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Masa from Scratch!

September 4th, 2009 · by Cyndi · 106 Comments

Hand shaped tortillas from homemade masa

Hand shaped tortillas from homemade masa

Masa, the corn dough used to make tortillas, tamales, pupusas, and more, is quickly becoming one of my favorite kitchen staples.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to get good quality product.  Even in Mexico, shops with fresh masa for home use are disappearing in favor of the powdered stuff.

I began my quest in early 2008.  My daughter’s 3rd birthday was coming up and I wanted to have a taco bar.  I looked and looked for plain fresh tortillas for sale but found nothing suitable.  I live in a semi-rural agricultural part of the San Francisco Bay Area.  You can’t do a cartwheel without hitting a Mexican neighborhood, market, or restaurant.  But almost every last tortilla I found had preservatives in it.  Why on earth??  Trader Joe’s has some pretty good ones, the “handmade” ones, but they’re a bit pricey for a large party, and they aren’t organic.  Whole Foods has organic tortillas with good ingredients but they’re dreadful.  Okay if fried hard but just horrible if you try to make them soft, like a real taco.

The first stop in my masa journey was the powdered stuff.  Masa harina.  Maseca brand.  I made pretty good (and very cheap) tortillas from it.  They tasted much the same as commercial tortillas…because most of those are made from the powder too.  It’s not organic, it’s probably GMO, it leaves a junky feeling in my stomach, but it’s easy to find, easy to store, and moderately easy to make.  It’s good in a pinch but is sort of like buying squishy “wheat” bread from a bag instead of baking your own from whole grains.

I’ve looked but haven’t found organic masa harina (harina means flour).  Bob’s Red Mill makes a non-organic one that is pretty decent.  Worlds better than Maseca but it still gives me that icky tummy and, like all masa harina, is difficult to work with and shape into anything but basic tortillas.

My next discovery was a true masa shop, practically in my backyard.  Primavera in Sonoma, California.  For a mere $1.50 a pound, I could buy beautiful organic whole grain masa, ready to cook.  Unfortunately, “practically” means a 45 minute drive each way and I have been having trouble sourcing it anywhere else.  The only Farmer’s Markets they sell at are an hour away and the stores they sell their finished products at don’t carry the masa because it’s so perishable (you can’t freeze it and it’s best used within a couple of days, though it will not go bad for a week or slightly more).  I was special ordering it from my local Whole Foods but they decided this was too much trouble.  I met their early morning delivery truck in parking lots a couple of times but, with a child in tow, this got to be a hassle.

The next step was obvious, I was going to have to make my masa myself.  But how?  First I (re)discovered the Good Eats (Alton Brown on the Food Network) episode where he makes it, effortlessly of course.

Then I worked on ingredients.  You need field corn for this, which simply means the kind of corn used for cornmeal, not for corn on the cob or popcorn.  Azure Standard to the rescue!  They grow their own and a 5 lb bag of organic dried field corn is a mere $3.05.  Note: you really do want organic here (or at least buy from a farmer you know isn’t using GE seeds or spraying).  Almost all field corn in the US is genetically engineered (and heavily sprayed).  Organic is not.

Next you need Cal, short for calcium hydroxide aka slaked lime (get food grade, not the grade for cement or whitewashing walls!).  Most Mexican markets will have this.

Calcium Hydroxide for making masa

Calcium Hydroxide for making masa

The only other ingredients are water and salt but you do need a stainless steel (or other non-reactive) pot, a stove, and a food processor.  In my net searches, I came across another blogger, Rancho Gordo, who made masa using Alton Brown’s recipe.  My heart sank as I read their difficulty in getting the food processor method to work.  But I decided to plow ahead anyway.  And I’m glad I did, mine came out wonderful!

It’s pretty easy.  Measure 6 cups of water (I use filtered since the corn will absorb it) into a pot, add 2 tablespoons of cal, and stir as you gently heat the water.

Soaking the corn in lime water

Soaking the corn in lime water

When the lime is dissolved (a few seconds), add 2 cups of corn.  Rinse it first, though I forgot the first time and it didn’t seem to matter (since you will rinse later).  Bring to a boil then turn off the heat.  Alton Brown insists that you do this slowly, with the time to boil taking half an hour or more.  I did that the first time but the second time I forgot to watch it carefully and it boiled quicker and stayed at a boil for a few minutes.  Oops.  Didn’t make a big difference, though it absorbed more water.

