Botanical Name: Zea Mays
Masa, the Spanish word for "dough," is the traditional dough used to make corn tortillas. It is made with hominy, or dried corn kernels that have been cooked and soaked in lime water, which are then ground into masa. Masa harina is flour made from dried masa.
Production: to make hominy, field corn (maize) grain is dried and then treated by soaking and cooking the mature (hard) grain in a diluted solution of lime (calcium hydroxide) or wood ash, a process termed nixtamalization developed in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago. Lime and ash are highly alkaline which help the dissolution of hemicellulose (glue-like component of the maize cell walls), loosens the hulls from the kernels, and softens the corn for grinding.
Qualities: This process also changes the structure of the corn, freeing the nutritionally rich niacin so that it can be easily absorbed into the digestive track. In addition, calcium is gained from the lime used as an alkali. The nixtamalization process also balances the amino acids, accessing more usable protein from the corn.
Common use: Masa harina is most commonly used to make tortillas, but it is also featured in other delicious dishes including tamales, pupusas, and arepas.
Storage: keeps well in a sealed container in a cool, dry, and dark location
Disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA or CFIA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This product has been packaged in the same facility as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, and other potential allergens.
- Mix salt into the masa harina corn flour. Slowly pour the water into the dough to get a good consistency. The dough should be firm and springy when touched, not dry or sticky. Let rest for about an hour, covered with a damp towel.
- Preheat a griddle or flat surface. Divide the dough into 2 inch balls. Press dough between two pieces of waxed paper, or flatten according to a tortilla press directions, into 6-inch circles. Place flattened dough on a hot griddle or flat surface and cook until the top of the tortilla starts to look cooked, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and heat for another minute.