When you find a Mexican recipe book you had forgotten you had, you’ve decided to avoid bread as much as possible, and prices of store-bought alternatives are rather ridiculous, it’s obvious that the universe is trying to tell you something. In this case, the universe practically yelled “Make your own wraps!”
Why Mexican? A wrap is basically a flour tortilla (as opposed to the more traditional corn tortilla) which is also regularly made in parts of Mexico. The technique is essentially the same, and the book included recipes for both. These are ridiculously easy to make, the two things you actually require most are (a) time and (b) dough-rolling strength (being the strength required to roll dough with a rolling-pin till it is paper thin). Some tips first:
- Wholewheat flour makes a superb wrap, with a much nicer taste and texture than plain/all purpose flour.
- The resting time of the dough is one of the two essential elements for success. After kneading, leave the plastic-covered balls for at least one hour before flattening to roll.
- The second essential element is to keep your board and rolling pin well floured at all times. The dough must be rolled paper-thin and tears very easily if it sticks (and sticks very easily if given even half a chance).
- The pan must be hot, but not scorching. I have found that I do the first 2 -3 wraps on high (6) and then turn the plate down as I go, with the last wraps being made on medium (4).
For 12 super-simple healthy wraps all you need is: Ingredients:
3 cups of wholewheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups of hot water from the kettle (to be added bit by bit, till the dough is the correct crumbly consistency)
(Note: The photographs here are from a half-batch I made because I was pressed for time – it really is as simple as halving the ingredients. All steps remain the same) Tools:
Lightly floured board or dinner plate (for the resting)
Plain flour for dusting the board and rolling pin
Large non-stick pan
Cooking bag/ plastic packet
- Place the flour, baking powder and salt in the mixing bowl and stir with the fork.
- Add warm water a ¼ cup at a time, working it through with the fork until a dough forms. The dough should be only slightly crumbly, and must combine to large extent, to be ready. (For a full batch of 12, I used about 1.5 cups of water in total. For a 6-wrap batch, approximately ¾ cup worked well. This part is more art than science, based on touch and sight.) Slide any dough off the fork, put it to one side, and use your fingers to work the dough together into a ball. (There will probably quite a bit of dough sticking to your fingers. Either lightly dust your fingers with plain flour, or dip your fingers into warm water to help prevent this.)
- Either in the bowl (this is how I do it) or on the lightly floured board, knead the dough until it is smooth.
- With your hands, on the lightly floured board, roll the dough into a thick sausage about 24cm long for a full batch. (The picture is from a half batch – hence the shorter sausage.)
- With a sharp knife, cut the sausage into slices, each about 2cm thick.
- Roll each slice into a ball, and place the balls on a lightly floured plate or board.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 1 hour.
- When the resting hour has passed, fold a clean dish cloth in half and place it in a plastic packet or cooking bag with the open side at the mouth of the bag.
- Place the pan on the stove on a hot plate to heat.
- Flatten one dough ball into a circle of about 9cm, using your fingertips to create a slight curve in the middle (creating the effect of a very small Frisbee).
- On a well-floured board, begin creating the wrap by rolling the circle with a well-floured rolling pin. Starting in the middle of the dough, roll firmly upward once, then firmly downward once. Rotate the circle of dough on the board about ¼ way and again roll firmly upward once, then firmly downward once. Continue this pattern – re-flouring board and rolling pin regularly – until the wrap is a very thin circle of about 20cm. (One up, one down, turn ¼. One up, one down, turn ¼…)
- Lift the wrap carefully off the board, stretching it as you do. Place it in the hot pan, using a spatula to lift or flatten any bits that may have curled or folded as it was placed in the pan.
- The surface will begin to bubble almost immediately. When this happens, use the spatula to flip the wrap over, then press down on all the bubbles with the spatula, working the air out.
- After about 30 seconds, flip the wrap again. There will be brown spots on the surface. (Note that these should not be not dark brown or lack spots – these indicate your pan is too hot and the wrap is scorching). Flip again and cook till the wrap is done.
- Carefully place the cooked wrap in the folded dishcloth in the plastic packet. Fold the cloth and plastic packed to close, and allow the hot wrap to steam.
- Repeat the process for each ball of dough, adding each cooked wrap to the pile steaming in the dishcloth as it is completed.
- Serve while warm, with your preferred filling.
- For storage, allow to cool completely, remove from the dishcloth, and place in a plastic packet in the fridge or freezer.
- To use after refrigerating, place on a plate, cover the plate with plastic wrap, and microwave on 100% for 20 seconds to soften.