Tortillas are a corn-based, unleavened flatbread used primarily in Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos and quesadillas. The traditional method for making tortillas is by hand, but as technology has advanced, electrically powered tortilla presses are now available for those who need to make a lot of tortilla shells in a short amount of time.
To make tortillas, the chef starts by boiling dried corn in water and a calcium powder that helps release the corn’s nutrients. The mixture is then ground into a smooth paste and formed into balls. The balls are flattened and formed into thin, round tortilla shells and ready to be cooked.
Restaurants that want to advertise homemade tortillas but either do not have the time or desire to flatten them all by hand can use a tortilla press. Several of the dough balls are placed on the lower plate of the press, spaced out enough so the flattened tortillas do not collide with one another. The press plates are heated so the tortillas are cooked when they are flattened. Tortilla presses can also be used to make other flatbreads, like pita.