What are you Baking the Week of August 14, 2022?


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    Joan Simpson

    Nice looking pizza Mike!


    BakerAunt, my mother-in-law made thousands of flour tortillas in her lifetime. She didn't use a regular-sized rolling pin. The pin she used was wooden, tortilla-sized long -- sorry I don't know the exact length. I believe, but may be wrong that I've seen that sized rolling pin at lehmans.com. She had a 1950's-type kitchen table, metal legs, laminated-looking top. She rolled them directly on the table -- no parchment, no saran. I don't recall her putting flour on the table as she rolled.

    When she cooked them, they'd puff-up as they cooked, which is a sign of a really well-made tortilla. All her cooked tortillas were pale in color, except for the brown-to-black spots on one side of them. Those spots are a sign of a well-made tortilla. All the tortilla shops in her area that made tortillas by hand had that color. Perfection! Her tortillas were 6"-7" round.

    Below is my mother's-in-law tortilla recipe, written exactly as she did it while I watched. It probably won't be much help to you, but hopefully, the cooking instructions might be useful to you.

    BakerAunt, if you're going to buy tortillas, the only store brand we're willing to use is La Banderita. They're 6-1/2" round.


    Mix in a long cake pan. Makes about 5 dozen.

    Using a big coffee cup (about the size of hubby's green cup -- remember, cups were smaller last century), measure 5 heaping cups of flour.

    Using a regular eating teaspoon, measure 5 level teaspoons of baking powder. Add lard (a chunk the size of a walnut) and gradually add 2-1/2 cups (approximately) (using the cup you used for the flour as the measure) HOT water. Mix the flour quickly with the water.

    Work dough well. May have to add a sprinkling or 2 or water -- work until no longer sticky. Do NOT knead dough like bread dough. GENTLY knead by rolling back and forth -- pick up at the top and roll back & forth. Change ends. Then roll dough into a ball & rub Crisco on the top. Cover with a cloth & let set in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour.

    Make semi-flat balls -- punch dough under with thumb. The more dough in each ball, the heavier your tortilla will be (don't want heavy tortillas), but have enough dough to make a large tortilla (6"-7" round) When all balls are formed, cover with damp cloth & let rest for about 10 minutes. Then start rolling, but keep those unrolled balls covered all the time.

    TO ROLL: Roll in one direction, then turn -- roll in other direction & keep repeating until reach desired size. Pat with hands when turn to keep from sticking.

    TO COOK: Put tortilla on a hot griddle -- turn right away. Cook on 2nd side, but move it around on the griddle so it will cook evenly. Then toss it on the gas flame and let it cook there until tortilla gets nice & puffy with air. Cook only one side against the flame that way only one side will be brown & black from the flame. That is the sided you put your meat or beans on.

    If you don't have a gas stove, then the entire process must be done on the griddle. The tortillas will still puff up with air.

    FOR 2 DOZEN TORTILLAS: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, small dab of Crisco & about 1-1/8 cup HOT water (use the same measuring instruments that you do for 5 dozen.

    NOTE: Grab flour fast & get it mixed fast.


    Thank you for typing in the directions and recipe for your mother-in-law's tortillas, Italian Cook. The recipe I followed said to cook on both sides, which may be part of the issue. I am not ready to try over the open flame. I also wanted to avoid using lard, which is probably one reason mine got hard. The King Arthur recipe, and another one from How to Cook Anything (Mark Bittman, I think) do not call for baking powder, but I think an old one I once used does, and that it uses Crisco. More experimentation is needed!

    I seem to recall a discussion about tortilla back on the Baking Circle. Mrs. Cindy was adamant that tortilla should be rolled out by hand.

    I rolled mine with a small rolling pin that came with a ravioli form (a form that I have yet to use, but hey, what is retirement for?). That little rolling pin is my go-to for making tart crusts as well as various small flat breads.

    Mike Nolan

    A friend of mine was making tortellini yesterday, they looked great, he is a very precise cook.

    Mike Nolan

    When I took the course on making steamed dumplings, we rolled them out using a small dowel. The instructor was making almost perfectly round ones, she had obviously had a lot of practice at it. The good news is that the not-quite-round ones taste just as good.


