Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas
Tortillas or chapati? I struggled with naming this recipe. In our family, they are chapati – the whole wheat flatbreads rolled out by millions of Indian mothers and grandmothers on a daily basis. But they are also whole wheat tortillas, and that’s what you probably know them as. They’re totally interchangeable, the recipe is the same.
Whatever you call them, they’re quick and easy, and just as perfect for wrapping up leftovers into a portable lunch, conducting fajita toppings, or scooping up scrambled eggs as they are for pinching bites of chickpea curry. And they’re much healthier than store-bought tortillas, which are mostly laden with preservatives and additives.
This makes a big batch (maybe about 2 dozen) and we always stash leftovers in the freezer. To reheat, I just hold them directly over the gas burner for a few seconds on each side using tongs. They’re warm, soft and flame-kissed in an instant.
Mine aren’t perfect circles, as you may have noticed. This is because my 3-year-old loves to stand on a chair and help me flatten and roll the dough balls. And also because speed is more important to me than perfection.
Note that we’re cooking quickly over high heat, so unless you’re well-practiced, it’s best to have all your circles rolled out before you start cooking to avoid accidentally burning some.
This makes a big batch – you can either roll out what you need today and roll out some more fresh tomorrow, or cook them all and freeze what you don’t use. If freezing, place between sheets of waxed paper or freeze in a single layer on a large baking sheet first (so you can easily separate them) then seal in a large freezer bag.
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour plus more for rolling
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil like canola or sunflower
- 1 2/3 cups warm water approximately
- In a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook/kneading attachment, stir together flours and salt on low speed. Add the oil and enough warm water so that the dough comes together in a smooth ball. It is right when it sticks a bit to the bottom of the bowl but releases from the sides. (If you make it too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time). Once the dough forms, reduce mixer speed to low to knead for 10 minutes.
- Cover bowl and let dough rest 20 minutes at room temperature (or up to three days in the fridge) . Flour a clean work surface, then pinch of pieces of dough about the size of a golf ball. Preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Roll chapatis into flat circles with a rolling pin on a floured surface (flouring the surface well is key to making proper circles, if you're inclined).
- When skillet is very hot, add a tortilla/chapati. Cook until bottom has lost most of its sheen, is a bit bubbly and perhaps lightly charred in a few spots (30-90 seconds, depending on how hot your skillet is), then flip and cook about 15 seconds more. You want them to appear slightly under-done (still have a bit of sheen) and remain soft. As they cook, transfer to a plate and cover with a clean towel.