Makes 2 dozen tortillas


  • 4 cups dried blue corn (Paloma prefers New Mexico blue corn from Masienda)
  • 1–1 1/4 tablespoon calcium hydroxide (aka pickling lime or Cal Mexicana)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Special Equipment

  • Manual grain grinder, such as a Victoria grinder available on Amazon
  • Tortilla press, preferably cast iron
  • Ziploc freezer bag, cut in half along the sides

Thoroughly rinse the blue corn in a colander. Next, add the rinsed kernels to a large pot and fill with water until about two inches above the corn. (It is best to use a non-reactive pot when using calcium hydroxide.) Skim off any floating hulls and stir in the calcium hydroxide. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a very low simmer and cook for two hours until kernels are al dente. Dump the nixtamalized kernels into a colander and rinse thoroughly, using your hands to carefully slough off much—but not all—of the bran.

Set the hand grinder to the setting for a fine grind. Adding a cup at a time, crank the nixtamal through the grinder. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt onto the dough and knead the masa, adding water a little at a time as needed, until the consistency feels like Play-doh—smooth and springy but not sticky or gummy.

Preheat griddle/cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Line bottom of tortilla press with one of the plastic sheets. (These can be reused; just wipe them off after each use.) Roll dough into golf ball sized rounds. Place individually in center of press, place other plastic sheet on top, and bring the top of the press down over the dough, gently pressing until a beautiful flat tortilla forms.

Peel off the plastic and place tortilla on a hot, dry griddle. Once you can move the tortilla freely with your fingertips or a spatula (about 10 seconds) flip and cook about 1 minute or so, then flip again and cook for another minute or until light brown spots begin to form. Continue cooking tortillas until all the masa is used, keeping them warm in a kitchen towel or tortilla warmer.


Read Pressing Matters by Candolin Cook

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