A tortilla press, also known as a “tortilladora” in Mexico, is a metal or wooden tool used to make corn tortillas. Its parts are a base, top and a handle. Tortillas are made in tortilla press by placing balls of masa (dough) at the center of the press and then applying pressure with which the ball is flattened into a flat round tortilla. Only corn tortillas are made with tortilla press, whereas flour tortillas are made usually with wooden rolling pin.
As recommended by star chef, Rick Bayless, a cast iron tortilla press is the best for making fresh tortillas. The basic advantage of a cast iron press is its leverage and weight due to which your pressing job becomes a bit easier. If you need to make several tortillas frequently, a cast iron tortilla press is ideal. But remember that due to its weight, it may be difficult to lift it and move it around.
A tortilla press typically ranges in sizes from 6” to 8”.
A typical Mexican tortilla press has a silver coating which is usually applied “crudely”. Its purpose is to prevent rusting of the cast iron. This coating gives a rustic Mexican feel and is fun. It also tends to be less costly.
This is actually an electrostatic applied finish. It is smoother to touch but more important than that is that it doesn’t flake like silver coating.
Uncoated tortilla presses have now been offered by some manufacturers. They have a light seal coat but no painted surface. This is good when you don’t wish to have painted coating. These presses should never be soaked in water and should be always dried well before storing. Otherwise they will rust.
If you find cast iron press heavier to lift and move around, an alternative is an aluminum tortilla press. However, remember that you’ll have to press much harder. Also, too much pressure may break the press soon.
A wooden tortilla press has in general a larger footprint than cast iron presses. They are commonly used in Mexico to make tortillas and empanadas. A wooden press made from solid blocks of hard mesquite wood is durable while those made with the soft pine wood are not.
A shortfall of wooden press is that they are more crudely made. Also their hinges and bolts are made of steel and are prone to rust. Also, as said earlier, this type of press is quite bulky and occupies a lot of space.
Electric tortilla presses are also available which bake the tortillas too, though you have to press them.
So, which tortilla press are you going to choose?
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