Turn off the heat, cover, and let it sit overnight (I’m not sure what the minimum time for sitting is).  If you can’t get to it the next morning, no problem.  My second batch sat for almost 24 hours.  It swelled up more but was still firm enough to rub and rinse.

Dump into a colander and drain out the excess lime water.

Corn after soaking in lime water

Corn after soaking in lime water

Now comes the fun part.  Soak in fresh water (I use tap water here), rub, rinse, repeat.  Alton Brown says 5-6 minutes of rubbing while rinsing.  I wasn’t that throgho.  I put the colander in a larger bowl, fill with water, rub for a while, pour off the skins, add more water, rub, drain and rinse, etc.  Remember the purpose of the lime is to change the protein content and texture.  It’s not essential to remove the skins.

At the end, soak in fresh water for a couple minutes and repeat.  Then drain and process along with a teaspoon of salt.  Alton Brown makes it seem easy, with just a few pulses and 4-5 TB of water.  I found it takes more than that.  I pulse at first, scrapping down the sides as needed, but then just let it run.

Masa after a trip in the food processor

Masa after a trip in the food processor

The first time I did use way too much water, as you can see above.  I put in about 10 oz (20 TB).  It made a nice smooth product but not one I could shape with my hands.  I still managed to make yummy tortillas though, so no great loss.

The second time I used half as much water (about 5 oz or 10 TB) and the masa came out lovely.  Not quite as smooth as my first batch, or as Primavera’s gorgeous product, but very usable and delicious.  It was still a little wetter than I would have liked but I could shape it by hand (see tortillas at the top of the page) and could have made pupusas or other foods from it.  See below.

Finished masa ready to shape and cook

Finished masa ready to shape and cook

Cost is pretty low too.  One batch (2 cups of corn) costs 61 cents for the corn (would be less if I bought it in 25 or 50 lb bags), 13 cents for the cal (again, I could buy in bulk and save), and another couple pennies for the water, salt, and electricity.  So let’s say 75 cents for enough masa to make 15-20 medium organic whole grain tortillas (masa weight will vary depending on how long you soaked it for and how much water you added). This is expensive compared to Maseca masa harina, which runs $4-6 for enough flour to make a couple hundred tortillas.  But less than Primavera masa or any finished tortillas you can buy.

All in all, is it worth it?  So far, yes.  My masa has a wonderful corn flavor, a great texture, and is making excellent tortillas (and soon to be making pupusas, challah, and other cool things).  It takes 2 minutes to set up at night, another few minutes to watch it and then cover, and 10 minutes to make the next day.  Tortillas take a couple minutes to make and cook.  Someone into convenience foods would be put out, but it’s really nothing in the great scheme of things.


Categories: Food · Grains · Recipes
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106 responses so far ↓

  • 1 les // Jun 14, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Thanks, this hominy doesnt have skin, its a little bitty, last nights soaking made a nice masa,if slightly wet, but too bitter to eat. So this one is just 1 level desertspoon of cal. i take it theres no point in kneading the dough?

  • 2 Cyndi // Jun 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Oh I see what’s happening. You’re adding cal to the hominy. But hominy is already processed with cal. If it’s dried, I suggest you soak it in plain water, then blend. If it’s canned, I suggest just blending.

    If you do add cal, it also has to be to dried corn so you can completely rinse it away before processing. Do not reuse the soaking water if there is cal in it. Do not add cal to the masa.

  • 3 les // Jun 16, 2013 at 5:29 am

    thanks Cyndi, so yesterdays masa tasted about right, with that lovely smell which reminds me of mothballs(showing my age) and it was again too wet , tempting to put too much water in the processor. but im after a more flexible dough, the dough im making seems very ”short” and falls apart.Im off to India next week to start the taco shack annex. where i hope to find the right field corn. i expect itll need pickin over!

  • 4 Cyndi // Jun 16, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Hi Les, I hear you on the water thing. Part of the problem is that a food processor really isn’t the right tool for the job. You need a specialty grinder, but they are expensive and heavy. Though who knows? maybe there is a grinder you’ll find in India that will work but was designed for other things.

    But “short” dough is okay because you aren’t rolling it out, you’re kneading some and pressing.

    Good luck with the taco shack!!

