What is the difference between masa para tortillas and masa para tamales?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by abefroman, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. abefroman

    abefroman

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    What is the difference between masa para tortillas and masa para tamales?

    What makes one for tortillas and one for tamales?

    What happens if I use the tortillas ones from tamales?
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    You buying in ready form? The tamale masa has lard or shortening and is beaten already I think.
     
  3. liv4fud

    liv4fud

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    kuan,

    wouldn't it be referring to the thickness (coarseness) of the flour that is ground up??
    i.e. the tortilla one might be more finer in texture than the tamale one

    not too sure about hispanic food but have a lot of those variations in indian food with respect to wheat flour...
    hence making the analogy
     
  4. abefroman

    abefroman

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    Thanks to both of you, thats what I thought
     
  5. abefroman

    abefroman

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    I am wanting to make tamales, but I dont like using the dried masa harina, and I like to use butter instead of lard, how can I create my own masa from fresh hominy (Nixtamal) without having a large metal grinder like they have in rural Mexican cities?

    What would be the best way to get this in masa form:
    http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/images/dampcorn.jpg
     
  6. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Liv4fud, the difference between masa for tortillas and the masa for tamales is like Kuan said, tamale masa contains added liquid and lard and is then beaten to lighten it. You could use a coarser grind for the tamales, but often it is the same.

    Abefroman, unfortunately unless you have large metal grinder you will spend way too much time trying to grind up the hominy, and then you will probably never get it fine enough. Where do you live? Most major cities have tortilla factories in them and they are often willing to sell freshly ground masa to people (nothing beats the smell of 10 pounds of fresh masa dough, warm right from the factory). Many Hispanic markets will also sell frozen, fresh masa (as opposed to masa harina). Though I prefer to use the fresh, if you treat the masa harina right you can get very good results, just remember to hydrate it first and let it sit for, at least, 30 minutes before continuing with your recipe. Have never heard of using butter in place of the lard so I can't comment on that.
     
  7. even stephen

    even stephen

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    I know a little about the process. Masa corn is a specific corn. In the
    states a great place to get it, organic by the way, is Anson mills in
    S.C. In Mexico women will boil the dried corn with Cooking lime until
    the outside of the kernel comes off. From what I understand you add
    lime to the water until it just begins to feel like it shocks, yes shocks,
    your tongue. After the outside of the kernel sluffs off you separate the
    clean corn and rinse it well. You can then grind it or put it in a food
    processor and run until it is smooth. As is you form fresh corn tortillas
    by hand or with press. For tomales you take this maza and slowly add
    the stock from the meat you will be filling the tortillas with. At a point
    that is hard to decribe you then add fat of some sort, in Mexico lard, until
    the masa does not stick to your hands. Some people will add a little
    baking soda to soften the masa. You then fill banana leaves or corn
    husks with masa and filling and fold/then steam. There are a million
    tamales. My personal favorite is made with fresh sweet corn ground
    into a maza of sorts and then put into fresh green corn husks and steamed.
    Pure silverqueen corn satisfaction. The best way to learn is from an
    elderly latino women. In mexico they use something called a matete.
    Pour spelling. It is a bar and a rectangle stone and the dry maza corn
    is ground with much effort. Tamales come in all shapes, sizes and flavors.
    Every one is worth trying. My favorite is from Oaxaca. Some of the best
    times I have had with my kids, is at a table making tamales. I may not
    know how to spell some of the Mexican and Indian words, but I do know
    some about traditional Mexican food and welcome any questions. I also
    have some questions, if there is anyone out there with a wealth of knowledge.

    for what its worth

    stephen