but you may have to do some research on your own to determine which companies are honest in their marketing.
Corn tortillas taste great with a variety of recipes. Tacos aren’t the only way to use them which is what most people might think. They are also a little thicker than flour tortillas which makes every meal special. Honestly, they just make a lot of things taste better and with so many restrictions on a gluten-free diet, why miss out on adding these to the list of foods you can eat?
Are They Really Gluten Free?
Certain brands claim their corn tortillas are gluten-free. As mentioned before you have to do your own research on most of them but one brand that you can trust is Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free masa harina corn flour. The company Maseca claims their brand is gluten-free, but it’s currently up for debate. You can freeze the flour if you wish or simply store it in your cabinet until ready to use.
How to Make Your Own Corn Tortillas
There are several recipes available online, but for a simple fix you will need:
- 2 Cups Masa Harina Corn Flour
- 3/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 9-11 Oz of Water (Roughly 90 Degrees)
- A Tortilla Press is NOT required! You can actually just use a plate or a cake cutter
Combine the masa and salt in a large bowl. Be sure to whisk it well until everything’s combined. Create a well in the center of the masa. Add 9 ounces of water to it and then mix it. The dough should be rather stiff and a bit on the thick side. Don’t work too slowly or the dough will soak up the water and become too dry to work with!
Give the dough proper time to rest. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap after the wait time and touch the dough. It will be ready to work with once it has absorbed enough of the water and didn’t leave a residue but also doesn’t crumble when you work with it. Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Roll each one into a tight ball. If the dough is still crumbly sprinkle a few droplets of water on it and knead the ball a couple of times.
Cook them. Heat a cast iron skillet. Use a medium-high heat setting on the stovetop. Put one piece of masa dough in between two sheets of parchment paper. You’ll want to roll it into a round roughly 6 inches in diameter. You can use a small cake cutter to get a perfect circle, but you don’t have to have it to make the tortilla shell. Take off the top sheet of parchment paper. Then peel the bottom sheet off. Place the dough in the hot skillet. Cook the dough undisturbed, until the edges begin to peel away from the pan. Use a flat spatula with a wide diameter to flip the tortilla. The entire process usually takes about 45 seconds. Cook for about 15 seconds. Flip again and cook another 15 seconds or so. Finally, remove the tortilla from the pan and cover with a tea towel. Repeat the process until every dough ball has been cooked thoroughly.
How to store them. You can easily store corn tortillas at room temperature for hours as long as they are placed in a damp tea towel. If they are no longer warm when you go to eat them, just toss them in a hot skillet warming them on both sides for a few seconds to reheat them. If you plan on using them in the future, you can store them in your freezer in a freezer bag or freezer safe container. Defrost at room temperature and reheat in a hot skillet on both sides to refresh them.