Soggy Tortillas, Ick!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by redherring, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. redherring

    redherring

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    Whenever I try making enchiladas, my corn tortillas turn to mush, even when I bake them only 20-30 minutes. I've tried getting as much moisture as possible out of my enchilada sauce, I've fried them very briefly in hot oil. Unless I fry them too crisp to roll, it doesn't seem to help. Am I going to have to make my own tortillas? I grew up in Southern California with fresh tortillas easily available, but here in New Jersey they all have expiration dates a month or two in the future and I know that can't be good.

    My next attempt will be baking them halfway unsauced, and then adding sauce and cheese for the last 5-10 minutes, but I'm afraid that will leave them crisp rather than the slightly "al-dente" (to really confuse cuisines). How do cooks get enchiladas to last half an hour on a steam table?

    Gummy in New Jrsey
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    A couple of things.

    I don't think age is an issue that would cause them to fail.

    Fry your corn tortilla in oil. It will hold together much better.  You don't want to crisp it, but  leave it still  pliable and a bit stronger. Even if they get a little tough, the dip in the chile sauce will soften them back up enough.  You may have to let them sit a bit after the dipping though. I usually fry them all, then dip them all, then fill and roll individually.  Many times, you're advised to dip, fill and roll and repeat.  A little longer fry, and a longer wait  coated in chile sauce before filling should solve your problems.

    While most US recipes bake the enchilada as a casserole, it is usually assembled  and arranged quickly on the plate then given a broil to melt the cheese. This solves the breakdown problem as well.  But not the one of sitting in a steam table.
     
  3. redherring

    redherring

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    Thanks Phatch, I'll try your recommendations. I remember my grandmother used to make them with lots of ground chiles and topped with cheddar, diced onions and black olives. I loved them as a kid.
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I went through a period where my tortillas would break down too. I haven't had that problem for a while now. It's sort of developing a touch for it.

    It wouldn't surprise me that moving from California to NJ, you're having some trouble with the Tortillas being wetter to start with with the higher humidity.  It was a bit of a learning experience to move from NJ to Utah. In NJ, leaving bread or crackers out meant they went soggy. Here, they get hard.