The Great Torillieria Mystery

Our continuing foray into the world of international breads brought us Tortilla as March's Ethnic Bread of the Month. This one is fairly significant, because doing without tortillas as well as tortilla chips (which assume an ability to make tortillas in the first place) is a situation which we would like to avoid.
From some prelim research, we discovered that most of the traditional recipes called for large amounts of lard... also a situation we'd like to avoid. So we found an allrecipes.com version with shortening as a substitute that seemed to get good reviews, and went at it.
The good news? They're quick.
The bad news? Well, not really bad, but there do seem to be some mysteries intrinsic to tortillas which have evaded us. If you know the answers to these of life's persistent questions, please do tell:
1. They taste kind of like pie crusts. We didn't grease the pan before frying them. Was this a mistake?
2. Round? yes. Nice and round? no. Ergo, it must be that, either, we should have trimmed the edges, or maybe we should have thrown them like pizza dough instead of using a rolling pin.
3. Is all this to say that the lard is really necessary? Is shortening never an okay substitute?
Tune in next month as the Chefs McLaughlin tackle their next ethnic bread.


Anonymous said...

Shortening is a FINE substitute. We had a friend at seminary who was half Mexican and her mom taught her to make tortillas. She in turn taught us and gave us a recipe that used shortening. They may taste like pie crusts if you're not rolling them thin enough... or maybe too much salt? We should compare recipes!