Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fresh Masa and Corn Tortillas

Do you remember that I grew flour corn this summer?

When it was ready, I pulled the ears (approximately 50 of them) and hung them near the wood heating stove to dry. Several days ago I took some of the corn kernels off of the cobs. Last night I measured out 2 pounds of it and washed it carefully:

Then I mixed 1 1/2 Tablespoons of pickling lime with 1/2 cup water:

I put the clean corn, the lime water and more water in a stainless pot and brought it to a boil:

As it boiled, the kernels turned a pretty yellow color:

I let it boil for 20 minutes, turned off the heat and let it soak overnight. This morning, I drained the corn in a large stainless colander and rinsed it:

The next step is to put the corn into a large bowl, cover well with water and start rubbing the corn kernels. The little skin part on the outside will come off.

From time to time, the corn is drained again and covered with clean water. This process must be repeated until the water is clear:

Here is the prepared corn, drained and rinsed:

A close-up look at the beautiful corn kernels:

Next, I used my food processor to grind it up some. I did this in two batches:

And then I used my old Corona Mill which has metal grinding surfaces to grind the corn:

Here is what the masa looks like after the first grinding:

I ground it again, adding just a little water and here is the finished product:

A closer view:

I learned to do this from my friend, Mely, who blogs at Mexico in My Kitchen. On Mely's blog post about this process, she has a photo of her finished masa with a hand print in it. Here is mine. Hers is much nicer!

Now, on to the tortillas! Here is my tortilla press that my daughter bought for me:

Place your griddle on high heat on the stove:

Take a gallon sized food storage bag, cut off the open end and slit the sides so you can use it to line the press. Here is a piece of the masa dough that I use to make just one:

Line the press with the plastic bag, place the piece of dough on the plastic, not centered, but more towards the hinged side. You will need to experiment to see exactly where. Close the press and press down firmly with the handle. Then, open the press:

Carefully peel the plastic off of the tortilla and put it on the hot griddle. Bake it until you get some brown spots forming on the underside, then flip it over and bake the top. I forgot to get a picture of it baking, but here is what it looks like when it's done:

Obviously, I am still learning, but these were delicious! The 2 pounds of corn made about 3 pounds of fresh masa, and the way it turned out, I would be able to bake approximately 18 tortillas with that much. I made 6, which was plenty for our meal, and I froze the rest in two batches to use later.

Thank you, Mely!

I shared this recipe on Simple Lives Thursday #73.


  1. The tortillas look beautiful! Next year please share some corn with me. The flavor of fresh dried corn masa is sublime. The smell of the tortillas cooking is incredible.

    Great work!


  2. Thank you, Mely! I would be happy to send you some of the current harvest, if you would like.

  3. You are always learning and having such interesting times. Good job.

  4. Where did you get the corn to plant?
    I live in Houston, Tx.

    1. I actually got my start from an online friend. If you would like me to send you some seed to get you started, email me at and if you will pay the postage, I will send you some seeds!


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