To make homemade tortillas, you need just one ingredient: masa harina (masa flour). This special type of corn flour is widely available sold under the brand name Maseca. I've started using organic masa harina sold by Bob's Red Mill. For any brand, it's important to let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the flour to fully hydrate for the easiest handling and shaping. Have fun making these with the kids! Your first tortillas will be good and will get even better with practice.
Whisk the masa harina with the salt in a mixing bowl. Add the water and stir to blend completely, then knead lightly using your hands to make a stiff but moist dough. If the dough feels crumbly and dry, add another tablespoon of water at a time. When mixed the dough will be easy to shape and will not stick to your hands, a lot like play-dough.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes for best results. Then, divide the dough into 12 equal balls (about 2 ounces each) and keep them covered while you work with one ball at a time.
Preheat a griddle, cast iron if you have one, over medium-low heat before you begin making the tortillas. Have a plate lined with a cloth napkin on hand to keep finished tortillas warm.
Line the tortilla press with 2 squares of thick plastic. (I use 2 pint-sized ziplock bags, one for the bottom and one for the top and then I reuse them over and over.) Place a masa dough ball in the center of the press and flatten it gently into a very thin circle about 6 inches wide.
Open the press and gently lift off the top piece of plastic. Flip the tortilla over into your hand and carefully peel off the bottom plastic. (If it tears on your first try or two, you can always reform the ball and try again--no harm done.) Flip the tortilla from your palm onto the griddle. Repeat with another ball of dough while the first one cooks.
Have two squares of thick plastic and a clear square baking dish on hand. (I use 2 pint-sized ziplock bags that I reuse over and over.) Place one piece of plastic on the counter and center a masa dough ball on top. Place the second piece of plastic over it. Center the baking dish over the dough ball and gently press down to flatten it into a very thin circle about 6 inches thick.
Lift off the baking dish and set is aside. Gently peel off the top piece of plastic. Flip the tortilla over into your hand and carefully peel off the bottom plastic. (If it tears on your first try or two, you can always reform the ball and try again--no harm done.) Flip the tortilla from your palm onto the griddle. Repeat with another ball of dough while the first one cooks.
Cook the tortillas for about 1 minute on the first side, then flip and cook for about 1 minute more. Flip a second time for about 20 seconds and then transfer it to the napkin-lined plate. Cover to keep warm while you repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Homemade tortillas are best when freshly made, but you can reheat them on a hot griddle. Or, fry them in hot vegetable oil until crisp to make homemade tostadas.