Here’s a complete guide on how to make homemade nixtamalized corn masa:
- Dried corn kernels (preferably dent or field corn)
- Food-grade lime (calcium hydroxide)
- Salt (optional)
- Large pot
- Food-grade plastic gloves
- Food processor or metate (traditional Mexican grinding stone)
- Plastic wrap or ziplock bags
- Rinse the corn kernels and remove any debris or broken kernels.
- In a large pot, combine the corn kernels with enough water to cover them by at least two inches. Add 2 tablespoons of food-grade lime per pound of corn.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the corn simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. The corn should be soft and the skins should start to come off.
- Drain the water and rinse the corn thoroughly under cold running water. Use your hands or a colander to rub off the skins and rinse away any remaining lime.
- Place the corn in a large bowl and cover with water. Let it soak for 8-12 hours, or overnight.
- Drain the water and rinse the corn again. Rub the kernels together to remove any remaining skins.
- In a food processor or metate, grind the corn into a fine masa. If the masa is too dry, add small amounts of water until it forms a pliable dough.
- Knead the masa for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If desired, add salt to taste.
- Divide the masa into small balls, about the size of a golf ball.
To make tortillas, flatten the masa balls into circles using a tortilla press or a rolling pin between two pieces of plastic wrap. Cook the tortillas on a hot, dry griddle or comal until they are lightly browned and slightly puffed up.
Store the masa in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage.
- Martínez, J. (2010). The Art of Mexican Cooking. HarperCollins.
- Beranbaum, R. (2003). The Bread Bible. W. W. Norton & Company.
- Zeldes, L. (2011). Nixtamalization: A Mesoamerican Technology to Produce Masa and Tortillas. Illinois Heritage, 14(1), 6-11.