    I find it the same as rolling out a pie crust.

    The King Arthur recipe called for lukewarm water. The Bittman recipe called for boiling water. I note that Italian Cook's mother-in-law's recipe calls for HOT water. I know, due to a King Arthur flatbread recipe that boiling water has an effect on flour. That might be key.

    A Mexican restaurant chain, Rosa's, that I often visited with friends when I lived in Lubbock, had a tortilla making machine that patrons could watch while standing in line to order. It did indeed have puffed up tortillas. Those tortillas were thick and good.


    S'mores pizza! Violet will love that! How did you make sure the pizza didn't stick to the grill?

    Mike Nolan

    Sticking wasn't a problem at all, the grill was at about 400 degrees, I just slid the dough off the peel (dusted with semolina so the dough moved around easily) onto the grill, and in about a minute it was set up enough on the bottom to move around with tongs and pick it up to see how it was cooking.

    The dough is a bit sticky when you start to shape it, but you keep dusting it with semolina as you work it. I think the semolina also adds a little crunch to the crust, I often add it to other pizza crust recipes.

    With some grill styles you might need to put a little oil on the grill, but our new Napoleon grill has fairly wide grill surfaces with an 'S' shape.. I was a little worried the first time I made burgers that they might crumble and fall through the openings, but that hasn't been a problem. I use 80% lean meat when doing burgers on the grill, a lower fat content meat might be more crumbly.

    After you grill the bottom for 2-3 minutes and it starts to develop some dark spots (some sites call them 'leopard spots'), you take it off, flip it over, put the toppings on the now-grilled surface and then put it back on the grill to cook the other side.

    I probably put too much toppings on the savory pizza (I often do), and there's a lot of the toppings left over since I was originally planning two savory pizzas but Diane suggested the dessert pizza, an excellent idea!

    For the dessert pizza, I spread a little butter on the surface before dusting it with cinnamon/brown sugar, saving a little of that to put on top of the bananas. The marshmallows were cut into 4 pieces and didn't puff up a lot, though several of them had some nice brown areas on them.

    We liked both the savory pizza and the dessert pizza, and one batch of dough makes enough for the two of us, possibly with a piece or two left over. (There weren't any leftovers last night, but I was HUNGRY by the time the pizzas came off the grill.)

    We'll definitely make pizzas on the grill again, but it probably won't be an every-week thing, and not in cold weather. The dough should work indoors as well, I'd be tempted to do them in a cast iron pan on the stove rather than in the oven, I suspect it'd be more like the outdoor grill. Might need a lid on the pan, though.

    Mike Nolan

    Boiling water would gelatinize some of the starch in the flour, similar to how tangzhong bread works.


    Will has been making tortillas (I missed them while he was gone) He found a video on YouTube with a woman who was making them traditionally. He rolls them out on our kitchen counter - flour all over the counter - with my long French-style rolling pin. He cooks them on the Baking Steel. He has gotten quite good at it.


    Those pizzas look great, Mike!


    I made pizza last night. I used bread flour to roll out the rounds and then, per suggestions here, I used semolina on my metal peel. The semolina works great for sliding the pizza off the peel! Thank you. It does not work well for rolling out the dough. So I need both or I use a ton of flour on the peel and it transfers to the pizza. I use much less semolina and I kept it off the floor.

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    Mike Nolan

    I often put semolina in pizza dough, so using it when rolling out the dough for the grilled pizza wasn't a problem for me, even though a fair amount of it wound up being incorporated into the pizza dough.

    Joan Simpson

    Aaron your pizzas look nice too!


    Thanks Mike. Thanks Joan.

    Mike - what's your dough hydration? My pizza dough is about 75% right now. Bread flour has worked the best so far.

    I did try semolina a couple of times but my family was not thrilled with it. That was a while ago and it is fun to try new things every now and then. But most times they do not want me to mess with the basics.

    I personally like provolone or fontal cheese with mozzarella, for example, but I am the only one... My last experiment was using aioli under the sauce to give a strong garlic taste. Everyone liked that.

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