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How to make corn masa. Cómo hacer su propia masa de maíz

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Nowadays not even ranchers or farmer communities prepare corn masa as it used to be the common practice for centuries in Mexico’s heartland. The use of ready-made corn masa is now more common, and they are widely used to make tortillas and other corn-based meals. However, and thinking of those of you who are far away from México, here we are presenting you with the recipe to prepare your own home-made corn masa, which you can then use to make tortillas and many other delicious authentic Mexican corn-based antojitos and meals. The process may be a bit time consuming, but you will agree with me that the unique flavor of tortillas and other antojitos made with fresh made corn masa is well worth the effort and time.



HOW TO MAKE CORN MASA, STEP BY STEP:

The New Post about making blue corn masa HERE

INGREDIENTS:


DIRECTIONS:

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1. Use clean corn seed, remove any chaff from the corn husk, rinse with tap water, and then remove any excess water using a plastic colander.

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2.  Put the corn into a non-corrosive pot. Use 2 to three liters of water per each one kilo of corn. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried powered lime (Mexican cal) dissolved in 1/2 cup of filtered water.

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CAL MEXICANA.- You can find “cal mexicana” (powdered lime) in most Latin or Hispanic grocery stores.

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3.Transfer all these ingredients into a clay pot (preferably) and let it boil for few minutes (15-20 minutes), stir slowly using a wooden kitchen spoon. Remove the pot from the stove, cover it with a lid and let it cool overnight.

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4. You know that the corn is ready if it easily peels off when you rub it with your fingers after 15 -20 minutes of cooking.

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5.The next day, remove all the liquid (also known as “nejayote”), and rinse the corn two or three times rubbing off the loose skin, until the kernels are quite white and the water looks clean. Drain well.

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5. Now the corn is ready for the grinder. You can use the ancient “metate”, but we are going to describe the grinding process using a manual plate grinder. Start grinding the corn in small batches twice or three times until it has a fine texture. Add enough water and mix until it forms a dough.

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(This manual plate grinder could be replaced with a food processor, however, the texture cannot be duplicated.)

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You can buy the Corn Grinder, Calcium Hydroxide and Metate Stone in our Amazon Store HERE


55 comments:

  1. MELY, Muy bien explicado el proceso, yo evito la fatiga =) Claro si estuviera lejos de MEXICO, me canso que la haría como tú. Mi admiración y felicitaciones por tu dedicación a la cocina mexicana, para que no se olviden nuestras raíces!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gracias Nora,

    Es un trabajo laborioso pero vale la pena.

    Un abrazo,

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post, and with my limited Spanish I think I agree with Mely!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mely, que belleza de blog! Que hermosas fotos tomas de cada paso del proceso, en verdad que me da orgullo ver tus recetas. Fijate que yo tambien preparo basante comidita mexicana, pero nunca habia visto yo como hacer chorizo o harina de maiz!...osea que mazeca no es la unica opcion...=)
    Estando aca en los EU quiero que mis hijos aprendan a disfrutar de nuestra deliciosa comida mexicana. Sere una visitante asidua.
    Voy a agregarte a mi lista de blogs. Gracias por compartir el tuyo conmigo.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gracias Silvia por tu visita.

    That is exactly what I am trying to do with my son, to teach him the traditions and the foods of our country. And maybe some day he will do the same with his children.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello Holly,

    Thanks for you visit, I hope that with this blog the non spanish speeking cooks can enjoy some mexican food at home.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mely,

    Puedo preguntar en donde puedo encontrar el plate grinder aqui en los EU? Me encanta cocinar y tambien quiero que mis niñas aprenden de la comida Mexicana

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hola Karina,
    La opcion mas economica de comprar el molino de maiz, corn mill, or grinder es en las tiendas latinas ya que ellos tienen los precios mas economicos,los precios andan en los $ 30.00, despues de ellos Amazon.com lo tienen tambien, mexgrocer.com lo vende al doble que cualquier otro. Yo trate de hacer la masa primero con el procesador de alimentos y despues con el molino de la Kitchen Aid y no salio bien. El mejor resultado es con el molino.
    Gracias por visitar y que gusto que estes enseñando a tus hijas.

    Estoy a tus ordenes para cualquier otra duda.

