My mother recently made a video making homemade flour tortillas and it made me think about a tortilla press. Flour tortilla dough is too stretchy and elastic to be pressed out in a tortilla press. Flour tortillas must be rolled out with a palote (rolling pin). We do not use a tortilla press to make flour tortillas, but we do use a tortilla press to make delicious homemade corn tortillas and lots of other great recipes.
Many of the common tortilla presses I have encountered use cheap finishes and hardware that wears out quickly and rusts. Personally, I really like the IMUSA cast iron tortilla press. The plates are heavy, which means you don’t need to physically apply as much force to the handle to get a good even press. The cast iron has a non-stick finish, and the pivot pin is aluminum, so you don’t have to worry about rust.
With a tortilla press you can make huaraches — A huarache is flat bread made with masa. It looks slightly like a thin sandal sole, hence the name huarache. Molotes (Oaxacan Masa Empanadas) can also be made using a tortilla press. Molotes are made with a disk of fresh masa then usually filled with a chorizo and potato filling, fried, then topped with salsa, crema, queso fresco, and garnished with sliced radishes. Sopes can also be made in a tortilla press. They are small, round, tartlet-like cakes made with masa.
If you need other ideas on what to make with a tortilla press please be sure to check out this great video by Zarela Martinez: Corn Tortillas, Picadas, Sopes and Tlacoyos Demonstration.