Corn tortillas are generally loved for their versatility and health benefits. So, we’d certainly understand that you’d want to make some at home or incorporate them into your diet. But sometimes, you find that your tortillas fall apart just before you use them or afterward. So, keep reading to find out how to keep corn tortillas from falling apart and what you can do to stop it!
One of the significant reasons corn tortillas break or fall apart is if they aren’t warm enough. Once the corn tortilla is not used for a long time and becomes stale, it begins to break and fall apart. Corn tortillas are naturally wheat-free and contain a relatively small amount of fat. So, if the tortillas become cold or dry, they will start to break because the fat can’t fuse anymore.
This is why most restaurants serve fresh and warm corn tortillas by wrapping them in aluminum foil or putting them in a unique container. It is not only done to give you a crispy taste but also to keep corn tortillas from falling apart.
Why do my corn tortillas fall apart?
The main reason your corn tortillas fall apart is that they have become cold. When corn tortillas are no longer warm, they would have lost their moisture content, making them hard and falling apart. To prevent this, you can either wrap them in a damp kitchen towel and place them in a microwave or steam them above boiling water.
Another reason your corn tortillas fall apart is because they are not pressed thin enough. When you make your corn tortillas, make sure you press them thinly using a tortilla press to prevent thickness. Once your corn tortilla is thick, it won’t be easily folded into two during usage.
How to make corn tortillas that won’t fall apart
You might have been making corn tortillas by yourself or getting them from stores, but you keep experiencing the same problem—they fall apart.
If you want to make and keep corn tortillas from falling apart, here’s how:
You’ll toast each corn tortilla till it has brown spots, then place it in a tortilla warmer to keep it covered. This will make the corn tortillas retain warmth and flexibility.
The heat gotten from placing them in a tortilla warmer will prevent them from becoming cold when opening or closing them. Hence, your corn tortillas won’t fall apart.
How to heat corn tortillas, so they don’t break
It’s crucial to retain your corn tortilla’s warmth and moisture content. However, the heat applied to corn tortillas must not be too much as this can make them lose their moisture content and become hard. As a result of this, they fall apart.
If you want to heat corn tortillas so they don’t break, you wrap them in a kitchen towel dampened with warm water and then place them in a microwave for about 1 minute. When you do this, they won’t break when heated.
Below are some of the ways to keep corn tortillas from falling apart:
Keep corn tortillas warm
As stated earlier, one way to keep corn tortillas from falling apart is to keep them warm. Corn tortillas become stiff and are likely to break when they are cold.
They become more flexible when you heat them a little bit before rolling. For example, on each side, you can heat your corn tortillas on a dry grill or cast-iron skillet for less than a minute.
Retain the moisture
Another way of keeping corn tortillas from falling apart is by retaining the moisture. Corn tortillas lose their moisture and dry out quickly when they have been held for a few days without usage, which can lead to breakage.
You can retain the moisture level of your corn tortillas by wrapping them in a damp towel or aluminum foil and heating them in a microwave. You can also use a steamer, tortilla warmer, dry pan, or a skillet in the absence of a microwave.
Add tortilla sauce to your corn tortillas
One of the ways to prevent your corn tortillas from falling apart is by adding the sauce. The sauce will help moisten your corn tortillas and cover any small cracks.
If it’s been a while since you made your corn tortillas and you are worried about how stale they would have become and if they can still be used, adding tortilla sauce is a good way of using them.
Make sure your corn tortillas are pressed thin
If you want to prevent breakage in your corn tortillas, make sure you press them thin after making them. Corn tortillas tend to fall apart when they are too thick, while the thin tortillas fold easier.
You can use a tortilla press to press your corn tortilla thin. If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use parchment paper and a rolling pin.
Steam your corn tortillas above hot water
If your corn tortillas are already dry, one of the ways to prevent them from breaking is to steam them above boiling water. First, you’ll need to boil water and wait for a few minutes. Then, when the water starts boiling, you hold your corn tortillas above the steam to add some water.
If you don’t store your corn tortillas properly, they can quickly dry out, become difficult to separate and fall apart. However, you can soften hard corn tortillas by wrapping them in kitchen towels dampened with warm water and microwaving them at a high temperature for about 10 seconds.
When this is done, it prevents them from cracking when you fold them in half during usage.
Do you refrigerate fresh corn tortillas?
Yes, you can refrigerate fresh corn tortillas. However, the perishability of corn tortillas depends on how much slake lime was used to make them.
Corn tortillas usually last for about 1-3 weeks, but it’s possible to preserve the taste and quality of corn tortillas 3 to 4 times longer when you refrigerate them. This way, it’s easier for you to cook them in bulk and consume them over a long time.
If you want to make enchiladas, having a hard corn tortilla is not advisable because you won’t get the authentic delicacy you want. Instead, it’s better to use a soft corn tortilla when making enchiladas.
Below are some of the best ways to prepare corn tortillas that will be suitable for your enchiladas:
Make use of your microwave
Many people don’t know you can make soft corn tortillas using your oven or microwave. All you need to do is to place your corn tortilla on a microwaveable plate and place it in your microwave.
Heat it for about 12-30 seconds. After this time, your corn tortilla will be soft enough for enchiladas.
However, if you don’t have a microwave, you can also place it in an oven and preheat it till it attains a temperature of about 375°. Afterward, rub your corn tortilla with oil and put it on a baking sheet to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Finally, you have your soft corn tortilla for enchiladas.
It’s not advisable to use aluminum foil because it will make the temperature of the corn tortilla’s surface uneven, thus spoiling it.
Make use of an iron skillet
In case of circumstances where you don’t have an oven or a microwave, you can also use an iron skillet to make a soft corn tortilla for your enchiladas.
Iron skillets are heavier, and they distribute heat better. So first, heat the iron skillet for a while, then apply some oil to your corn tortilla. Then, place it on the heated skillet for about 1 to 2 minutes, but ensure you’re flipping it every 20-30 seconds. After 2 minutes, your soft corn tortilla is ready for your enchiladas.
The only problem you can encounter when using an iron skillet is that you have to heat your corn tortillas one after the other, which will take a lot of time.
Making use of water
Using water to soften your corn tortillas for enchiladas might sound weird. However, this method is for people who don’t like oil.
All you need to do is rub the surface of your corn tortillas with water but ensure you don’t add too much water to prevent them from falling apart. After that, cover corn tortillas with wax paper to prevent them from getting mashed.
Then, place them in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. Finally, carefully remove the wax paper with thongs and have your soft corn tortilla for enchiladas.
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I write about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. I also talk about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things