Rolling out dough, particularly into a circular shape, is a learned skill. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when John tried his hand at making tortillas. At approximately 11:30 on a Tuesday morning I received a call from work that went something like this, “So how do you keep the dough from sticking to everything??” “Well, you make sure everything stays well floured and keep rotating your dough.” “David, stay out of the dishwasher! I’ve gotta go. I’ll give that a try”
When I got home that evening I found 7 balls of dough in a bowl in the refrigerator. Turns out the rolling didn’t go so well, (keeping the child out of the dishwasher was probably equally unsuccessful) and John gave up after one tortilla. I decided this gluten free flour tortillas recipe was going to need an accompanying tutorial.
The tortilla dough is pretty sticky and calls for more a thorough flouring of surfaces than a pizza or pasta dough. I put a fine dusting of rice flour on my board and on the rolling pin.
The tortilla recipe calls for the dough to be split into 8 pieces. Roll each of the eight pieces into a nice, neat little ball and lightly dust the exterior with gluten free flour. Place one ball in the center of your floured rolling surface.
To roll dough into a circle, start by placing the floured pin onto the center of the ball. Press down a little bit to create an indention, and then roll the pin away from you gently. Rotate the dough a quarter turn, place your pin back in the middle of the dough and roll away from you a second time. After 4 turns and 4 rolls, your dough should look something like this.
The longer you can keep the dough in a nice circular shape, the more circular your finished tortillas will be. (Your dough will start to develop ragged edges as you roll it out, but try to aim or a relatively round tortillas).
Now that you have rolled the dough into a flat disk, continue to roll out the dough from the center to the edges, rotating the dough slightly after each roll. Your tortilla will eventually look something like this.
Here’s a side view, so that you can see the thickness. I roll the tortillas out as thinly as possible – you can see the imprint of my hand through the dough when I hold it. The tortillas puff up when you cook them, so the raw tortilla needs to be on the thin side.
When an unfloured piece of dough comes in contact with an unfloured surface, stickage will occur. This is probably the most frustrating aspect of rolling out dough, but it can be minimized.
Rotating the dough after each roll is the key to preventing the dough from sticking to the board. As you roll out the dough, new un-floured portions of the dough are exposed. The rotation of the dough allows the flour on the board to cover these newly exposed areas of sticky dough.
Also, if you rotate between each roll you will quickly realize when the dough is sticking to the board. In the picture below, I’ve caught the dough just as it was starting to stick. When this happens:
If you’re not rotating the dough, you may end up with the entire tortilla stuck to the board. If this happens, just scrape it up and start over.
In the picture below the dough stuck to the rolling pin as I rolled over it. This can happen at any point in the rolling process and it is a signal that the dough needs to be flipped.
In the next picture, I’m pulling the dough off of the pin. You can see that the side that stuck to the pin has much less flour on it’s surface than the side that was on the board. When this happens:
And that’s it. I hope the tortilla rolling goes well. If this is your first time to roll out dough, let me know how it goes. I haven’t been able to talk John into doing another test run.
And don’t be discouraged. You’ll get faster every time you make this.