Basic Masa for Tortillas, Quesadillas, Sopes, and More
Makes enough for 12 sopes, 18 (5-inch) tortillas, or 12 quesadillas
Mexican cooks have access to fresh masa, made from dry corn and lime, at their smalllocal
. Although it doesn’t have quite the same authentic flavor, masa madefrom dry masa harina (such as that made by Maseca) is easy to make, economical, andworks just as well.The following recipe makes a plain masa, but you can play with the basic recipe byadding a small amount of dried ground chiles, minced garlic, chopped herbs, groundspices such as cumin, or whatever else you fancy. In fact, you can even add foodcoloring to make your masa bright pink, yellow, or purple, as Mexicans sometimes dofor fiestas. Or check out theMasa Verderecipe, which adds the color and flavor of pureed herbs.Masa is easy to work with. If made properly, it’s not sticky, and it’s forgiving becauseit has no gluten and cannot be overworked. An inexpensive tortilla press is a useful tool.Line the press with squares cut from a crinkly plastic bag and practice pressing out thedough to the desired thickness. The masa can be gathered up and pressed again andagain until you are satisfied.
3 cups dry masa harina (preferably Maseca brand)2 teaspoons kosher salt2 cups lukewarm water, plusmore as needed1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly to form a smooth,damp dough that does not stick to your hands. If the dough feels too dry, add morewater, 1 tablespoon at a time, and work it in with your hands; the dough should be theconsistency of playdough. Divide the masa into portions as needed for your recipe andproceed as directed. Keep the dough covered with a dry towel while you work.The amount of water you need will vary. The masa is too dry if it cracks around theedges when pressed. If this happens, reform the ball, dip two ngers into water, andwork the water into the masa.
• Add 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile to the dry masa before mixing.