In Mexico the maize in the form of tortilla has been consumed since ancient times and it has been the main component of the Mexicans’ diet for generations. It is possible that once you have wondered... while some tortillas are heated or some tortilla chips are served. Where does the maize flour come from to prepare this food?
Well, here you are going to learn something great – all the procedure to prepare your own maize flour from scratch. Of course that this process is more laborious than going to the supermarket to buy maize flour. But if you want to enjoy some delicious tortillas – we guarantee you that if you use your own maize flour to make them, the flavor is going to be the best and not only that they are also going to be softer and more flexible.
This recipe is very traditional and historic because it will be carried out the nixtamalizacion process, from the Nahuatl nextli = ashes and tamali = dough. It is a chemical process invented thousands of years ago that converts the maize into a healthy and complete food by soaking the maize kernels in hot water with slaked lime. This process softens the maize, it removes its skin and it gives a lot of properties to the maize.
This recipe is very easy to make, although it is laborious and it takes a lot of time.
To make this recipe a machine or maize grinding mill is needed.
If you have a lot of courage, strong nerves you like the ancient traditions; the maize can also be ground on a metate.
In this recipe slaked lime is used and if possible buy it in chemical inactive state.
The preparation time is of about , since the maize kernels have to be left soaking overnight.
Recipe for 1.1 lbs of maize flour.
1.1 lbs of Dried Maize Kernels
1 teaspoon of Slaked Lime in chemical inactive state
1 Machine or Maize Grinding Mill
1 Saucepan with Lid
1 Kitchen Spoon
Clean the Maize
Spread over a work table 1.1 lbs of dried maize kernels and discard the pebbles and gravels that you find.
Transfer from the work table to a colander the dried maize kernels that were cleaned and rinse them.
Transfer from the colander to a saucepan the dried maize kernels that were rinsed and cover them with water; then set aside.
Cook and Soak the Maize
Fill 1/2 glass with water, pour in the glass 1 teaspoon of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and if bubbles pop up wait until they stop popping up.
This process is done to verify that slaked lime is inactive. If steam or bubbles come out it means that the slaked lime was active. Wait for the chemical reaction to end, the slaked lime will pass to an inactive state and it can be used.
Strain over the saucepan (where the dried maize kernels are) the water with slaked lime that was prepared in the glass and mix the ingredients.
Bring the saucepan water to a boil over high heat.
When it boils reduce to low heat and leave the dried maize kernels cooking for about 30 minutes, until they soften; stir occasionally.
Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan and leave the maize kernels soaking for 12 hours, so they soften.
The Next Day...
Verify that the maize kernels that were left soaking are soft and that they can be peeled by rubbing them with the fingers; if not leave them soaking for a longer time.
Don’t soak the maize for a long time because it will soften a lot and the maize flour won’t be made properly. in this state the maize in known as nixtamal.
Transfer from the saucepan to the colander the maize kernels that were soaked and rinse them with cold water.
The liquid where the maize was cooked is known as nejayote.
Remove the skin (hollejo) of all the maize kernels that were rinsed.
Put in a machine or maize grinding mill the maize kernels with the ones you worked.
Grind the maize kernels.
Prepare Mexican Food with your Maize Flour
Tip: It is very important to preserve the maize flour in an airtight container and store it in a fresh and dark place.