Masa Harina

Nixtamalization – Making Masa and Corn Tortillas at CIA, San Antonio

CIA Chef Instructor Iliana de la Vega demonstrates the traditional Mexican method of nixtamalization, making masa for corn tortillas.

41 thoughts on “Nixtamalization – Making Masa and Corn Tortillas at CIA, San Antonio

  1. This is a great video I always wondered about nixtamalization and now I finally saw the process. Thanks for posting this.

  2. instead of buying a molino/grinder, is it possible to make masa using a food processor or a vitamix blender? Also, any tips on where to buy the dried field corn in coastal North Carolina? or seeds to grow the corn in my yard? 

    1. Hola Ermilia, a vitamix with a wide container will work as well. Cook the corn to around 195 degrees  Fahrenheit for a soft pliable masa. 

    2. Any good garden supply or green house that sells bedding plants should have an heirloom corn. I think you would be very happy with a variety called”hickory king” as it comes in yellow and white. Very good. Good luck.

  3. It works fine with calcium hydroxide, which is more easily available.  I buy Mrs Wage’s pickling lime and use a little more than she uses of the calcium oxide.   

  4. I always wonder how processes like this are discovered.  Like, was one tribe’s water source a limestone pool, and they were healthier… eventually they figured out it was the water, and then the limestone that helped make the corn more better?   It’s all lost to pre-history, but it’s fascinating to speculate about.  

    1. Wow we have the same thoughts. The answers is probably thousand of years of trial and error.

    2. I think people discovered lye way before they discovered agriculture. I mean, it wouldn’t take long from discovering fire to having some dude sticking his hand in wet wood ashes to discover his hand to feel “soapy” (they probably had a different name for that feeling back then 🙂 )

      I guess the ancient guys kindda experimented. They knew about lye and its peculiar properties, so they gave it a go.

    1. +MisterNickOtine Your first impression was correct.This is the Central Intelligence Agency.It is Part of their PSYOPS.

  5. A los 33 segundos dice “to loosen the hard endosperm” creo que debe decir “to loosen the hard pericarp” – great video though, thanks for posting.

  6. nice video thanks a lot, anyway could you give me his explanation in scripture?

    1. +Daniel Reznik maseca tastes terrible because its comes from gmo crops that use tons of chemicals.

    2. are there any farmers markets around new jersey? if so theres a good possibility they might grow organic corn.

    3. I know what you mean, I doctor mine up with some salt, not much, and add some fat, like REAL pork fat, not the commercial type, rendered fat, not much either, just to change that bland flavor from processed corn

    1. +Salvatore Escoti Ummm please don’t forget they were all Natives, (Indians) before it became ”The Americas”) They were just other Native Indigenous Tribes before the Spaniards etc,. Aztecas, Nayarit’s, etc, the list goes on!

    2. Yes they did use this process but with ash from plants or trees. The ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations developed nixtamalization using slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and ash (potassium hydroxide) to create alkaline solutions. The Chibcha people to the north of the ancient Inca also used calcium hydroxide (also known as “cal”), while the tribes of North America used naturally occurring sodium carbonate or ash.

    3. back then, most of what you’re calling us natives, where actually living in ‘mexican’ soil

    1. +Arctic Gator In simple terms yes…but you can’t just throw it in a fire, it needs pretty high temperatures in an appropriate kiln

  7. Too bad none of us will be making these tortillas out of the disgusting GMO corn and infested with poison pesticides, that how its grown here in the States. The government has been killing us slowing by spraying all of our foods with poison chemicals. If you don’t know how YOUR FOOD is being treated before it makes it to the store, EDUCATE yourself and know what your putting in your mouth…Many of the tortillas bought in the store are mostly chemicals and preservatives, then if you want to make your tortillas the corn is no good.

    1. These are not the same type of corn as the GMO, which is corn grown for corn syrup and other by products. You’re more likely to get a gmo from sweet corn that you eat off the husk than this corn. You may want to dig a little further for your information to be absolutely sure.

  8. I love your video and was inspired to buy a corona corn mill to grind masa. I grind it through my kitchen-aid meat grinder first and then through the corona. It is a bit of work but is so worth it.

    I have a question. If you Google nixtamalization, there are many people (including tortillarias) who use up to a 1/4 cup of Cal for 2 lbs. of corn. You use 1 Tbsp. Why such a difference?

    1. To answer your question, I have read in other forums that it is a time thing. The more they use, the faster it works and gets the job done sooner… May be a profitable trade off compared to small scale making where waiting is preferred. It also crosses over into larger batches are harder to even out the cal so more is on the safe side so all kernels get exposed with sufficient cal.

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