  • 5 les // Jun 17, 2013 at 4:01 am

    oh, i didnt knead the last batches as i thought theres no gluten -no need to knead!

  • 6 Leticia // Aug 28, 2013 at 2:04 am

    Wow, unbelievable, how much trouble one has to go in order to eat what used to be what God intended for us, and now we call it healthy.
    I grew up making tortillas myself, and seeing my Dad cultivating maze, and living in the countryside.
    In view that Monsanto has contaminated the seed the God made to sustain his creation, I am working myself to find out here in Southern CA how to get all the ingredients to make my own tortillas from scratch. I just need a corn grinder, whole corns, cal, and my knowledge.
    Cindy, I see all the trouble you had to go in order to make tortillas.
    This is the way I make the masa:
    I put the the whole corns in the water, add the cal(not too much not too little, I have the measure in my head), and cook it until the corns are cooked(again, the time is when I see with my eyes and touch with my fingers), and they peel easily. Usually when all the starch in the kernell in cooked, then is done.
    Everybody cooks the maize differently. My aunt likes the tortillas a little cranchy, and for that she does not cook the maize as much as I do. When you cook the maize well done, the tortillas are very pliable, soft. If the maize is cooked on the raw side, then the tortillas are crunchy at the end when coming out of the comal, or grill. I am pretty sure by this time, you already know all these things.
    I am glad I found this web page, because I know now I am not the only one making my own tortillas. I also make pupusas from scratch.
    Thank you for your page, and effort
    Kindly, Leticia

  • 7 Leticia // Aug 28, 2013 at 2:14 am

    I forgot to say that you don’t have to leave the maize socking in water for hours.
    After the maize is cooked, inmediately put it in a bowl and run cold water to eat and start massaging it in order to peel it. All the peel and eyes will fall off. Continue doing that untill is totally cleaned, then pass through the grinder. Making sure the grinder is tight enoug for fine masa, and not course. Your masa is ready for making anything you wanted: tamales, pupusas, pastelitos, etc.

  • 8 Cyndi // Aug 28, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Thank you Leticia for your insightful comments. It is true that we have lost much of the food knowledge of previous generations, living in a time when processed is “better” and generally cheaper.

    This is nowhere more true than with tortillas. Maseca is like Monsanto, in terms of using corruption to change the food supply. But when you look at fancy food sites and programs, Top Chef, Food 52, and more, when they make tortillas “from scratch” they bring out a bag of Maseca (there is organic masa flour if there is a time constraint but no, they use the big corporate GMO version).

    My ancestry isn’t from the Americas so tortilla making isn’t something I learned from my mom and grandmother. I’d have to learn it as an adult regardless. But I consider myself very very lucky to have learned home cooking and traditional family recipes, even if I don’t remember all the details, I still have the sense of them. In my case, that’s Polish/Russian Jewish cookery and Hungarian (Jewish and classic).

    Back to a practical note, could you share what type of grinder you use? It’s not obvious to those of us who have (likely) never seen one.


  • 9 Sandra // Sep 8, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I was disappointed in my results. I followed the recipe to the letter and quite honestly, couldn’t stand the smell and taste of the lime. I am going to try again today with a reduced amount of lime. I’ll let you know how it goes ….

  • 10 Sandra // Sep 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Just finished another batch. Cut the lime to 2 teaspoons, made a huge difference. Cooked on low heat to a boil over the course of 2 hours. Then cleaned and scrubbed the corn. Let sit in the colander for 2 hours to dry out somewhat. Put into my vitamix with about 3 tablespoons of water and blended it. Had to add a bit of water toward the end. Took it out, kneaded it, rolled it into balls and put it into my tortilla press. The tortillas are soooooooooo much better … cooked nicely and I was able to make them super thin. Will fry some up for tortilla chips – the rest for enchiladas and tacos.

  • 11 Leticia // Sep 9, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Thank you dear Cyndi for your comment.
    I apologise for the delay in responding you.
    I am working on the mill. I bought one, but still not the right one. I have to buy another one to try it, because I have not made tortillas from scratch for so many years that the mill I used in those years is gone and forgotten, and it was not in this country. I went downtown Los Angeles and bought one but still was not the right one, the masa came out too course, no matter how tight the disks were. It had to do with the grooves, they are too deep. My friend who installed it, says he will fix them, he will file them to the desire deph. But I will buy another one perhaps from Amazon. So, for now I need some days to do that.
    I will post the info asap.
    With regard to the amount of lime to cook the corn, I did it the way I remembered, it is by taste. I cookd only 2 cups of corn, and adjusted the lime according to my taste, as I did when I was a little girl(yes, we worked when we were 8-10 y.o.)
    The solution does not have to be so strong, and not too weak. But eventually, I will measure with a teaspoon,tablespoon and water ratio to post it, so I can be of help to others.
    Thank you for reading.

  • 12 Gabriel // Oct 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    My mom claims she made tamales from scratch no lard needed when growing up. This looks like the recipe , only difference is used baby corn which retains a bit more water but did say that pealing the corn was necessary. Interesting to know, I will try it this week see how it goes.

  • 13 Cyndi // Nov 11, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Hi Gabriel,

    I’m wondering how she used baby corn. Did she skip the nixtamalation? Also, you can’t peel baby corn. Perhaps she doesn’t mean baby corn but rather a young or small corn kernel? Baby corn is the entire cob, but so little that you can eat the entire thing, once husked.

  • 14 Carol // Nov 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Hello Cyndi,

    After checking several sites, I came across yours and I learned so much reading all the comments and tips for making masa, hominy and tortillas. I have always grown Painted Mountain corn, and only have used it for cornmeal, grinding it and keeping the flour in the freezer. A person can only eat so much bread and I wanted to do more with it. Finally found the lime at a Walmart and used a recipe out of Mother Earth News. 2lbs of our dried corn, 1/4 cup of lime and 3 quarts of water. Brought it to a boil and simmered for 15 minutes. Let cool and it can set for 4 hours to overnight. I let it set about 6. Used a food processor to make the Masa. Some corn was set aside for hominy. The hominy is done, and the masa was perfect! The tortillas are wonderful and the hominy has that distinctive hominy flavor and texture. I am going to try and freeze some of the masa to see if that will still produce good tortillas later. I mentioned growing our own corn, and after reading comments from those that can’t find a good source for corn, for those that can, try growing it yourselves. We are at around 6500 feet and are very successful with our variety, our plot isn’t very big and we get about 10lbs of dried corn. It is multicolored and beautiful as ears on our table in the fall. Now that I have branched out more using the corn, we will probably have to plant a bit more! So excited, fun to learn new things.

  • 15 Cyndi // Nov 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Carol, thanks for your comments. I’ve tried growing my own corn and found that you really need a good sized plot to get enough pollination to fill out the ears. I did one that was 10×10 feet and it wasn’t really big enough. Maybe the variety matters.

    I’d love to hear how your freezing experiment goes. I’ve found that freezing ruins the texture for tortillas, but I was still able to use it for a “tortilla pie.” You might have better luck making extra tortillas and freezing them. They do freeze very well.

  • 16 Shelly // Nov 19, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Carol thanks for your info. We have grown Painted Mountain corn for over 5 years now, saving our own seed and selecting the best to plant the next year. I have been making cornbread with it, but now want to try tortillas. So glad I found this site and read everything everyone has added. Look forward to trying it out.

  • 17 Sandra Price // Aug 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I make my own tortillas and often let the field corn soak for 2-4 days, sometimes more. The longer it soaks the fluffier the masa. The kernels are slightly less firm and break down more quickly in my food processor. When starting out, I just bring the water and kernels to a boil, boil for 5 minutes, add the lime water and then cover and let it sit for 2-4 days, rinse thoroughly in a colander about 2 minutes, moving the kernels around to make sure all the lime water is rinsed off. I fill my processor bowl about 1/3 full of kernels with 2 tablespoons of water to start with. Process for about 1 minute then look at it. If it actually looks dry, add 1 tablespoon of water and process for another 1-2 minutes. Avoid adding too much water or the consistency will be too gluey. I usually end up adding about 4-5 tablespoons but this is approx. you need to feel the dough. Make sure to process tge dough until it is almost smooth. Grab a small chunk and see how it feels. It should easily hold together and feel almost smooth with a little but of graininess, but not too much.

  • 18 Cyndi // Aug 13, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Thanks Sandra, this is great info. It hadn’t occurred to me to try soaking the corn longer.

  • 19 Sandray Price // Aug 13, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I make my own tortillas and often let the field corn soak for 2-4 days, sometimes more. The longer it soaks the fluffier the masa I have noticed. The kernels are slightly less firm and break down more quickly in my food processor when I soak them for longer periods of time. When starting out, I just bring the water and kernels to a boil, boil for 5 minutes, add the lime water and then cover and let it sit for 2-4 days, rinse thoroughly in a colander about 2 minutes, moving the kernels around to make sure all the lime water is rinsed off. I fill my processor bowl about 1/3 full of kernels with 2 tablespoons of water to start with. Process for about 1 minute then look at it. If it actually looks dry, add 1 tablespoon of water and process for another 1-2 minutes. Avoid adding too much water or the consistency will be too gluey. I usually end up adding about 4-5 tablespoons but this is approx. you need to feel the dough. Make sure to process the dough until it is almost smooth. Grab a small chunk and see how it feels. It should easily hold together and feel almost smooth with a little but of graininess, but not too much. Stop every so often and push the masa down so it gets mixed evenly. While processing, my dough gets warm due to the friction produced by the blade of the processor, so I stop every minute or so and let it rest for a minute and move the masa around do it mixes evenly. I would never use a Vitamix or Blendtec to grind/process the field corn. Masa is way too heavy and it may ruin the blender.

  • 20 Sandray Price // Aug 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Cyndi: I’d be interested in anyone’s experience with a tortilla press. I have a IMUSA cast iron 8″, but I’m still not getting the nice thin tortillas I’d like. There is an enamel coated large square press I’ve seen a Culinary Arts Institute video, but the only reference/source I could find online said it is made in Guadalajara and must be purchased there.

  • 21 Cyndi // Aug 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I’d love to hear what people have to say about this too.

  • 22 Les // Aug 13, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Hi again, back in Kerala and we re putting 18 mexican dishes on our menu. I found a hand grinder that makes a pretty good masa from the big bags of maize, but we cant get the hulls to loosen.
    Have we the wrong kind of maize, i would guess that its animal feed lol

  • 23 Les // Aug 13, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I cant wait to get a nixtamatic, ive a friend whos going back to mexico will try to send it.

  • 24 Joanne // Feb 17, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    We’re looking for white cut (versus whole kernel) hominy corn that is organic, or at least non-GMO.
    This is what we use to make arepas. In Colombia it’s called “maiz trillado blanco.” Does anyone know of any sources?
    Alternatively, if anyone knows of a source of organic or non-GMO masarepa (or a way to make it from scratch), PLEASE let me know asap!
    Muchisimas Gracias!

  • 25 Leticia // Feb 17, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    This comment is in response to Joanne.
    I found a video on youtube, I am sending it here for her to see how to male the dough for arepas from scratch.
    They say that pozole is made with the same process as for arepas colombianas. So, Joanne if you know how to make it, then you can make from scratch, just buy the organic corn.
    Keep researching for organic corn for arepas. You can actually ask your friends from Colombia to send you the organic corn from there.
    Thank you,

  • 26 Joanne // Feb 17, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks Leticia!

    I can find organic or non-GMO white whole kernel corn, i.e. the variety of hominy corn that is used for pozole.

    What I need is CUT (versus whole) kernel corn to make the arepas the way we like to make them! (Goya sells it this way in packages as Maiz Trillado Blanco, but I would imagine it’s not organic or non-GMO).

    Any information in this regard would be greatly appreciated!

  • 27 Cyndi // Feb 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Joanne, have you tried making it from the whole corn kernels? I would think that the only difference is in how fast they cook. If you soak the whole corn longer, that may cut the cooking time. Once the corn is soft, you can grind it up. That ‘s my guess anyway. If it doesn’t work, please post.

  • 28 Cyndi // Feb 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    I’m curious so I’ve been doing some research. It seems that the dried corn you use for arepas is the same as hominy. Hominy isn’t just white corn, which you can find dried. It’s corn that has been dried after being treated with lime. In powder form it’s what we all know as masa harina. What you’re looking for seems to be also called hominy grits.

    If the white corn you have has been treated with lime then you only have to soften it in water and follow your recipe, though it will be faster and easer with grits. You could even use harina.

    But of course it’s much tastier if you do it yourself. I’d simply make a masa from white corn, doing the nixtamalization yourself. As per above.

    Good luck!

