How to Keep Corn Tortillas from Cracking
Corn tortillas, an essential part of many Mexican meals, often crack when exposed to high heat. What causes this? Is there a way to prevent it? This article will explore how to keep corn tortillas from cracking and whether it’s a real problem or not.
Corn tortillas crack when they become too dry and brittle. To keep them from breaking, lightly oil the tortillas before wrapping them up with a dampened paper towel. It helps prevent the tortilla from becoming too dry and brittle.
However, the FDA does not recommend keeping corn tortillas at room temperature. Suppose you plan to keep them in your pantry or fridge for longer than two days. Wrapping them in a damp paper towel is the best way to store them clean and prevent them from drying out.
And if storing in the fridge or freezer, it’s best to keep frozen corn tortillas on a plate with a damp cloth underneath or in an airtight plastic bag.
How to Keep Corn Tortillas from Breaking
Corn tortillas are a staple in Mexican cooking, but they can be challenging to keep from breaking.
Here’s how to keep your tortillas from breaking while you enjoy them.
1. Keep the tortillas wrapped in a kitchen towel or paper towel until ready to use.
2. Before serving, place the tortillas on a plate and flip them over, so they do not overlap.
3. Cover with plastic wrap before placing in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (if using them immediately).
4. To serve: unwrap the tortillas and heat them in a skillet over medium heat until they are warm (but not too hot), about 10 minutes; add cheese if desired and serve.
Generally, if you’re trying to keep corn tortillas from breaking, use them within a day or two. If you buy them at the store, ensure they’re fresh and avoid storing them in the refrigerator.
Here are common mistakes people make when working with corn tortillas:
1. They’re too soft. If your tortilla is too soft and spongy, it won’t hold together when you try to roll it up into a burrito. You’ll need to use less water and knead the dough longer before rolling it out.
2. They’re too hard. If your tortilla is hard and dry and prone to cracking when you try to roll it up into a burrito, then add more water and knead longer before rolling out the dough.
3. They’re not rolled out thin enough. The thinner, the better. A good rule of thumb is 1/8 inch thick—this will ensure that your burritos don’t fall apart while they cook in the oven or pan fry on the stovetop.
How to Keep Corn Tortillas from Breaking When Frying
Corn tortillas are a delicious and versatile staple for Mexican cuisine. They’re great for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more. But what happens when you try to fry them?
You can try using a frying pan that has been specially designed for corn tortillas, or you can use a cast iron skillet. But even then, they will still break if you don’t follow some simple steps.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep your corn tortillas from breaking when you fry them.
1. Make sure they’re completely dry before frying. If they’re too wet, they’ll break when you try to fry them up.
2. Heat your oil until it’s hot enough to make a drop of water pop, and then immediately turn off the heat or lower the temperature if it starts smoking.
3. Salt your oil and use a paper towel or kitchen towel to wipe off any excess salt from the surface of the oil before adding your tortillas because too much salt will make them taste burned instead of delicious.
4. Don’t crowd the tortilla when you fry it. Don’t try to fry more than one at a time—you want them to be able to get hot enough, so they puff up, but not so hot that they break apart while they cool down.
2. Keep the oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and make sure it’s deep enough in the pan that it covers all sides of your tortilla as it cooks over medium-low heat (about 350 degrees F). Use two pans if you can’t fit two tortillas into your pan at once.
3. Let the tortillas sit in the oil for about 10 seconds before turning them over and cooking for another minute on each side until golden brown and crispy around the edges (but not burned).
4. Fry the tortilla in batches
5. Use tongs to keep the tortilla from getting too close to the heat source
6. Wait until the oil has reached a medium temperature before adding more food
7. Use a lid on your skillet when frying foods like corn tortillas.
How to Keep Corn Tortillas from Falling Apart in Enchiladas
Enchiladas are a classic Mexican dish, and they’re delicious. But they can be tricky to make—especially if you’re looking to make them ahead of time.
To keep your enchiladas from falling apart, you need to know how to wrap them up in corn tortillas. Here are a few tips:
1. First, make sure your enchiladas are made correctly. You want them to be filled with a chunky sauce and be rolled up like a burrito, not just plopped on top of the sauce. The better your tortillas are made, the less likely they’ll fall apart.
2. Next, put your enchiladas in an oven-safe dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (or use a casserole dish). It helps keep them from sticking together while they cook.
3. Cover your dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
Here are tips that will help:
1. Don’t try to make too many enchiladas at once. It can be tempting when you have a lot of ingredients in the fridge, but this will only lead to disaster (and an angry chef).
If you are making a large batch of enchiladas, divide it into multiple smaller batches so that everything doesn’t get cold too quickly during the cooking process.
2. Use corn tortillas instead of flour ones for your toppings because flour tends to fall apart more easily than corn does when cooked at high temperatures, like those found in enchiladas or burritos (which is why we recommend using them instead). They also cook faster than flour tortillas.
3. Ensure that your sauce has been properly maintained throughout the cooking process, so it doesn’t fall off.
Read more on Can You Freeze Masa?
Why Do My Flour Tortillas Crack?
The most common reason flour tortillas crack is how they are made.
