Makes 12 tortillas
3 cups of unbleached all-purpose wheat flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1/3 cup of vegetable oil or vegetable shortening (in case you want to make them with lard it is the same quantity needed)
1 cup of warm water (must be warm, but not boiling)
Combine the flour, shortening (oil, or lard), and salt in a large bowl and mix together until crumbly, as you do, for pie dough. Add water and mix until you can arrange the dough into a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and manipulate until it is smooth and elastic (for about 5 minutes). Cover with a plastic wrap, and set aside to rest for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
To shape the tortillas; divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion between the palms of your hands to make a ball. Go back to the lightly floured surface; roll out each ball into an 8-inch circle. Layer the circles between sheets of plastic wrap as you go.
To cook the flour tortillas, heat a heavy skillet, griddle, or a comal (the Spanish, a clay disk used for baking tortillas), over high heat until beginning to smoke. Place a tortilla in the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the tortilla, and cook on the other side until slightly puffed and speckled brown on the underside but still soft enough to fold, about for another 30 seconds. Take away, and continue until all the tortillas are cooked, stacking them as you go wrapped in a cloth. Serve right away. If you prefer them for later use, allow them to cool, and wrap them in plastic wrap or bag, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them and they will last for a couple of months.