Recipe: How to Make a 50/50 Corn and Wheat Tortilla

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The 50/50 tortilla gives you the best of both worlds - the chewiness and sturdiness of a flour tortilla with the nuttiness and flavor of of a corn tortilla, perfect for breakfast tacos.

One might assume that we here at Masienda aren’t much for flour tortillas.

We are a corn masa company, after all, and we live in a polarized world and even more divided times. Why should the makeup of our tortilla allegiance be any different?

Well, the truth is that we’ve always had love for both corn and wheat flour tortillas. Sure, for a majority of our taco occasions, there’s no doubt that we’re a bit biased toward a fresh corn tortilla made from nixtamal. Masaphiles know what we’re talking about, here–that impossibly pillowy bite made up of umami-rich, alkaline-cooked corn that is subtle but complex, humble but bold, complimentary and assertive, all at once. You know… the sultan of swat, the colossus of clout, the great(est) bambino…?

OK, Sandlot references aside, corn tortillas are certainly where the heart is. Nevertheless, we consider a flour tortilla to be a thing of beauty, too. What’s not to like? It’s got fat, stretch, salt, and flakiness. They’re delicious, and sometimes you just don’t want to make a choice between the two.

Which brings us to the 50/50 tortilla.

As far as history goes, the 50/50 tortilla is more of a modern, commercial development, born out of a need to innovate the otherwise limited retail category of store-bought tortillas. Grocery store retailers are always trying to get brands to come up with new, “fresh” ideas for each and every aisle within the store, which can lead to the best (cold-brew coffee) and worst (Cheetos lip balm–yes it was a thing) of what “innovation” has to offer. And, for a hot second within the tortilla category, the 50/50 corn and wheat tortilla was somewhat of a lighting-in-a-bottle kinda moment.

Like corn? Yes! Like wheat? Yes! We’ve developed just the product for you!

In addition to a need for category creativity, legend has it that the 50/50 tortilla was developed to solve a problem that some consumers, especially those of the wheat tortilla persuasion, apparently had with store-bought corn tortillas. Corn tortillas, as we know, are not made of gluten, the protein that gives wheat dough its stretch, hold and structure. Instead, corn tortillas rely on the nixtamalization process of corn, where the natural gums within the corn’s skin, or pericarp, are activated to create a binding, emulsifying quality that allows the masa that it becomes, once ground, to hold together. That said, unless you know how to properly reheat a store-bought corn tortilla, especially one that does not have any gums or stabilizers in it, these naturally-occurring gums are strongest when fresh and properly hydrated. When left to dry on a grocery shelf, even in a refrigerated environment, chances are that it might fall apart during your taco experience. Our friends in the industry suggest that it was the corn tortilla’s reputation for cracking and/or breaking that led some tortillerias to develop a corn tortilla with an extra dose of gluten in it. Cue the 50/50 tortilla.

Given the tension between corn and wheat, it’s hard to believe a compromise of this magnitude was even possible. Despite its significant nutritional value once nixtamalized and its sustainable agricultural relationship with beans and squash, corn has a complicated history among wheat purists. In Mexico, for example, wheat-favoring Spanish colonial influences once led to an attempted eradication of the corn tortilla, in the early 20th century. Further, one explanation for the proliferation of and preference for white corn tortillas (versus blue, red, yellow or purple, for example) is because of its aesthetic likeness to a wheat tortilla.

A dark history, notwithstanding, the results of a fresh-made 50/50 tortilla are worth getting excited over.

For this recipe, we love pairing the finished tortilla with shredded cheese, eggs and ‘nduja sausage for a fun, nostalgic* (more on that in a moment) spin on the breakfast taco. For the eggs, we are partial to a soft scramble, which is achieved through constant stirring of the eggs over low heat.

As for the ‘nduja sausage, we are life-long fans of La Quercia Cured Meats out of Norwalk, Iowa. ‘Nduja (pronounced “en-doo-yah”) is a spicy, cured meat spread, originating from Calabria, Italy. The exact meat selections used for ‘nduja are more commonly a mixed lot, but La Quercia’s is a unique combination of  prosciutto and Italian-style speck (smoked prosciutto). To create the ‘nduja, they use leftover trimmings from their prosciutto and speck production, mixed with New Mexican red chiles. The result is reminiscent of a Mexican chorizo, but with a cured meat vibe.

A little ‘nduja will go a long way. For the unaccustomed palate, we recommend starting with a smaller amount before going to town on your breakfast taco. While shipped chilled, we enjoy the ‘nduja best when gently sautéed in olive oil. The effect is a brighter color and sharper flavor overall. We’ll even add a dash of sherry vinegar to it, in order to round out the saltier notes of the sausage (a dash of vinegar-based hot sauce, like our favorites Crystal or Cholula, will also do).

