For fresh corn tortillas, James Beard Award–winning cookbook author and former New Mexico Magazine contributing food editor Cheryl Alters Jamison recommends using tortilla-grind masa harina, or the finest grind a market sells. In this recipe, published in December 2013, she says that most cooks prefer to flatten the dough with an inexpensive tortilla press. These tortillas are best eaten fresh from the comal (a flat griddle).

2 cups fine-ground white or yellow masa harina (a type of corn flour)

½ teaspoon salt

1¼ cups warm water, or more as needed

Makes a dozen 5- to 6-inch tortillas

  1. Mix ingredients with hands until dough is smooth—it should be quite moist but still hold its shape. Add a little more water or masa harina if needed to achieve proper consistency.
  2. Form dough into 12 balls about 1½ inches in diameter. If not making tortillas immediately, cover balls with plastic wrap.
  3. Heat dry griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Place a ball of dough in the tortilla press between 2 sheets of plastic (sometimes sold with the press) or use a pair of sandwich- or quart-size plastic bags. Press ball until flattened to desired thickness, generally about ⅛ inch.
  5. Carefully pull plastic from the round of dough and lay dough on hot griddle or comal. Cook tortilla 30 seconds, flip and cook for 1 minute on the other side, then flip it again to cook the first side another 30 seconds. Tortilla will be speckled with brown flecks.
  6. Cover cooked tortillas to keep them warm while remaining balls of dough are shaped and cooked. Serve warm in basket with butter, chile, or salsa, or reserve for another dish.

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