November 2, 2015

Homemade tortillas and chips are a good way to control what ingredients go into your food.
Sana Keefer Washington/Flickr

It’s important for my homesteading, homemaking and homeschooling schedules that I maximize my time in the kitchen every day. That’s why I love this recipe, which produces both tortillas and chips from one batch of dough. It’s important to develop healthy eating habits in our children when they’re young, and cooking wholesome food with them is an easy way to accomplish this.

Children of all ages can help with these products because there are several jobs that can be assigned according to their capabilities. The youngest children can help put ingredients into the mixing bowl and turn it on. The next oldest can help roll out each tortilla or cut out chips—you might get odd shapes, but they’ll still taste great. For your self-governed children, you can turn over the job of frying up both the tortillas and the chips.

Homemade tortillas and chips both make great hearty snacks for farmhands and farm kids as the weather cools down. Using healthy ingredients will ensure that your family is eating nutrient dense food that will keep them going as they finish bringing in the harvest and preparing for winter on the farm.

Recipe: Wholesome Tortillas

Let your kid helps with tortilla-making, from mixing to cooking.
This Year’s Love/Flickr

Ingredients

  • 9 cups flour (I use a mix of fresh-ground white wheat and kamut wheat.)*
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 cup oil (I use half extra virgin olive oil and half avocado oil, but any oil will work.)
  • 3 cups warm water

*You can similarly use corn masa flour and make corn tortillas and chips, as well as experimenting with grain mixes using flours like quinoa and oat.

Preparation

Using dough hook attachment of your stand mixer, mix flour, salt and baking powder on medium speed; you may also do this by hand in a regular bowl. Add oil and water. When the dough comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease mixing speed to low. Continue to mix for 1 minute or until dough is smooth and elastic.

Divide dough in half, then in half again. Continue until you have about 30 fairly equal portions. Form each piece into a ball and then flatten with the palm of your hand on a lightly floured surface. If the dough is sticky, use a bit more flour. Cover dough balls with a towel, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.

Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat, and add a bit of olive oil; you can also omit the oil and simply cook up your tortillas without it. Roll each dough piece into a circle, about 6-8 inches in diameter. Keep your surface floured and don’t stack rolled tortillas or they’ll stick together. It helps to have a couple pans going so you can process the tortillas quickly, but it’s up to you how many pans you want to run at one time.

When the oil is very hot, place uncooked tortilla into pan and allow to cook about 1 minute or until underside is lightly browned here and there. The uncooked surface will begin to bubble by the time it’s ready to be flipped over. Flip to other side and cook for another minute. Reduce heat if the tortilla is browning too fast. Cooking up tortillas is a great job to hand over to a child while you cut up your homegrown produce to stuff into your soft tacos.

Remove from pan and stack, covering to retain warmth and moisture. Wipe out extra flour in between tortillas if it begins to burn in the pan.

The tortillas will keep well stored in an airtight container or zipper-top bag at room temperature for 24 hours or can be frozen indefinitely. Freeze tortillas with a piece of parchment paper in between each for best results.

Our family of seven can put away anywhere from 15 to 20 of these tortilla during soft-taco night. The leftovers we use to make the taco chips below.

Making Chips From Tortillas

Supervise your children as they fry the tortilla chips.
Tessa Zundel

This is not hard, I promise, and it is a great thing to do with your child who is ready to take on a little heat at the stove. I try to remain close by when the kids are using the stove, especially if hot oils are involved.

Step 1

Using a pizza cutter, cut leftover tortillas (day-old work great) into reasonably sized wedges. Oddly shaped or leftover bits will still be tasty once fried up.

Step 2

Warm a skillet over medium heat and then add oil at a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch, to cover the bottom of your pan.Make sure you’re using healthy oils for frying—olive, avocado, sunflower—to keep this snack as good for you as possible.

Step 3

Once the oil is hot, place a layer of tortilla wedges into the bottom of the pan so that they’re not overlapping. Fry until golden brown on the underside, usually one to three minutes. Flip each chip to fry on the other side for about a minute.

Step 4

Remove chips to a baking rack over a cookie sheet to drain, and immediately sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Add any flavor or spice variation that you’d like in place of plain salt. You can even make them into a dessert by using cinnamon sugar.

Step 5

Store leftover chips (if you have any) in a lidded container for up to a week. Oils in the chips may begin to go rancid after a week in hot, ambient temperatures.

One of the great lessons that children learn from us in the kitchen is how to nourish, not just with food, but with time and energy. Taking the time to cook from scratch with our children is an investment in effort and sometimes I’m too tired or cranky to do it very well. Then, there are other times; when we laugh together, get covered in flour and nick homemade chips before dinner. Those are the times that make all the lopsided tortillas and spilled sea salt worth it.

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