A tortilla press is a simple machine that is hand operated and used to flatten out dough.
The machine consists of two plates where the dough is placed in between each one. Then a handle that used to work the press.
Tortilla presses are less common in the United States but can be found in almost every household in Latin American countries.
Not only do they work for making a tortilla but also many varieties of flatbread.
Although tortilla presses don’t do much other than shape and flatten dough.
The amount of work that they do actually simplifies tortilla making significantly.
Here is why I think anyone who wants to make homemade tortillas should seriously consider buying a tortilla press.
Is A Tortilla Press Worth It?
First of all buying a tortilla press is not that big of an investment. You shouldn’t have to save up and buy one as they are pretty inexpensive
A decent press is going to cost anywhere from 30 to 50 dollars. With the most expensive one costing about $79.99.
So how else do you determine if a tortilla press is really worth it?
A tortilla press is going to be worth it for someone who frequently makes homemade tortillas. As well as any commercial kitchen making its own tortillas from scratch.
The easiest way to know if a tortilla press is worth buying. Is to figure out how often you really are going to make homemade tortillas.
Also when you do make them how many tortillas will you possibly want or need.
It is important to note that tortilla presses are actually designed for corn tortillas only.
You can still make flour tortillas using a press but it requires some extra steps. These steps are necessary only because with flour tortillas, the dough is a lot stickier.
Tortilla presses were designed for a reason. That is to make consistent tortillas quickly and easily.
Consider The Alternative
Even with that said if you don’t plan I’m making tortillas that often a tortilla press can still be worth it, here’s why.
Making homemade tortillas without a press. Involves rolling out the dough into nearly perfect circles.
Not only can this be harder than it seems. Rolling out the dough by hand takes longer.
You can watch some YouTube videos of people doing it and get the feeling that it’s easy. But this actually takes a lot of experience.
Something that you won’t gain if you don’t practice frequently. Making homemade tortillas once a year is not enough to develop the technique and skill required.
More often than not these skills are learned and passed down to other generations.
Not saying that you won’t be a natural and I do think it’s more fun to hand roll tortillas. It’s just something to consider the alternative to a tortilla press.
Why You Should Buy A Tortilla Press
So if you have determined that a tortilla press is worth it for you. Or maybe you’re still on the fence.
Here are a few of the best reasons to buy a tortilla press.
Number one is once you have it towards your press you will probably make homemade tortillas more often. Reason I say that this is good is because homemade tortillas can be healthier and cheaper than store-bought brands..
Tortillas can contain preservatives or unhealthy fillers. Along with the possibility of being recalled due to contamination.
Tortillas aren’t very expensive, usually for about 3 to 4 bucks you can get a pack of 10. But homemade tortillas are even cheaper.
The only ingredients you need are flour, salt, baking powder and fat (shortening, lard or vegetable oil).
Corn Tortillas are equally as easy to make, they just require a special dough. Called masa harina, this is a unique flour made by soaking corn in limewater.
These ingredients usually have a long shelf life and are inexpensive. So you can make a lot more tortillas for a fraction of the cost compared to store brands.
Another reason is that tortilla presses don’t take up a lot of room. They are very small in size, the biggest ones measuring about 8 inches diameter. And they are not very tall.
So even if you don’t use it a lot, your press won’t be taking up much shelf space. It’s easy to store and tuck away.
Tortilla presses can weigh between 3 and 8 pounds. Cast iron presses weigh considerably more but this can be a good thing, more on that later.
Other Uses For A Tortilla Press
Tortilla presses can be used to make other types of food as well. So you might get more use out of it than you originally thought.
When I say other types of food I mean ones that are made with dough. Basically most breads that are similar to tortillas.
The dough that you can press includes dough for pizzas, pies, dumplings, egg rolls and flatbreads.
You can actually use a tortilla press for hamburger patties as well. Just simply roll out the hamburger beef into a ball with your hand.
The same way you normally do for hamburgers. Place it on the press and you will end up with a well rounded and thinner patty.
There is also one other food that you can use with the tortilla press. This one will almost guarantee that your press will pay for itself.
If you bake cookies frequently, then I’m happy to tell you that using tortilla press can be a game changer.
I found a chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses a tortilla press to make large flat cookies. You can check out the recipe here.
