World Grain - July 2024 - 22

Mexico's
favorite finger food
Highly functional enzyme compounds give tortillas a long shelf life
by Nicolas Charampidis and Hendrik Begemann
T
ortillas are Mexico's most popular finger food.
Whereas the thin, flat rounds of bread sold from
street and market stalls are always baked and
eaten fresh, packed industrial products from supermarkets
must stay soft and flexible for weeks. By using
highly functional enzyme compounds, manufacturers
can achieve a shelf life of around 90 days.
Mexican cooking is like the country itself: colorful,
diverse, and full of surprises. In the south, the traditional
recipes of the Mayas and Aztecs are still popular -
prepared mostly with beans, maize, chili and tomatoes.
In the north, the eating habits of the Spanish conquistadores
have asserted themselves, with dishes containing
pork and rice. And in the coastal areas of the east, fish
and seafood bring a Caribbean flair to the table.
In 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization honored this extraordinary
diversity by adding the Mexican cuisine to the official
list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Despite all the regional differences, one culinary
preference can be traced throughout the country: tortillas
- thin rounds of bread made from maize or wheat
flour - are an essential part of every meal. They might
be called the real star of Mexican cooking.
Tortillas are eaten with the fingers - and Mexicans
are immensely creative where their favorite finger
food is concerned. Filled, rolled, deep-fried or
grilled - tortillas are the indispensable base for tacos,
quesadillas, burritos, huaraches, enchiladas or
tostadas. Typical accompaniments are baked beans,
22
grilled meat, cheese, vegetables, avocados and salad.
A day without a tortilla is unthinkable for a Mexican.
The arterial roads of the cities are lined with taco fast-food
chains, one next to the other. But the authentic national
cuisine is mainly to be found in the markets and familyrun
taquerias, where the dough pieces are prepared in the
traditional manner on thin, hot griddles called comales.
Freshness is imperative. The cooks (taqueros) often have
only a tiny space to work in, and yet they conjure up
an astonishing diversity of flatbread specialities from
regional ingredients and seasonings. Homemade, spicy
salsas and creamy sauces (mole) served for dipping and
seasoning are featured in every taqueria.
Wheat flour tortillas
In the artisan sector and in private households, tortillas are
generally made from maize (corn) flour, whereas wheat
flour is the more common raw material in the baking industry.
Wheat flour tortillas have a softer consistency and
are easier to roll and fold. Tortillas of better quality are
prepared mainly from hard wheat flour with a medium
protein content. Hard wheat flour is preferred in industrial
production. However, soft wheat flour also may be used,
particularly when the product is made at home.
Mexican consumers have precise ideas as to what
their wheat flour tortillas should be like: a perfect tortilla
should have a uniform shape and a pale beige color
with a scatter of brown toasted spots and must neither
break nor become soggy when prepared. The chart on
the right shows a typical recipe for flour tortillas.
July 2024 / World Grain / World-Grain.com
Photo courtesy of MC
http://www.World-Grain.com

World Grain - July 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - July 2024

World Grain - July 2024 - Intro
World Grain - July 2024 - 1
World Grain - July 2024 - 2
World Grain - July 2024 - 3
World Grain - July 2024 - 4
World Grain - July 2024 - 5
World Grain - July 2024 - 6
World Grain - July 2024 - 7
World Grain - July 2024 - 8
World Grain - July 2024 - 9
World Grain - July 2024 - 10
World Grain - July 2024 - 11
World Grain - July 2024 - 12
World Grain - July 2024 - 13
World Grain - July 2024 - 14
World Grain - July 2024 - 15
World Grain - July 2024 - 16
World Grain - July 2024 - 17
World Grain - July 2024 - 18
World Grain - July 2024 - 19
World Grain - July 2024 - 20
World Grain - July 2024 - 21
World Grain - July 2024 - 22
World Grain - July 2024 - 23
World Grain - July 2024 - 24
World Grain - July 2024 - 25
World Grain - July 2024 - 26
World Grain - July 2024 - 27
World Grain - July 2024 - 28
World Grain - July 2024 - 29
World Grain - July 2024 - 30
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World Grain - July 2024 - 33
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