I have just returned from Mexico. It took me 15 minutes to get home. Let me explain.
La Tortilleria is a tiny, authentic tortilla factory in an industrial part of Kensington. It’s owned and run by the lovely Gerardo and Diana, who are passionate about the real way to make tortillas – from wholegrain corn rather than corn flour. Diana knows what she’s doing – she’s previously worked in a tortilleria in Mexico.
The way to make real tortillas is called nixtamal and, save for the machinery involved, hasn’t changed since Aztec times. Most modern tortillerias (and according to Diana, all other tortillerias in Melbourne) use processed flour, which is kind of like using instant coffee powder to make coffee. At La Tortilleria, the process starts the night before with non-GMO Australian corn that’s soaked in a calcium solution. This helps the corn to release nutrients such as niacin (vitamin B3) and become more digestible.
The next morning it’s ground in a stone grinder to create the masa or dough. Other tortillerias start here, by mixing the prepared corn flour with water. As I understood it, that’s like instant coffee made with coffee powder…versus using freshly-ground beans and the resultant shot that’s just streets ahead. It also means that La Tortilleria’s tortillas are 100% preservative and additive free.