FOR ESTRELLA Where to Buy Flour Tortillas, Tucson’s most iconic cultural trait. 17 tortillerias de harina, mapped (copy) |

Flour tortillas cool on a conveyor belt in Tortillas de Don Juan, 1924 S. Fourth Avenue, on July 20, 2021.

Rebecca Sasnett, Arizona Daily Star

“Flour tortillas are unique to Tucson because they are unique to Sonora, in a relationship that crosses the line,” she said. When Spanish colonizers came to the region five hundred years ago, they introduced wheat to indigenous groups who had not yet had a winter harvest at the time. The Sonoran wheat had an unusually high elasticity in its protein, which makes a perfectly stretchy tortilla.

“[Sonorense, Tucsonense] call it a donkey because it is a cargo. You would put a lot of things that you need to carry on a donkey. A burro, a burrito, is becoming a kind of establishment where you can pile up a really hearty meal, ”said Alvarez.

Although traditional Sonoran wheat has fallen out of favor with the industrialization of agriculture, home cooks and tortilleries across Tucson have retained a distinctive texture in their dough that mimics Sonoran’s unmatched ductility.

“When Tucson Meet Yourself started in the 1970s, it was a novelty for a housewife to demonstrate how to make a tortilla. It’s about the feel of the dough – she touched it and said it needs a little more water, ”Alvarez said. “You could google any recipe, but ultimately it’s more of an art than a science.”

While Tucsonans love La Estrella and Alejandros tortillas, I wanted to experience the largest selection of Tortillerias de Harina in the entire city. I was particularly impressed by the delicate layers from Mendez Bakery, reminiscent of the richness of laminated dough, and the robustness of the tortillas from Tortilleria de Don Juan, which can contain the wonderful juice of their marinated Bistec de Ranchera.

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