Honduran Baleadas: Flour Tortillas

18 Jan

Maria, who I introduced you to last week, invited me over this week to join her as she was making one of Honduras’s most popular foods, baleadas!  I’d never tried them before so for me this was a treat!  A thick flour tortilla folded in half and filled (traditionally) with mashed fried beans fresh crumbled cheese and crema (both of which she remembers making herself growing up).  The heart of the meal — it’s flour tortilla — is a meal mainstay which, once learned, can be used in making enchiladas, quesadillas and many other favorites to be added to a preparedness plan.

Once again, I decided to use a few videos to better capture the techniques she uses and once again (in addition to a recipe) I came away learning some great “other” ideas in self sufficiency.  For example…do you know how to keep a pot of beans fresh for days on end even without refrigeration, meaning that you don’t have to throw anything away or waste your resources cooking new beans every day?  Maria knows this trick and shares it with us today. 

I love the simplified solutions in cooking she’s been taught (as well as some she’s come up with on her own) — these ideas fit perfectly with the self reliant “do it with less” mindset we’re looking to learn from and I’m so glad she’s been willing to share.***

Ingredients:

Flour Tortillas

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**Note:  On this day Maria was making a very large batch of tortillas, double the amount she usually makes.  Because of this, I’ve listed the ingredients as she used them here alongside the ingredient amounts for an average recipe listed in parenthesis.

10 cups flour (4-5 cups)

1 1/2 TBS baking powder (1 1/2 tsp)

1 TBS salt (1 1/2 tsp)

2/3 cup oil (1/3 cup) *see note

2 cups cold water (1 cup)

Begin by mixing together flour, salt and baking powder.  Mix together well.

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Make a well in the flour mix and add one egg.

{Note from Megan:  *egg powder has been successful in all kinds of doughs I’ve tried, I’ve yet to find one it doesn’t work in.  I’m confident this would be an easy food storable swap to make here as well.} 

Also add in the oil and a little of the water (not all of it).

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Using clean hands, mix the dough with quick motions adding in just enough water until the dough (while still very sticky) begins to pull away from the bowl.  From her experience, mixing the dough quickly makes a difference in the consistency of the dough.  If you mix slowly you’ll end up needing to add extra ingredients to get it right.

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At this point, prepare a clean working surface by dusting with flour.  Turn the dough onto the surface and begin kneading and stretching it.

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To get the dough off her mixing hand, Maria uses a little oil, rubs her hands together and it scrubs right off.  Back it goes into the dough itself, conserving water and other resources otherwise needed to rid hands of sticky dough.

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Continue kneading and stretching for another minute or so.

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About half way through, spread the dough out flat and use your hand to spread it with a little oil.

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Fold it over and go back to kneading it.

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If you see it sticking to the surface just add a little flour to fix the stickiness.

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In total, the dough was kneaded for about 8-10 minutes.  You’ll notice the dough is ready as it changes to become more smooth and elastic.

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Once the dough is finished you’ll shape the dough balls which will become the tortillas.  In forming the dough balls you’ll use oil on your hands, so to keep it simple you can have a small bowl of oil to work from.

This next picture is added as a tip, something I hadn’t thought of.  Here you see she’s simply poked a couple of holes in the metal sealing of the oil container rather than pulling it off completely.  How many times in large containers do you (or your kids) accidentally pour too much of things like this (or spill them) and the product goes to waste?   This is a good way to help that from happening.

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Okay, so back to forming the dough balls.  The process of doing this has a specific motion and purpose, so I video taped her making some so you could see it for yourself.  In short though, using both hands you’ll pull the dough into a bowl shape, repeat on the opposite side and then close at the top.

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Once all finished, these then need to rest for 20 minutes.

Additionally, they can also be made ahead – even a day ahead, refrigeration or not, but if making ahead you’ll need to add a little oil over the top of each dough ball before covering with a towel to keep them from drying out.  When ready to use, if made the day before, you’ll also most likely also need to again add oil to them once again before pressing into tortillas.

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While waiting for the dough to rest, Maria prepares the fried beans.  I don’t know about you, (and maybe it’s just because our family doesn’t eat beans with our son’s allergy so I don’t make them) but I never really thought about making refried beans from whole beans.  Refried beans, and this is terrible to admit, come from a can in my mind.  These beans had been left over from a meal Maria had made previously in the week and she simply jazzed them up in a blender and fried them in hot oil.  This is a great idea for those of you who have beans in your plans, a way to use them in a little different form.  Of course you could also mash them if you don’t have the convenience of a blender available.