    Feliz Dia!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gracias Mely!
    Lo voy a buscar y en cuanto lo encuentro hago tortillas y le digo como me salen! Como soy de los EU y mi esposo de Mexico quiero aprender cocinar mas comida Mexicana para que sea orgulloso de mi. Gracias por TODO su ayuda!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Karina,

    I hope you find it. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mely,

    I have have a question I have been following the same process to make tortillas but I find after I mill the corn I have to add water and its not as soft but rather a firm dough. Can your describe the milling process for me? LOVE your blog!

    -Cesar
    asanisimasa72000@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello Cesar,

    You will need to add water as needed while grinding the corn. I usually grind the corn twice to get a softer and manageable dough. You will need to add water little by little to obtain the results that you are looking for. I do wish to have a "Metate" like my grandma did in her time to get a smoother dough. Pressing the dough in a "Metate" was the last step in the process before making the tortillas.

    Thanks for your nice comment and hope you come back soon.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mely,

    How coarse is yor nixtamal after you grind it the first time? I too was looking for a giant metate but once I found out how much they were I decided to try and perfect my masa with my corn grinder. Sorry I'm asking so many questions, I have been looking for someone to talk to about this for a LONG time!

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  14. The first grinding is what you can see in the last picture and the picture that you see at the top is after the second grinding. I hope you could appreciate the texture in the photos.

    In another note, I used to put the dough in the freezer but now I just used my Foodsaver to vacuum seal it in small bags and store them in the bottom drawer of my fridge and it doesn't get spoil. It does get a little hard but with some water added is ready to cook.

    Also be sure to use the right corn, some online stores sell corn commonly used for pozole as corn for grinding and with that corn you will not get a dough for tortillas. It will only be good for tamales or zacahuil. The corn used for tortilla making is the dented one.

    If you have further questions please let me know, I will be glad to help you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. MELY!!

    My masa came out wonderfully! Thank you so much for your advice. Although I do have one more question where do you buy your maiz? The only kind I can find here (the bay area) is yellow corn which works well but I would love to find white corn.

    Thank you again,
    -Cesar

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello Cesar!

    I am so glad your masa came out great.
    I get my corn from the San Jose Area, someone that lives close by buy it for me at the local Hispanic stores and ship it to me. It is sold in 5 lbs. bags. I hope you have good luck finding it.

    Mely

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello! I went on line to find the manual plate grinder that you mentioned.. but didn't see anything that looked like your setup. Could you please give a brand name or a place for me to look for this product? What else do you use this grinder for?

    I am not sure what a profile is for.. I am hoping for an answer.. but there is not a place for me to send you a message with my e-mail address. I will just come back and check from time to time!!

    Thanks!

    Gaye

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello Gaye
    The Corn Grinder sometime could be found at the Hispanic grocery stores and also online. The brand of my corn grinder is called "Estrella" but you can also find the brand "Corona".

    I will send you and email with a link to a place where you could buy it online for 40 dlls.

    Regards,

    Mely

    ReplyDelete
  19. Then, after I make and grind the fresh masa, do I just work that into a dough ball and proceed the same as with store bought masa?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am thrilled to have found your blog! Thanks for commenting over at mine!!
    I love this! But I have a question-do you use this fresh masa right away to make tortillas? Duh right? Or do you have to dry the masa? I am just so used to using dried masa, but I love this idea! I could make big bathes of fresh tortillas and use them right away. AND I bet it would be easier and cheaper to buy non-GMO corn in bulk rather than non-GMO prepared masa, which is really tough.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello,

    You can use it right away. That is when it taste the best. But I make a large batch almost every 2 weeks and just after grinding pack in my foodsaver or ziploc bags and place in the fridge. One thing I do now is to grind the corn without adding water. Water seems to spoil the masa faster. I add the water right after making the tortillas.

    Mely

    ReplyDelete
  22. And here is just what I need to do it! Yolanda

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi

    This is excellent - thanks for posting. Is there any way or quantity to use fresh line juice vs the powdered? Any experience with using blue corn for these?

    Thanks!

    Scott

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lime in this recipe is not the citrus fruit. It is hydrated lime, aka calcium hydroxide. It is derived from quicklime (calcium oxide), which is derived from limestone. You can buy it on Amazon and in the canning area (near the mason jars) at the grocery store under the name Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime.

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much Michelle,

      This information will be of great help for many trying to make masa at home.

      Mely

      Delete
    3. Where do I find the corn?