  • 29 Cyndi // Feb 17, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Rancho Gordo makes some dried hominy It isn’t organic and doesn’t say non_GMO but there’s a good chance. Worth asking.

    This site shows how to make hominy from dried corn. Similar to making masa, with some differences.

  • 30 Joanne // Feb 17, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks so much for all of your research and information, Cyndi …

    Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

    “The dough can be prepared two ways. The traditional, labor-intensive method requires the maize grains to be soaked, then peeled and ground in a large mortar known as a pilón. The pounding removes the pericarp and the seed germ, as only the endosperm of the maize seed is used to make the dough. The resulting mixture, known as mortared maize, or maíz pilado, was normally sold as dry grain to be boiled and ground into dough.

    The most popular method today is to buy cooked arepa maizemeal or flour. The flour is mixed with water and salt, and occasionally oil, butter, eggs, and/or milk. Because the flour is already cooked, the blend forms into patties easily. After being kneaded and formed, the patties are fried, grilled, or baked. This production of maize is unusual for not using the nixtamalization, or alkali cooking process, to remove the pericarp of the maize kernels. Arepa flour is lower in nutritive value than nixtamal, with its niacin value reduced by half.”

    We’ve been purchasing and using white hominy corn which appears to be cut. The problem is that it’s not organic or non-GMO. We rinse it, cover it with water, cook it in the slow cooker overnight, drain and rinse it again in the morning (we save the cooking water and some of the kernels for soup stock), put it in a plastic zip-lock bag and mash it, add in some grated cheese (asadero is best), form it into patties, put them onto a lightly oiled griddle and cook them on both sides until golden brown.

  • 31 Jorai // May 6, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Does anyone know if using a Vitamix blender would turn the lime-treated corn into a nice masa? I’ll be placing my order for organic whole corn with Azure this month, and want to try to be ready to cook when I get the corn. I’m so excited to be able to make healthy and affordable masa to cook with for my family.

    Thanks so much for posting all of your work and research!! I am on a quest to make organic masa. It has been difficult so far! I have not found any organic masa in my area of Ventura, CA. Please post if you know of any.

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one NOT wanting pesticides and GMOs in my family’s food.

  • 32 Cyndi // May 6, 2015 at 8:34 am

    My guess is no. Because a blender needs more water than masa should have in order to blend properly. Even with a tamper. And because you want it a bit coarse. But hey, try it and report back!

  • 33 Sly // May 6, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I have used my Vitamix to make the masa – it does work just fine. You have more work involved than if you used a food processor – gotta use the tamper a lot.

  • 34 Tracey // Jul 19, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Regarding baked tortilla chips: Easy-peasy. Lightly spray each tortilla w/oil, stack & cut into sixths. Spread in a single layer, salt & bake in a hot oven, pr’bly 375-ish. A variation would be squeezing limes over the tray before baking.

    You decide how much or little oil for your tastes. Overbaking tastes terrible (think burned popcorn), so watch carefully until you get to know your chips & oven.

  • 35 Chris Glenn // Oct 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Interesting…this link would not pull up on my server! (I use “Epic” Browser…very safe and no cookies allowed..and for this reason some web sites can not be accessed!…please no advertisements to my e-mail!)
    I thought you might find the post below interesting in regard to not being able to find Organic Masa..probably USDA requirements that anything “processed with the lime-water can not be considered “ORGANIC!” Chris
    Oh…and thanks what an amazing web site and string of comments…Oh, so very helpful!!!!
    One question…I know this is going to sound dumb….but I have to ask…your dried field corn you are using…do you buy it with the kernels already removed from the corn cobs..if not, how do you, you remove it from the cobs??
    Masa Harina | Organic & Specialty Flour
    Masa Harina is a type of Corn Flour made from sun dried posole that has been prepared with lime or wood-ash lye water. After being cooked, the posole is left to soak in the lime water over night and then it is ground into Masa. The dried Masa is known as masa harina. Because of this process it can’t be sold as organic . Masa is the Spanish word for dough and Harina is Spanish for flour .

  • 36 Cyndi // Oct 15, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Hi Chris. I don’t know why you had trouble with my site. It doesn’t have ads and only I, the siteowner, can see your email address. No one visiting the blog can see it.

    There is plenty of organic masa around. I’ve bought both certified organic fresh masa and masa harina. Lime is a non-agricultural ingredient that is on the Organic List, meaning it is allowed for use in organic products. I have no idea why that site you cite thinks products processed with lime water can not be organic. It’s utterly untrue.