How To Use A Tortilla Press
Unlike rolling tortilla dough, using a press is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is after you prepare the dough.
Determine how much toe you are going to use for each tortilla. Use your hand and make a dough ball.
And place the dough ball on the press. Operate the handle and close the top plate on top of the dough. And press two plates together and flatten the dough out.
Each tortilla that you press will be the same thickness.
There are of course extra tips you should know that make using its tortilla press even easier.
Because despite how common and well these presses work. There are minor issues that people run into when using a tortilla press.
Such as the dough sticking to the plates or uneven thickness when pressing.
First issue is easy to address and you can find simple solutions online. Most involved using a plastic bag ziplock back or parchment paper to reduce dough sticking.
Most common that I found was the plastic bag method. This involves cutting a plastic bag along the outside so that it can fold open.
Lay the bag over the two press plates, this creates a barrier between the dough and the plates. This makes removing the dough a lot easier.
The other issue is a little more complicated and is why you should get a well-made tortilla press.
A good tortilla press shouldn’t create uneven tortilla thickness. I was able to find the best ones online that don’t have this issue.
Use Straight From The Box
Tortilla presses are easy to assemble. Cast iron presses are usually already seasoned. So other than the assembly you start using one straight out of the box.
So if you are ready to buy your first tortilla press. I sincerely hope this guide has helped you understand why not only myself but many people around the world find tortilla presses to be such an awesome cooking tool.
Below I will recommend the most popular presses online. Along with letting you know what makes a good tortilla press, so you can ultimately decide for yourself.
What To Look For In A Tortilla Press
Shopping for a tortilla press isn’t overly complicated. There aren’t different designs leaving you to wonder which one works better. Every tortilla press is built basically the same way.
There are only a few things that differentiate between tortilla presses. That is the size, material (metal type or a wooden) and the finish.
Finish can be important but you won’t find a lot of brands mentioning how they’re tortilla presses or finished. The different finishes are silver coated, powder coated and unfinished.
Here is how you can tell the finishes apart. Silver coated finish has a spotted and flaky appearance. Powder coated is smoother to the touch and is darker in color. Unfinished is just an unpainted surface, which can be more prone to rusting.
To be honest I wouldn’t worry too much about the finish as I think it just complicates the shopping.
There are two types of metal tortilla press. Cast iron and cast aluminum. Then there are wooden tortilla presses.
The wooden ones are very bulky and take up a lot of room. Although I think they’re authentic and cool it’s not something most people will want in their kitchen.
Below is a table to help explain the pros and cons of each tortilla press type.
Metal Type Pro’s and Con’s
|Cast Iron||Cast Aluminum|
|Pro’s||Stronger, Can Be Seasoned, Does The Work For You||Cheaper, Lightweight|
|Con’s||Heavier, More Expensive||Less Durable, Can’t Be Seasoned, More Prone To Uneven Presses, Requires Extra Force/|
Overall I know cast Iron presses are higher quality. If you want to try out a tortilla press for less money. Then you can start with aluminum.
If you don’t plan on making a lot of tortilla’s and you aren’t aiming for perfection. Aluminum is cheaper and will do the job good enough.
Commercial kitchens should use a heavy duty metal press. Since they will possibly be using the press more repeatedly.
When you want to really perfect tortilla’s and plan to make them often. Then it’s worth investing into a nicer higher quality press.
Hands down the cast iron tortilla presses are the better of the two.
As far as size goes one is not better than the other. I personally go for the bigger ones. Because I think it gives you more to work with. I also like to make use and make bigger tortillas.
I would recommend a 7.5 or 8 inch tortilla press.
Recommended Tortilla Press
Hands down the best tortilla press is the Victoria 8 inch. This press results in even thickness and can withstand repeated use. Here is more on why this tortilla press stands out.
Victoria 8 Inch Cast Iron Tortilla Press
Victoria in case you didn’t know is a big name brand. They have been making tortilla presses in Colombia since 1986. So you pay a premium for the name, but the quality stands out.
If you are interested you can take a look at the Victoria 8 Tortilla Press on Amazon here.
This press is cast iron and comes pre-seasoned with flax seed oil. You don’t have to reason it. These I would almost guarantee this brand is used in many restaurants.