Our chef is often asked if she can make corn tortillas with cornmeal. The answer is always the same. Nope. Nada. It’s just not the same as masa. So, what is the difference between cornmeal and masa harina (masa flour)? It is corn flour, right? Technically, they’re both made from corn, but the way they’re processed is quite different, and they’re generally best used in various recipes, with some exceptions. Cornmeal is ground dried corn and is often reasonably coarse in consistency and usually is found for purchase in color varieties of yellow or white in color. The corn in masa harina is soaked in food-grade calcium hydroxide to make hominy. Masa harina is also available in types of yellow or white. It is a matter of flavor preference. Yellow has a more pronounced corn flavor. White is a more subtle corn flavor. It is made into masa dough for tortillas and tamales by adding liquid. One can also fold a small amount of masa harina into yeast-risen loaves of bread or rolls for a dose of nutty, buttery richness. Yes, masa is gluten-free, and ours is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility! So, let’s make tortillas!
Grab a bag of our corn masa. Any color will work. A tortilla press is recommended, but a rolling pin will work in a pinch. One will also need a heavy cooking pan with a 7-inch cooking surface.
2 cups Panhandle Milling white or yellow corn masa
1 ¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt