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Taco Shells


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#1 Wakeboarder

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:48 AM

I am looking for a good "soft" taco shell as a replacement to flour shells. I know you can buy soft corn shells, but I really don't like the taste of corn shells. I bought some shells at a local health food store and they are pretty good but they always crack and fall apart by the time I'm halfway through the taco. Annoying for me, but especially for my family. I'm the only one with Celiac and they're trying to go mostly gluten free for me, but it's hard for them to put up with a shell that falls apart every time when they could have the real flour thing. Anyway, any suggestions on how to prevent the cracking and breaking of shells?

I also tried making my own shells using a recipe I got off this site. They're actually quite good but it took FOREVER to cook them. After making the shells, I poured them into a frying pan, waited until the edges started pulling away and kept flipping them every 2 minutes until they looked done (per the instructions). Then I had to wait for the pan to cool down before I could cook another one, otherwise the shell would crack and break. I used 2 separate pan, but still it took me a few hours to make a batch. Is there any way to speed up this process or use the oven? Like I said, the shells were great but it took way too long.

Thanks!
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#2 ksymonds84

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 06:39 AM

I so totally agree with you! I buy the food for life soft taco's in the freezer section and although they have a great flavor, they always crack on me when I try to eat these as a soft taco! I've been told by the counter person at the health store that I would need to steam them but haven't tried that yet. I haven't made homemade one's yet but it sounds like it may be a hassle if I have to wait for the pan to cool down. Did your homemade one's at least fold nicely? I bake the store bought one's and make mexican pizza's out of them. I bake them for 3 minutes per side then top with refried beans, cheddar cheese, and taco meat. Bake another 5 minutes then top with lettuce, onions, sour cream, black olives etc. I also use this method to make pepperoni and sausage pizza's out of them. Gave up on soft taco's! Maybe someone else will have suggestions for us.
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#3 RiceGuy

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 07:34 AM

I also heard that steaming the shells will keep them from cracking, but since I don't eat tacos, I haven't tied it. As for making them less brittle, try adding a bit of guar gum to the recipe. Some other things which might help are potato flour (not starch), agar agar, gelatin, fruit pectin, buckwheat flour, or amaranth flour. All of these tend to hold moisture and make the finished product sorta soft, but too much would probably result in a gooey mess.

I'm not sure how to speed up cooking them, except maybe to bake them on large cookie sheets. Maybe cover the entire sheet with the batter, bake, then use a pizza wheel to cut them out. However, you'd have to cut them into squares, or there'd be a lot of waste.
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#4 Guest_AutumnE_*

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 07:50 AM

I have tried some wraps from celiac specialties (online store and bakery) that did pretty well.

Usually I end up making taco salad instead of tacos.
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#5 home_based_mom

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 07:55 AM

As for making them less brittle, try adding a bit of guar gum to the recipe.

I was going to suggest that, too. Try making your own tortillas totally from scratch by adding guar gum or xanthan gum to masa. Masa is cheap but the gums are not so it might not be worth the experiment unless you have a bag of one of the gums around anyway.

Do let us know! :)

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#6 elonwy

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 09:03 AM

Don't know where you are.. do you have Trader Joe's near you? Their Brown Rice Tortillas are fantastic and chewy, just like flour (not the taste, but the texture). They are bigger than a standard taco, but delicious. Tortilla factory also makes some Teff ones that are pretty good and they don't fall apart if you cook them right. Never, ever use the microwave to heat a gluten-free tortilla, as it doesn't work right. I always use a pan with some olive oil cooking spray on it (just a smidge to keep it from sticking).
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#7 linuxprincess

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 12:05 PM

I've found that sprouted corn tortillas are much more supple than the normal corn tortillas. I've also found that if you heat them up before you use them they tend to stay together much better, like the steaming method mentioned above.

I love making 2:30am tacos for some reason and I just plop some refried beans, rice, and guac on a corn tortilla and put it flat in a non stick skillet on medium for a minute or two. I fold it in 1/2 in the pan and flip it a few times. This usually holds together well for a slightly crispy, but held together taco. If you're doing enchiladas you can flash fry the tortillas in the skillet when you're done making the filling for about 30 seconds or so per side. Use as little oil as possible because they get soggy very quickly. If you work with them while they're still a bit hot but handle-able you get crispy taco shells. Good for taquitos! :D
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#8 susieg_1

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 07:00 PM

I have used my own thin pizza crust for tacos, small round and crisped in the oven. Fill and fold in half like a taco shell. Not the same as tortilla but if you dont like corn flavor this might appeal to you,
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#9 purple

