Tortillas are an absolute requirement in my home – be it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, second lunch, second dinner, or fifth breakfast. Although there are a variety of great pre-made low-carb and keto tortillas you can purchase at the store, nothing comes close to a fresh, warm tortilla that you make in your home. Unfortunately, tortillas require 1 basic ingredient: flour. When on a low-carb, keto, or even gluten-free diet, this would be an absolute train wreck to your diet. Thus, I had to find an alternative.
You would assume that a dish that is made from flour, lard, water, and salt would be simply to make low-carb, but this has actually been one of the most difficult challenges. The largest issue is the mark of a good tortilla – pliability. A flour tortilla’s ability to bend, fold, wrap, and not become soggy is completely attributable to the flour in the traditional form. Not to mention the leoparding that adds flavor and texture to a normal flour tortilla.
To attain the pliability, flavor, and texture, there are two recipes. Although the gluten free recipe works great, the texture is not perfect. However, if you have gluten or wheat allergies, there isn’t much of an option (at least, that I’m currently aware of), but at least you won’t die. However, if your body can stomach gluten, I implore you to try the gluten version.
Can I use coconut flour instead of almond flour?
Unfortunately, no. Coconut flour is extremely absorbent and will result in a terribly dry tortilla that simply crumbles. Adding more water to the dough won’t fix it either – I tried a bunch of variations.
Why do you have to let the dough rest?
The xanthan gum needs to start pulling out the moisture so it can perform its magic. If you’re making the gluten version, this time will also allow some gluten development, which will improve the flexibility of the tortilla.
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes! You can pre-make the dough, and roll out/press the tortillas. I like to stack them with parchment paper in between each disc and store and store in the fridge for a few days. Just be aware that, the gluten will continue to develop, so they will be slightly different the longer you let them sit (slightly more stretchy, which may or may not be desirable). Unlike bread though, they won’t rise as there’s no yeast in the dough.
Do I need a tortilla press?
You do not need a tortilla press to make these tortillas! You can use parchment paper and any smooth round surface (rolling pin, wine bottle, or even a fire extinguisher, etc). That said, a tortilla press will make your life incredibly easier and yield a perfectly consistent tortilla that will cook evenly every time.
How long do I cook the tortilla for?
When you first place the tortilla on the cast iron or the non-stick pan, you will need to cook it for about 30-60 seconds. The tortilla will change color from a light tan to mostly white. Once the top gets mostly speckled with white, flip it. If you’re using the gluten-free recipe, let the tortilla cook for 5 seconds and then remove it. If you’re using gluten, you can go for 5-10 seconds before removing the tortilla.
Why so little time on the flip side? If you cook the tortilla too long, it will not be pliable. It’s unfortunate because you won’t get the desired charring, but it’s part of the tradeoff we have to deal with.
My tortilla came out hard and not pliable.
A possible issue is that it was cooked for too long. Unfortunately, we can’t get the traditional charring that you would with a regular tortilla – it’s a tradeoff we have to live with. Once you flip the tortilla, you have a maximum of 5-10 seconds before the whole tortilla will lose its ability to bend and fold.
However, if you’re looking to make a quesadilla, sandwiching some cheese in the tortilla will allow you to get the crispiness you desire!
What pan do I use?
I prefer to use my cast iron griddle or some form of really well seasoned cast iron. You can also use a nonstick pan, but it may cook differently due to how thin they usually are.