"Alternative" Tortillas — GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE

March 11th, 2010 by Jean Duane

When you think about it, most cultures have some kind of wrap or tortilla. The Mexicans and Brazilians offer corn tortillas, Thailand has a rice tortilla, China has wheat tortillas for Moo Shu, the French have crepes and Socca made from chickpea flour. Ethiopians have teff tortillas. Nepalese have chappatis made from amaranth flour. Thank heaven, here in America there are gluten-free tortillas we can buy off-the-shelf. Candy?s Corn tortillas and Food for Life rice tortillas are gluten-free staple foods in my kitchen, but there is nothing more comforting than a homemade tortilla. The gluten-free world needs its own tortilla! Let s call our tortilla the Alternative tortilla, to signify a gluten-free safe-to-eat tortilla. This may catch on — imagine going into Chipotle and saying, I’ll have mine on the Alternative!
Tortilla Techniques
Most traditional tortilla recipes call for lard or saturated fat. Substituting oil means the preparation is a little different. Use warm water, and mix the water and the oil together separately. Then combine the water/oil mixture with the flour and salt. Then, with a whisk, incorporate the water and flour mixtures. Oiling your hands before forming the balls keeps the moisture in the dry, gluten-free dough. Let the dough balls rest a few minutes. This yields a lighter product. A tortilla press is a true kitchen marvel. Corn tortillas are usually pressed in a tortilla press, and wheat flour-based tortillas are usually rolled with a rolling pin. That is because the gluten in wheat flour is more resistant to pressing. Gluten-free flour tortillas work well in a tortilla press. If you have one, place plastic wrap on the top and bottom plates of the press. Place the ball off center toward the hinge and press until the dough reaches the outside of the press. Transport the dough on the plastic wrap to the griddle. If you use a rolling pin, oil it before rolling out the dough. It is preferable to cook tortillas on a cast iron tortilla griddle because they hold the heat, but any frying pan will work too. Press the tortilla while it is cooking with a pancake turner. Flip it once and cook the other side.

Place Dough on Press

Place Dough on Press

Tortillas can be stuffed with savory beans, fresh or roasted vegetables and topped with fresh chopped salsa or eaten plain as a snack. Making fresh tortillas is something your whole family can enjoy doing together.
Alternative Flour Tortillas by Jean Duane, Alternative Cook
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
3 TBS sunflower or olive oil
And Press

And Press

1. Whisk together the flours, baking power, salt and xanthan gum. Separately mix water, and oil together, then add to the flour mixture. Mix with hands or a pastry whisk until incorporated. Oil hands and form dough into 8 golf balls.
2. Place plastic wrap over the bottom of a tortilla press and put a ball of dough on the plastic wrap. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough, and slowly press the tortilla with the press until it is flattened. (Or, roll the dough out on waxed paper with an oiled rolling pin.)
3. Heat an oiled cast iron pan or griddle and place the tortilla on it. Press it while it is cooking. When browned, turn and cook the other side. Place in a tortilla warmer until ready to serve.
(c) 2008 Alternative Cook, LLC. A portion of this article first appeared in the Scott Free Newsetter, Spring, 2008.

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