How many calories are in one flour tortilla?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How many calories are in one flour tortilla?” and will discuss how to make flour tortillas?

How many calories are in one flour tortilla?

One flour tortilla of 7-8 diameter and 49g weight contains 159 calories. Because flour tortillas are frequently prepared with lard or shortening, they have a higher fat content. Nonetheless, they give more iron, which your body needs to effectively oxygenate your muscles and other cells.

Wheat flour tortilla provides more calories (47%), proteins, lipids and carbohydrates and less dietary fiber and micronutrients than corn tortilla. It is composed of 13% water, 10% protein, 0.6% fat and 1.6% dietary fiber (2).

What are flour tortillas?

A wheat tortilla, sometimes known as a flour tortilla, is a soft, thin flatbread prepared with finely ground wheat flour. It can be defined as a flat, circular, light-colored bread. Usually they have an average thickness of 1/16 in and diameters ranging from 6 to 13 in. They are generally eaten with beans, meats, cheese, avocados, spreads, and other ingredients (1).

 It was inspired by the Mexican corn tortilla, a flatbread made of maize that predates the advent of Europeans in the Americas. It’s made with flour and water dough that’s squeezed and fried like corn tortillas. The most basic recipes call for simply flour, water, lard, and salt, while commercially produced flour tortillas often include chemical leavening agents like baking powder, as well as additional components.

Tortillas are now more popular in the United States than bagels, croissants, English muffin, pitas or any other type of ethnic bread (1).

History

The flour tortilla is a corn tortilla variation. The term tortilla derives from the Spanish word “tortilla,” which means “little cake.” The earliest tortillas discovered were made of local maize with dried kernels and date back to 10,000 years BCE. The Aztecs and other Mesoamerican cultures relied heavily on maize tortillas as a staple diet. The flour tortilla, on the other hand, is a relatively new creation. Historically, Tortillas originated as a corn product in Mexico, however the introduction of wheat to the New World by the Spaniards in 1525 eventually led to the preparation of tortillas made from wheat flour (1).

Some say flour tortillas came from the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora, and Sinaloa, where the land is more adapted to cultivating wheat than maize. They have recently become an important part of Mexican American (particularly in the shape of a burrito), Mexican—and Tex-Mex—cuisine. The flour tortilla, according to Mexican Americans, originated in the wheat-rich United States. It’s usually assigned to Alta California, which was still part of the Mexican Republic at the time. It is attributed to Northern and Central California in particular, with the first mass-produced flour tortillas coming from flour tortilla plants in metropolitan Los Angeles. Flour tortillas have even been credited to Jewish immigration from the United States.

In this time, tortillas were homemade and generally prepared on a daily basis. Wheat flour was mixed with water, lard, and salt to form a dough. The resulting dough was divided and hand-shaped or rolled into tortilla disks which were baked on a hot griddle. Today, most flour tortillas are industrially manufactured following the same principles, however using different technologies (1).

Production

Wheat tortillas are popular in northern Mexican states including Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua, as well as the Southwest United States. Tortillas range in size from 6 to 30 cm (2.4 to 12 in) in diameter, depending on the location of the nation and the meal being served.

Tortillas are produced by three basic methods: hot pressing, die cutting, and hand stretching. In the hot-press method, rested and relaxed dough pieces are transferred onto a heated conveyor plate where a hydraulic press device is typically used to form discs from dough balls. During pressing a thin skin is formed, which helps to seal the tortilla and limits the release of steam and carbon dioxide generated during baking. This contributes to the typical puffed characteristic of the tortilla. The die-cut method is more efficient, yielding a lower cost product. However, the quality of the resulting tortillas is inferior to the hot-press counter-parts. They are less soft, more pasty, and lose flexibility more quickly. The hand-stretch method usually produces tortillas that are larger, thinner, and stronger than pressed or die-cut approaches. The relaxed dough pieces are passed through a pair of sheeting rolls to form an elongated shape and passed again through another pair of rolls at a 90º angle to shape them into round, flat discs. They are then hand-stretched to the final shape and diameter (1).

To make the manufacturing process easier, regulate texture and taste, and improve shelf-life, industrially made tortillas generally include a variety of chemicals. At Washington State University, researchers have developed ways for mass-producing tortillas using just whole-wheat flour, water, oil, and salt, using a fermented flour-and-water sourdough starter in place of artificial leaveners.

The use of whole wheat flour in tortillas significantly influenced the dough water absorption (increased), color (darker) and storage stability (decreased). Furthermore, fiber content of tortillas was increased by adding either 10% oat bran or 10% rice bran; but both significantly affected dough machinability and the mixing process (1).

What is the composition of flour tortillas?

All-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, lard, and water are used to make flour tortillas. For a simple taste, use just the most basic components. The simplicity of the taste enables the meats you stuff them with to shine!

Is it possible to use butter instead of lard in tortillas?

In this recipe for handmade flour tortillas, lard works best. I use shortening for lard when I don’t have any on hand. If everything else fails, I go to butter. Although butter will work, we have found that lard works better for us.

Some studies have been made in using hydrocolloids to substitute fat and produce a more stable and healthy version of tortilla. Xanthan gum, guar gum and other hydrocolloids have been tested for their potential as bread improvers and antistaling agents, thus, they are able to decrease the loss of moisture content during storage and to reduce the dehydration rate, consequently retarding the crumb hardening (1). 

What’s the best way to make homemade tortillas?

·         To make the dough fast, we use a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, a stand mixer or hand mixer will suffice. Just make sure you don’t over-knead the dough.

·         When you’re mixing the dough, it’ll be sticky. Add just enough flour to make the dough workable. While you’re kneading it, the bread should still be tacky.

·         The dough won’t need to be kneaded for long. Just knead it for a minute or two until it’s smooth and elastic.

·         To make tacos, divide the dough into smaller balls and burritos, bigger balls. For around 15 minutes, cover the dough balls with a moist cloth. This enables the dough to rest and provides a lovely texture to the tortillas!

·         Cook the tortillas last. Tortillas are traditionally cooked in a comal , which is a flat cast iron pan. Cast iron is ideal, but any skillet will suffice. In a hot skillet, they just take 30-40 seconds to cook. To prevent the tortillas from sticking, make sure the pan is hot. You’ll just need around 15-20 seconds on either side!

·         As soon as the tortillas are done frying, wrap them in moist paper towels. This prevents the tortillas from drying out. Don’t omit this step if you want soft tortillas!

Tortillas: How to Store Them?

These tortillas will keep for around 12 hours at room temperature. After that, put them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. If you leave them out, they will soon mold!

Tortillas may be stored for 3 months in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer. The shelf life, however, depends on the ingredients used for its production. As an example, the addition of hydrocolloids may increase the shelf life of flour tortillas. Hydrocolloids are water-soluble polysaccharides with varied chemical structures providing a range of functional properties that make them suitable for shelf-life extension (1).

Tortillas: How to Reheat Them?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to reheat the tortillas. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and microwave for 5-7 minutes, or until warm to your liking.

How many calories are in one flour tortilla?

Other FAQs about Tortillas that you may be interested in.

Do I Have to Fry the Tortillas for Enchiladas?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How many calories are in one flour tortilla?” and discussed how to make flour tortillas?

References

  1. Anton, A. Improving the nutritional and textural properties of wheat flour tortillas. Cereal res commun, 2008, 36, 301-311.
  2. Subiria-Cueto, Rodrigo, et al. Brosimum alicastrum Sw.(Ramón): An alternative to improve the nutritional properties and functional potential of the wheat flour tortilla. Foods, 2019, 8, 613.

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.