Combine 1/2 cup flour and the oil in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 1 hour.Advertisement
Place the remaining 2 1/4 cups flour in a large bowl and work in the oil-flour mixture quickly with your fingers, until pea-sized lumps remain. Dissolve salt in warm water. Pour it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry ingredients haven't been dampened, add a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough clumps together. Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. It should be a medium-stiff consistency; definitely not firm but not quite as soft as most bread dough either. (The tortillas may also be mixed in the food processor. Pulse several times, then blend until the fat is thoroughly incorporated. Dissolve salt in 3/4 cup warm water. With the machine running, pour the liquid through the feed tube in a steady stream. Let the machine run until the dough has collected into a ball. If it's too stiff, divide the dough into several pieces, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon water and process until it forms a ball again.)
Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes to make the dough easier to roll.
Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Roll out a portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface into an even 7-inch circle. To do this, flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time.
Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). When there are browned splotches underneath, about 30 to 45 seconds, flip it over. Cook until the other side is browned, 30 to 45 seconds more; don't overcook the tortilla or it will become crisp. Remove and wrap in a heavy towel. Roll and cook the remaining tortillas in the same manner, stacking them one on top of the other wrapped in the towel.
To steam-heat tortillas, wrap a stack of 12 tortillas in a clean, heavy towel, place in a steamer over 1/2 inch of water, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When steam is released, time 1 minute, then remove from the heat and let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Held in a very low oven, the tortillas will stay warm and moist for an hour or more.
To warm tortillas, wrap in barely damp paper towels and microwave on High for 30 to 45 seconds or wrap in foil and bake at 300°F until steaming, 5 to 10 minutes.
1 1/2 starch, 1 fat