Tortilla chips; garlic powder, buttermilk

The garlic powder didn’t do much at all; there’s just a hint of it. It was only about 0.75 teaspoon. Next time I’m going to use onion powder instead, and use 1.5 teaspoons.

The buttermilk, on the other hand, didn’t do much for the flavor but I’d forgotten that with bread, milk gives it a nice brown crust. So with these crackers it made them very brown. Too brown in fact; they’re just over the edge of being overdone because of the buttermilk. Just a wee bit of bitterness.

I’m cooking half a batch at a time; that’s all that fits in my cookie sheet, so for the second half I reduced the oven temperature to 275. Those came out much better. More significantly, I kneaded in some untoasted sesame seeds. They came out very nicely. The toasted sesame seed flavor developed and works well with the corn flour.
tortilla chips with sesame seeds (and buttermilk).
So now I’m making a batch without the buttermilk and with 0.25 cup of untoasted sesame seeds. Here’s the dough; right now it’s wrapped in plastic cling wrap and resting.
tortilla chips dough with 0.25 cup of sesame seeds.
The black bits are untoasted black sesame seeds. The untoasted brown sesame seeds I had didn’t quite fill the measuring cup so I added some untoasted black sesame seeds. I’d forgotten I had the brown ones.

Here’s the basic recipe and my procedure. In the stand mixer bowl put

0.5 teaspoon of salt.
1 cup masa harina

Start the mixer on a low speed and dribble in

1 tablespoon oil

Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl and mixer paddle getting any gobbets of oily flour and putting them in with the rest of the flour. Start the mixer again on slow and add

0.5 cup water

With my current bag of masa harina that’s not enough water and I need to add

2 or 3 tablespoons water

At this point you can turn the mixer’s speed up, but not too high or pieces will start flying out (I never bother to use the splash guard for my mixer; it would probably help with that).

You want a dough that holds together but isn’t sticky. It can be slightly sticky and the resting may help it lose its stickiness. When you roll it into a ball in your hands it’ll be about the size of a softball. Wrap it in plastic cling wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 275.

Unwrap the dough and using a knife or pasty scraper cut the ball of dough in half and wrap one half in the cling wrap and set aside. Cut the other piece in half and work with one piece.

Pinch off a piece and weigh it; for me 8 grams makes a nice size. If it’s too small you can pinch off a bit from the main piece and add it to the little piece on the scale. When it’s the right weight roll it between your two palms into a ball.

Squash it on the tortilla press then transfer to the cookie sheet. If the dough’s a little bit too dry, after you squash it the edges will be rough. When it has the right amount of water the edges will be noticeably smoother. If you have rough edges knead in some more water. Take the various pieces of dough and mash them back together; it’s easy to rework it, it’s like Play Doh. (It doesn’t have any gluten so you don’t have to worry about overworking it.) Wet your hands and knead the dough, working in the water that’s on your hands. You may need to wet your hands several times. Be sure and knead the dough for several minutes so that the water is well incorporated before you wet your hands again. Then pinch off a piece and try it again in the tortilla press.

For the tortilla press you don’t want to use it directly; put the dough ball between plastic, otherwise the dough will stick to the tortilla press. What works well for the plastic is a freezer zip bag, 1 gallon. Cut off the zipper top and lay the plastic bag on your tortilla press and figure out how much more of the top to cut off so that it fits. The bottom of the bag will be where the press’s hinge is. For the sides of the bag you can either cut them off or slit them. I slit mine and ended up with an inch or so hanging off each side of the press. After you roll the dough into a ball place it between the two folds of plastic, bring the top of the tortilla press down and press firmly with both hands. I don’t use the handle thing to press it more; they come out nice and thin with just me leaning and pressing on it with my hands.
Tortilla press with plastic.
The tortilla press is cast iron and heavy and the bottom of mine hasn’t been smoothed or made nice so it will slide around and scratch my counter top so I use a small towel under it.

The chips shrink by about 25% when they’re baked so when you put them on the cookie sheet they can be touching.

Bake on each side for 25 minutes, for a total of 50 minutes. When they’re done, let them finish baking and cool on the cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container. Makes 48 tortilla chips.

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