A good tamale always begins with a good masa. Here is a simple to make masa recipe.
Yield: about 2 dozen tamales
8 oz unsalted butter or lard
1 cup of chicken stock
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoons kosher salt
2 1/2 pounds fresh masa
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the butter or lard and cream on high speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add the fresh masa, alternating with the stock. Add the baking powder, then add the salt. Beat until well mixed. Increase mixer speed to high and whip until masa resembles the consistency of spackle, about 3 minutes. If the batter looks too dry add a little more stock until the correct consistency is attained. The dough should be soft but workable.
Drop approximately 1/2 teaspoon masa into a cup of cold water. If the masa floats, it is ready to shape into tamales. If it sinks, continue whipping for another minute. Repeat this “float test” until the sample masa floats.