      Delete
    4. Hello Anonymous,

      Latin stores in some areas, specially big cities are now carrying white and blue corn. But you can also buy it online doing some research. Just look for field dented corn.

      Delete
  24. Hi

    This is excellent - thanks for posting. Is there any way or quantity to use fresh line juice vs the powdered? Any experience with using blue corn for these?

    Thanks!

    Scott

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Scott,

      The lime used in this process is calcium hydroxide also know as picklIng lime and it is very different to limes. You can find it in the canning supply section of your supermarket.

      Thank you for visiting.

      Mely

      Delete
  25. How much tortilla do you typically get from this recipe? I have a family of four, trying to avoid wasting food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jaden,

      I wish I could answer your question, but I usually store the masa in small bags in the freezer and use it as needed for different dishes like sopes, tortillas, or other Mexican antojitos. The exact amount of tortillas this will render depends on the size and thickness you want to make them.

      You can also store the tortillas in freezer.

      Mely

      Delete
  26. Thank you for this recipe! My corn looked like yours, but yellow. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the masa because I have so much!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello Julie,

    If you are not using all the masa, then freeze it. Store in small freezer bags with about 1 pound each. The masa keeps well for months stored that way. When you are ready to use it, defrost the masa overnight and place it in a bowl. It will look grainy and crumbly. Place it in your microwave for about 45 seconds to a minute until soft and slightly warm. Add a few teaspoons of warm water and knead the dough until it is back to a nice workable texture.

    Please do not hesitate to write me if you have any questions about it. There are several recipes here in the blog using masa is you need more ideas to use it.

    Happy cooking.

    Mely

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow. I bet this tastes like nothing on earth! :-) I would make a LOT of it at a time and freeze or otherwise somehow preserve it, even if I made it all into chips!

    This makes me realize that there was a time, not so long ago, when the ONLY way to get masa was this way!

    Thanks for showing us how to do this.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Replies
    1. Hello Javier,

      Yes, you need to use it. Powdered lime also known as calcium hydroxide. Is you check the pictures above the one with a small plastic bag that has a white powder is the lime. You can find it in some Walmart stores in the canning section. (Where they sell the glass jars and pectic to make jam and jelly.)

      Delete
  30. Me encanta ver que no soy la unica persona que ha pensado en moler su propia masa haha me acuerdo que mi abuelita tambien hacia ese proceso de la cal pero para el pozole y tambien tenia un molino que usaba hasta para triturar vibora seca!!
    Quisiera intentarlo pronto, de seguro las tortillas salen deliciosas : )

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hola Natalia,

    La necesidad y el antojo provocaron el que cocine mi propio maiz. Lo bueno que tuve muchos años de experiencia en casa de mi abuela.

    Gracias por tu visita,

    Saludos

    ReplyDelete
  32. coffee temple varkalaNovember 3, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    we are making masa in india, though the tortillas are a little lumpy,we d love to find a nixtamatic for the taco shack, who exports them, also , can nixtal be used to make salsa?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Coffee Temple,

      Nixtamal is rarely used for salsas. it's more common in some stews where the corn masa is used as a thickening agent.

      Happy Cooking!

      Delete
  33. Hi there. Is this also the same recipe that is used for tamales? I used to get the masa mix from the tortilla factory and then mix the lard and broth and other things in it but now we've moved and cant even find a tortilla factory or hispanic food store that sells the masa mix for my tamales. I would like to try to make my own.
    Thank you!
    Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Diane,

      You can use this masa to make tamales. This masa is usually called masa for tortillas, but it is also used to make tamales by many cooks including myself. There are other types of process for tamales from central Mexico where the masa has a coarse texture or the masa is cooked like a gravy for tamales colados. But for most tamales this is the go to masa. Just add the lard and broth to get the consistency you are used to.

      Thank you fro stopping by. Happy cooking!

      Delete
  34. Would this be the same masa mix that is used for tamales? Other than mixing in the lard and broth, etc.?

    ReplyDelete
  35. can Maiz Blanco Trillado be used to make the masa?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello unknown,

      I am not sure, that type of corn is sold here to be grinded to make arepas Colombianas, but I couldn't find any information about the process to cook it.