    When I buy the field corn, it is in bags as actual kernels. No cobs. When you see fully dried cobs for sale, they’re meant to be decorative.

    Wow that site gets it totally wrong. Lime is not used after cooking and it is not left in the final product. You soak the dry (or fresh if you have them) kernels in lime then rinse really well. THEN you cook. If you leave the corn whole, it’s posole. If you grind it, it’s masa. If you grind it and dry it, it’s masa harina. Posole can be made with lye (sodium hydroxide) but masa never is.

  • 37 Chris Glenn // Oct 15, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Great web site, no troubles…Sorry just being cautious about the no advertisements..trying to keep my G-mail account relatively clutter free, unlike my yahoo e-mail!
    Thanks for everything and the explications!

  • 38 Diwali 2015 // Oct 20, 2015 at 10:25 am

    The most popular method today is to buy cooked arepa maizemeal or flour. The flour is mixed with water and salt, and occasionally oil, butter, eggs, and/or milk. Because the flour is already cooked, the blend forms into patties easily.

  • 39 Cyndi // Oct 20, 2015 at 10:59 am

    “Hi Diwali 2015.” In your arepa mix, is the cornmeal (maizemeal) nixtamalized? Or is it straight cornmeal with other ingredients added? For tortillas, tamales, and other masa products, you must have the nixtamalization.

  • 40 Christmas Quotes // Nov 27, 2015 at 7:38 am

    i tried to make masa but it becomes more you recommend any additonal component to add to this masa for tamales?

  • 41 Cyndi // Nov 27, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Generally, sticky means there’s too much water. But yes, I believe masa for tamales has a solid fat (usually lard) added. I haven’t (yet) made tamales.

  • 42 Luis Ramirez // Dec 2, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Thanks for posting this. I was searching for some organic masa and, fortunately, came across your site. It’s December (tamale season) and I need to get cooking.

  • 43 Virginia // Dec 7, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Silly as it sounds…being an American lnviig in Germany – THANK YOU for this…don’t know why I didn’t look on All Recipes before for this. Corn Tortillas are difficult to find if you don’t live in one of the major cities (I live two hours from Hamburg – the closest). So easy…and I can get the Masa online. Now if I could only get green chilies and real jalapenos so easily… Thanks again! You are a real blessing to us ex-pats!

  • 44 Cyndi // Dec 7, 2015 at 9:44 am

    You’re very welcome. Let us know how they turn out! Also check out my post on making tortillas from masa harina, which is what you can get online.

  • 45 Pradeep Ajinkya // Jan 21, 2016 at 9:41 am

    good information.Thank you with warm regards

  • 46 Susan // Jun 12, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    What an incredible chain of information! I love it and your other posts, Cyndi. I cannot wait to try making my own masa from the organic field corn we are growing this year (about 4 hours north of you, in far northern CA). Thank you, All, for the great information and personal insights!

  • 47 Cyndi // Jun 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks Susan!

  • 48 Dennis // Aug 16, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Hi Cyndi, I have just found your blog site and find it really good stuff, just what I wanted to find. I will next go to your website. Thank you for the brilliant posts and pics. Also good replies from your readers.
    Like it!
    Thank you.

  • 49 Rosh Hashanah // Sep 7, 2016 at 4:37 am

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one NOT wanting pesticides and GMOs in my family’s food.
    jewish new year celebration ideas

  • 50 Jeanne // Oct 14, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I went on this quest for making corn tortillas as well and ended up becoming a regular customer of Azure Standard after buying the 25 lb bag of white organic dent corn. I usually use 1 tbsp lime per lb of corn I process, and I often let it soak for 2-4 days. I do like the product I get better, the longer it soaks.

    I also went a step further and purchased an old Corona wet corn mill on Ebay. We took batches of the same corn for the same meal and ground it in both the hand mill (2x) and the Cuisinart, and there is a substantial difference in the product. As much of a hassle as it is to push that corn through the hand grinder a second time, the product is softer, fluffier, and the taste is better even. The softness and fluffiness translates after the cooking is done as well. Using them side by side for tacos and eggs ranchero, the difference was noticeable – sharp even. My husband, who hates the time it takes to do anything like this, admitted that the hand ground tasted far superior and he usually does not notice.

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