Flour tortillas are made by rolling out dough, which causes it to puff up and become soft. It means that when you cook it, the dough will expand, causing it to crack in places.
To prevent this from happening, ensure you roll out your dough in a thin layer. If you roll it too thickly, your tortilla will be less likely to crack when cooked.
Also, they crack so quickly because they’re made out of wheat flour, which contains gluten. Gluten is a protein in wheat that’s needed to make the dough elastic. When you cook the tortillas, they absorb water and expand, making them brittle when they dry out later.
And if you need to store your tortillas for longer than 24 hours, wrap them in plastic wrap before putting them in the fridge.
How to Roll Corn Tortillas Without Breaking
You don’t want to break your tortillas, but you don’t want to be left with crumbled corn tortilla chips.
To avoid this, follow these steps:
1. Place the corn tortilla on a clean, dry surface and press down on it with your hand. It will cause the dough to stick together to form one large piece.
2. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin circle about 1/8-inch thick. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or cooking spray to the pan and place one tortilla onto the pan until both sides are lightly browned (about 30 seconds per side). Remove from heat immediately and repeat with remaining tortillas until they are all done.
How to Prevent Corn Tortillas from Falling Apart
Corn tortillas are a beloved staple in many households, but they’re also one of the most common food items to leave behind on the dinner table.
With all the different things that can go wrong with corn tortillas, it’s easy to see why you might want to know how to prevent them from falling apart.
Here are some tips for keeping your tortillas intact:
1. Buy high-quality corn tortillas. The more expensive ones will cost more but will likely last longer and be less likely to break apart.
2. Use a very hot skillet when cooking your tortillas so they don’t get soggy when they cool down later.
3. Don’t overmix or knead the dough before cooking it because this can cause it to become tough and chewy instead of soft and pliable as it should be.
4. Use a rolling pin instead of a tortilla press or other pressing surface. The rolling pin will help distribute the pressure evenly across the dough so that no part of it gets crushed too much or too little.
You don’t have to use a heavy-duty one—a small one about 1/4-inch thick will work fine (but be sure to clean it well).
5. Don’t overwork the dough. If you try to roll out your dough too thin or stretch it too far before cooking it on an ungreased surface, it may start breaking apart as soon as you try cooking it up with oil on top.
6. Keep them wrapped in a damp paper towel when not in use. You can also store them in an airtight container if you don’t have access to paper towels.
How to Soften Corn Tortillas for Tacos
You can soften corn tortillas by soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes. Check the temperature of the water because if it gets too hot, the tortilla will become mushy rather than soften up as you want it to.
The best temperature range for this is 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit (40-45 Celsius). If you don’t have a thermometer handy and need a visual indication of what’s happening with your water, add some food coloring—the more intense the color, the hotter the water is likely to get.
After soaking your tortillas for about 30 minutes in warm water, remove them from their bath and squeeze out any excess liquid from inside them before drying them off with paper towels or a dishcloth. It should leave them soft enough to be used immediately as taco shells.
Alternatively, you can use it in a microwave or on the stovetop.
If you have a microwave, place the corn tortillas on a plate with paper towels. Microwave them for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until they are soft enough to fold.
If you don’t have a microwave, boil your tortillas for about 2 minutes in salted water (1/2 teaspoon salt per cup). Then drain them and allow them to sit for about 10 minutes before using them as tacos.
Can You Freeze Corn Tortillas
You can freeze corn tortillas. You can freeze them the same way you would for any other type of food—by placing them in a freezer-safe bag and sealing it tightly.
The trick is to keep them in a freezer bag. They’ll last longer if stacked on each other and wrapped in plastic, but you can also just put them directly into the freezer. When ready to use them again, take as many as you need and heat them.
However, to thaw frozen corn tortillas, place them on a plate and allow them to sit at room temperature for 25-30 minutes before you serve.
In addition, corn tortillas can last up to two months in the freezer if kept sealed in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container. If stored properly, they should be able to withstand freezing temperatures without becoming mushy or hardening into rock-hard blocks of ice upon thawing (see below).
However, we recommend you check on your frozen corn tortilla before eating it to ensure it hasn’t turned into an egg roll-like solid block of ice after being frozen for longer than recommended (about six months).
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Make Corn Tortillas Last Longer?
Corn tortillas can be kept for months by storing them in an airtight container. Just place a few layers of newspapers under them, then put a stack in your freezer.
How Do You Keep Corn Tortillas from Drying Out?
The best way to keep tortillas from drying out is to store them wrapped in plastic or a covered container. Store in the freezer if you want longer-lasting crisps. If you have time, let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before using them to allow moisture to return.
Should You Keep Corn Tortillas in the Fridge?
Corn tortillas can become dry and hard when stored in the refrigerator. It makes them difficult to roll, and you may end up with tortillas that crack before you get to the second step.
Instead, store corn tortillas in an airtight container or tightly-sealed plastic bag where they breathe and won’t go stale.
Ultimately, making homemade corn tortillas that don’t crack can be hard. You can do some things, such as adding oil or butter to your masa and keeping your hands damp when flattening them out.
Hopefully, these tricks about how to keep corn tortillas from cracking will prevent your homemade tortillas from cracking the next time you decide to whip up a batch.