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 07:44 PM

I have a recipe that we all love for homemade rice tortillas. It makes 6. I double it and fridge or freeze them. We like them better than wheat and even corn. They don't crack. They freeze well too. You can try to find it on Eating Gluten Free, Bette Hagman. I have altered her recipe and will try to post it soon. You will want to try my tips. Her recipe is the one with sour cream. She has another one with powdered milk somewhere but I haven't tried it. You will need parchment paper, its well worth it. I haven't tried this recipe for wraps but I am sure it will work. Be back as soon as I can.
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#10 rick_spiff

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 08:00 PM

They have the brown rice tortillas at the health food store. I like them way better than the corn.
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#11 larry mac

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 08:31 PM

I buy good flour tortillas for my family and eat corn myself. Sure it sucks, but why should they have to suffer, they don't have Celiac disease.

Tried Food For Life brown rice tortillas. They were inedible. Tried making my own from scratch. Total failure. Mostly eat nachos and chalupas/tostados now. Practically live on nachos. Chicken are my fav but also John Souls beef fajita meat cooked on the grill.

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#12 purple

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 10:50 AM

Ok, here it is: Gluten Free Tortillas modified from Bette Hagman's Rice Flour Tortillas
2 cups gluten-free mix
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water

Mix dry ingredients. Mix the hot water with the sour cream. Add to dry ingredients. Mix for 1 minute. The dough will be slightly sticky-more sticky than playdough, but less sticky than cookie dough. Roll out in between waxed paper or saran wrap. If the dough is too sticky, dust it with some of the gluten-free flour to keep it from sticking. Cook on a hot griddle about 1 minute per side.

gluten-free flour mix:

3 cups rice flour (I use white)
1 cup potato starch (not flour)
1/2 cup tapioca starch





My tips: Use parchment paper. In place of the salt use 1/4 tsp each of any of the following up to the 1 tsp. called for: seasoned salt, onion salt, garlic salt, onion powder, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash. Dust the parchment paper with flour if needed. Form dough into 6 larger or 7 smaller balls. Six balls should make 8inch shells. Put 1 ball between 2 papers. Then with a flat bottom dish like a pie plate(saves some time), press down hard. Remove dish and finish rolling out with the rolling pin to desired size and thickness. If your tortilla is an odd shape you can trim it with a knife and put the trimmings where you have a space. The dough is very easy to work with. If it tears just pinch it back together, I don't have a problem. Peel off the top paper, flip the tortilla onto your hand and peel off the other paper. Reuse the papers, if they get wrinkly its ok. The tortillas need to be thin but not like paper, they get fatter when you fry them. Oil a non stick pan and fry them on med or less, they need time to bake. I flip them with a spatula several times and cook them 3 or 4 minutes total until they get some brown spots and some air pockets. They never tear or crack or break. If you add alot of toppings you will want to make 6 or maybe 5. Freezing them: Double the recipe. I put them between parchment paper layers, onto a paper plate then into a ziploc bag, find a flat spot in your freezer. To thaw (tricky part): Thaw the package a few minutes like 15 or 20. Then separate each layer that you need and place them across the counter until thawed. Refreeze the unneeded ones. Fry as above. If you try to separate them before they thaw they will CRACK like taffy. Save the parchment paper by putting it back into the freezer in a bag. Reuse it(its expensive). Take it out and let it dry if needed. Fridge: Store in fridge for a few days in a bag like stated above, be sure the sour cream is not expired. To add protein, add 2 or 3 tsp of powdered whey, I am still working on the right amount to my taste so play with it. Also I have not tried freezing cooked ones. I use cooked ones in enchilada casseroles in place of the corn tortillas. Have fun, they are easy once you get the hang of it and very tastey. I haven't tried them cold like a sandwich yet. Sure would be easy for a bread replacement. Ranch Chicken Wraps mmm.... I thought about trying cinnamon in the recipe and filling with hot apple pie filling mmm... Pass on your ideas.
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Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

#13 mushroom

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 04:41 PM

Ok, here it is: Gluten Free Tortillas modified from Bette Hagman's Rice Flour Tortillas

Thanks purple both for the recipe and the tips. I am definitely going to try these. I LUV burritos.
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#14 purple

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 06:15 PM

Thanks purple both for the recipe and the tips. I am definitely going to try these. I LUV burritos.


You are welcome. I made them again today. They are easy and good.
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Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28


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