Also, to keep a pot of beans fresh for days on end without electricity (and this was news to me) simply re-boil the pot of beans once a day until the beans are used up.  It works great, Maria tells me, and if you made too much you don’t end up having to throw anything away.

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She allows the beans to boil hard for most of the time while we’re waiting for the dough, so 15 minutes, stirring and scraping up the cooked beans until the beans are thick yet spreadable.

In preparing the griddle to cook the tortillas, she explains that flour tortillas are much more apt to burn than corn tortillas.  The temperature is very important, so once again, as with the corn tortillas, she heats the pan until it’s hot enough that holding her hand an inch above it is uncomfortable.  Next, she wipes the griddle with oil.  If the oil begins to smoke it’s too hot but it needs to be just under the point of smoking.  The oil smokes once, and for this the griddle needs to be wiped clean of any browned oil, the temperature lowered (just a tad) and the cooler griddle oiled once again.

Once the dough has rested and the griddle is at the right temperature, she’s ready to press them into tortillas.  She uses a plate to press them on using a similar style as with the corn tortillas, following the sides of the plate to form into rounds.  Here’s a video explanation:

Once formed, and placed on the hot grill they’ll cook on three sides, similar to the corn tortillas, and again you’ll see them “puff” when they’re finished.

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Kept warm until ready to eat.

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To make the traditional baleadas, the beans, cheese and crema are added (along with a slice of avocado) and the tortilla is folded in half.

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One of the perks of the job (haha)…and it’s delicious!!

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes:

  • Here’s another smart idea I learned in this visit: when cooking anything which has the potential for a mess, Maria will completely cover her cooking space with foil ahead of time.  In this case it was in preparation for the boiling beans which had a tendency to splatter.  Thinking of this, how smart it would be to think ahead and cover a cook space in this way if one is trying to conserve energy and water.  A couple lengths of foil in exchange for not having to scrub a large area like this.

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  • Finally, I wanted to share with you the details on the specific cheese she used here in case anyone wants to try the full traditional recipe.  She bought both at a local grocer who specializes in a larger selection of hispanic and central american foods.  The crumbled cheese is called Queso Salvadorena, and the crema, most authentically is called Montequilla Hondurena but the one she has here is Crema Salvadorena.  Each country has it’s own style of cheese, as indicated by the names of them, these are the ones she prefers from what she’s found available here in the states.

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7 Responses to “Honduran Baleadas: Flour Tortillas”

  1. Kelly Albertson January 18, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    Oh my goodness!! I participated in a short term mission trip to St. Helene, Honduras back in 2000. Helene isn’t on most maps I’ve seen, but is a itsy bitsy, maybe 1 or 1.5 sq. mile island off the island of Roatan. At the end of our stay, I made a list of all the food we ate at the mission. Wasn’t sure what I’d do with it, but it’s still in my Bible after all these years. And on the list is…. balliatas! I see now that I spelled it wrong, however, lol. It’s nice to see what they are because I really couldn’t remember anything about them now.
    But I know we had some GOOD food and AWESOME coffee there!

    It is amazing to see this post. I will look for the right cheese, or a ‘close’ cheese perhaps to try these out again.

    Many thanks!
    Kel

    • Megan January 18, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

      I’m so happy that you found this post! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Dary Hernandez January 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your recipes in such a clear way! Pictures and test was great!!

    Dary

    • Megan January 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

      Glad to hear it! Thanks!

  3. ldswoman January 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    I can’t seem to get the videos to show themselves.

    >________________________________ > From: My Food Storage Cookbook >To: ldswoman@yahoo.com >Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2014 8:00 PM >Subject: [New post] Honduran Baleadas: Flour Tortillas > > > > WordPress.com >Megan posted: “Maria, who I introduced you to last week, invited me over this week to join her as she was making one of Honduras’s most popular foods, Baleadas! I’d never tried them before so for me this was a treat! A thick flour tortilla folded in half and filled (t” >

    • Megan January 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      I don’t know, but just a guess, if you’re reading it from your email subscription the videos won’t play from there so you’ll need to jump over to the blog itself. If that’s not the case let me know so I can figure out if there’s a problem.

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  1. Weeks 11 & 12 Winners + Recipes | My Food Storage Cookbook - May 3, 2014

    […] 14– Flour Tortillas […]

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