This recipe uses timing that was laid out in Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman's Tacos: Recipes and Provocations. You'll need a tortilla press and either two cast-iron pans or a double-burner griddle. Lining the tortilla press with plastic is essential; the kind they use to make very thin, crinkly plastic bags works best.
Makes 12 tortillas.
1 cup masa harina
1 1/8 cup warm water
1. In a large bowl, pour the water over the harina and stir with a wooden spoon until the masa is moistened, then knead it together till it holds in a ball. It should be moist, but not sticky; it shouldn't stick to your hands. If it's not moist enough, add a little more water and knead again; if it's too moist, add a little more harina and knead. Cover with a damp towel.
2. Place a two-burner griddle over both burners. Heat one over medium-high heat and the other over medium heat for about five minutes. Meanwhile, cut a large piece of plastic. Fold it in half, open your tortilla press You want it to line the bottom, with the fold laying against the press' hinge, and the other half covering the top.
3. Roll a ball of masa about the size of a golf ball (maybe a wee bit smaller) and put it in the center of the bottom of the press. Making sure the plastic will sandwich the ball, close the press and pull down the lever gently. Open the press, lift the plastic with the tortilla, open your palm, lay the tortilla flat in your palm, peel off the plastic, and place the tortilla on the less-hot part of the griddle or less-hot pan. Cook it for 15 seconds.
4. Use a metal spatula to flip it over onto the hotter side of the griddle or hotter pan and cook it for 30 seconds. Flip it again, still on the hot side, and cook for another 10 seconds, then flip a final time and cook 10 seconds more, at which point it may puff a bit. Place it in your tortilla basket, if it's to be eaten immediately or very soon, or better yet, in an insulated fabric tortilla warmer, which can keep them warm for more than an hour.