*True story, about two years before heirloom masa came into the picture, Masienda founder Jorge Gaviria once applied for a sales job at La Quercia. Much to his chagrin at the time, Jorge was rejected for the position, on account of a lack of formal sales experience. Instead, Jorge went on to work as a line cook at Maialino restaurant, where, when working the pasta line, he became intimately familiar with–and forever hooked on–La Quercia’s guanciale, or cured pork jowl. Years later, Jorge and La Quercia’s co-founder, Herb Eckhouse, became friends after meeting at a specialty food show. Upon reconnecting, Herb couldn’t recall the moment he altered the career trajectory of a young(er) Jorge, but they could both agree that it had all worked out for the best.

50/50 CORN AND WHEAT TORTILLA RECIPE

The 50/50 tortilla gives you the best of both worlds - the chewiness and sturdiness of a flour tortilla with the nuttiness and flavor of of a corn tortilla, perfect for breakfast tacos.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1 1

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and add (solid, not tempered) coconut oil. Mix dry ingredients with oil until well-combined and pea-sized crumbles begin to form. Add warm water and mix well. The dough should be oily and not stick to your hands. Knead for 2-4 minutes.
  • Shape thedough into 8 (large) or 16 (small) balls, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat acomal on medium-high heat. Press dough ball using a tortilla press.
  • Reduce heat to medium and lay tortilla down. Let cook ~20-25 seconds until brown and releasing from Comal. Flip and cook other the side for about 20 seconds. Flip again, and there should be some puff.
Keyword Masa Shapes, Tortillas
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Comments (12)

  • E. Siegmann Reply

    Thank you for this beautiful recipe! Do you think it would work with gluten free-free flour, like Pamelas Artisan gluten-free flour?

    March 19, 2021 at 4:32 pm
    • Masienda Reply

      Hi E., thank you for your kind words! Although we haven’t recipe tested it with gluten-free flour, it should work! The masa flour lends some strength to the dough and the baking powder will give you a puff (although may not be as much as with wheat flour). A cup-for-cup gluten-free alternative would be the best starting point and we encourage you to play with ratios between flour and water, in case you’re not getting the desired texture or hydration. We’d love to know if you give it a try!

      March 24, 2021 at 8:17 am
  • E Horgan Reply

    I’d also be interested in a 50/50 recipe that is still gluten free. Should one use tapioca flour? Cassava flour? Any thoughts?

    March 23, 2021 at 4:28 am
    • Masienda Reply

      Hi E., although we haven’t recipe tested it with gluten-free flour, it should work! The masa flour lends some strength to the dough and the baking powder will give you a puff (although may not be as much as with wheat flour). A cup-for-cup gluten-free alternative would be the best starting point and we encourage you to play with ratios between flour and water, in case you’re not getting the desired texture or hydration. We’d love to know if you give it a try!

      April 1, 2021 at 5:51 pm
  • Ed Reply

    Would lard work in this recipe?

    March 24, 2021 at 6:22 am
    • Masienda Reply

      Hi Ed, absolutely! If you give it a try, we’d love to know what you think!

      March 25, 2021 at 8:29 am
  • C Fernandez Reply

    Do you have a recipe for just flour tortillas?

    April 2, 2021 at 9:11 pm
    • Masienda Reply

      Hi, thanks or asking. As of right now unfortunately we do not have any recipes solely for flour tortillas.

      April 5, 2021 at 10:50 am
  • Randolph Marks Reply

    5 stars
    Today I made the corn/flour hybrid you developed with Chef Steps and it is truly epic. As a Studio Pass member, I took advantage of the special pricing and bought the tortilla press and your new salsas. I was always a bit leery of the Masienda press because it is so expensive. After using it I wish I had bought it long ago. What a beautiful piece of equipment! The salsas are amazing. They are permanent members of my pantry.

    Great job!

    May 1, 2021 at 3:59 pm
  • Elsa cortez Reply

    Been making flour tortillas since I was a kid . I’m 65 now. You’ll need 2 cups flour, 2 tsp of baking powder, half tsp salt. Place 1/2 cup milk plus 1/4cup water in micro for 45 seconds and then add a little shy of 1/4 cup oil. Add this to flour and mix.

    Knead the dough like 20 times. Then make into balls to your desired size. Cover and let rest for 20-30 min. Dip each ball into flour before rolling out. Cook and enjoy.

    June 3, 2021 at 12:52 pm
    • Bob Reply

      5 stars
      Thank you Elsa. Nothing better than experience! I bet you can do this in your sleep.

      July 23, 2021 at 2:36 pm
  • Andrés Reply

    Hi! If we’re using fresh masa at a tortilla-moisture level, would I just dial down on the water quantity to achieve desired texture? Would I dial down on flour content also?

    Would love a guide to see how to work with fresh masa vs masa harina in recipes 🙂 i know its tricky due to hydration

    July 5, 2021 at 9:43 am

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