      Delete
  36. I just bought an Estrella grinder, which looks just like yours above. There are no directions that came with it as far as how to adjust the grinder to grind course vs. fine. There were primitive (and small/hard to read) instructions for assembly; I'm pretty sure it's assembled right in other words. How does one adjust the grind on this grinder? HELP!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Trish,

      You would need to tighten up the butterfly type screws. There a 2 small ones, one in each side of the metal plates. And also the large one in front of the plates. Place a small amount of already cooked corn and start grinding to check for the texture. It has to be very fine. You will have to try 2 or three times until you find the right adjustment. Just be careful since those small screws tend to get loose if you tighten them too much.

      Please feel free to email me if you have more questions.

      Mely

      Delete
  37. Thanks so much! I recently moved from socal to Vietnam and was having a difficult time finding the things i needed to make tortillas de maiz. Definitely going to use your process so i can make tortillas for my friends out here. I'm so greatful for this information, you have no idea..

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hola, en Argentina no se consigue harina de maiz. La cal que usás es la misma cal que se utiliza en las construcciones? La cal con la que se hace mezcla para levantar paredes con ladrillos o tiene otra denominación la que se usa para cocinar?
    Por otro lado, si encontrara la forma de triturar aún más la polenta, es lo mismo?
    Acá sólo se consiguen tortillas de harina de trigo.
    Aguardo respuesta, muchas gracias.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola Lauchablanca,

      al parecer es la misma, el nombre químico es hidróxido de calcio, dihidróxido de calcio o cal hidratada (otros sinónimos: hidrato de cal, cal apagada, cal muerta, cal aérea apagada, cal de construcción, cal química, cal fina, cal de albañilería, flor de cal, cal Viena)

      Espero la encuentres en t area.

      Saludos!

      Delete
    2. La Polenta, es el maiz molido, pero no esta nixtamlizado, por lo tanto la textura no sera igual. Espero puedas conseguir maíz y prepaprar tu propia masa. Suerte y saludos!

      Quedo a tus ordenes.

      Delete
    3. Si no es posible obtener cal, se puede utilizar las cenizas puras y blancas de la madera dura o las cenizas blancas de chamisa. Se puede usar un litro de cenizas en dos litros de agua y 1 kilo de maíz entero. He hecho esto en el invierno cuando tengo cenizas, que son más baratos que cal.

      He leído que los indios de Nuevo México y Arizona pusieron cenizas limpias y tamizadas y blancos (las cenizas de un fuego caliente de chamisa o los verdes de enebro) en maíz molido. Creo que cocinaban esto como gachas o como tamales o como bolas de masa hervida en estofado de carne. No creo que ellos hicieron tortillas de eso, pero no sé con certeza. Creo que utilizan partes iguales de cenizas tamizadas y maíz molido. No he probado esto. Yo no lo intentaría sin que alguien me podría enseñar exactamente cómo se hace. También he leído que hicieron agua ceniza, deje que las cenizas se depositan y se vierte el agua alcalina clara en el maíz molido. Esto fue en lugar de pusar las cenizas al maíz molido directamente. No he probado eso. Me parece un poco peligroso si no sabes exactamente qué hacer. (Por favor, perdóname si mi español está lleno de errores.)

      If you cannot find cal, it is possible to use clean white ashes from hardwood or from chamisa. One liter of ashes in two liters of water and one kilogram of whole corn. I have done this in the winter when I have ashes, which are cheaper than cal.

      I have read that the Indians of New Mexico and Arizona put clean sifted white ashes (the ashes of chamisa or the ashes of juniper greens) into ground corn. I believe that they cooked this as a porridge or as tamales or as dumplings boiled in a meat stew. I do not think that they made tortillas from that, but I do not know this for certain. I think that they used equal parts of sifted ashes and ground corn. I have not tried that myself. I would not try it unless somebody could teach me exactly how to do it. I have also read that they made ash water, letting the ashes settle and pouring off the clear alkaline water into the ground corn. This is instead of putting the ashes directly into the ground corn. I have not tried this. To me, it seems a bit dangerous if you do not know exactly what you are doing.

      Delete
  39. Hello Mely,
    Love the illustrations and step by step instructions. I have a question, how can I make or what ingredients are needed to make masa fina? I've searched the internet and I can't find an answer. Hope you or someone can help.

    Thank you,
    Adriana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Adriz,

      There is a process to make masa fina, the one used for some tortillas and small breads, that requires to grind the dough on the metate stone first, them sun dry the dough. When the dough is completely dry, the dough is grinded again with piloncillo on the Metate Stone. Is this what you are looking for? Because there is also a "masa fina" to make wheat breads.

      Mely

      Delete

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