Is Tortilla Bread? The Truth Revealed!

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Is tortilla bread, how it differs from bread, how tortillas are made, and for what purposes they are used are covered in this post for better understanding.

Is Tortilla Bread? The Truth Revealed!
Is Tortilla Bread

If you’re a fan of Mexican food, you might be familiar with tortillas and wondered are tortillas considered bread.

Here’s a little trivia before we start.

Do you know when was the tortilla invented?

Back in 10,000 BC, the people of Mexico prepared tortillas made from corn, specifically in the Sierra Madre Mountains region. 

Is tortilla bread or not is a riddle to many.

There are some qualities that make tortillas bread and some that don’t.

Before we get into this debate, let’s define what tortilla is and what makes it similar to or different from bread. 

What Is Tortilla?

Is Tortilla Bread? The Truth Revealed! 1
What Is Tortilla

If you are wondering are tortillas bread, this is what you need to know.

Tortillas are a type of thin flatbread made with either a base of flour or finely ground corn. 

It’s an unleavened bread that uses some salt, flour, and water. 

Unleavened means there was no rising agent like yeast, baking powder, or baking soda used to make the dough rise.

So, if you’re wondering do tortillas have yeast, the answer is no.

What is tortilla bread made of?

Tortillas can be made from various types of flour so you can have flour tortillas, corn tortillas, and wheat tortillas, although traditionally, Mexicans used corn or maize as the main flour source.

Wheat tortillas came later into the scene when the Spanish brought this grain with them to the Americas. 

Tortilla Vs Bread: Main Differences

TortillaBread
No leavening agentLeavening agents used
Basic ingredients are flour, water, and saltAdditional ingredients like butter, milk, sugar, and eggs are used
Usually round in shapeCan take on various shapes
Cooked in hot griddleBaked in an oven

Now that we have the basic knowledge of what a tortilla is, let’s have a closer look at what the term “bread” includes. 

There can be both leavened and unleavened bread.

Like tortillas, bread also contains some kind of flour but the main difference is that bread has other ingredients like eggs, milk, and of course, some kind of a rising agent like yeast so that we have leavened bread. 

Tortilla has no yeast and nothing else other than flour, water, and salt. 

Having said that, there are unleavened breads or flat breads like pita bread, roti, matzo, and chapati.

So in one sense, a tortilla is a kind of unleavened bread.

How is tortilla bread made and how is it different from baking bread?

To elaborate on this point, we need to examine the ingredients, preparation method, shapes and sizes, cooking method and uses.

Ingredients

Wheat flour is used to make flour tortillas and ground corn or maize is used for making corn tortillas. 

You can switch up various kinds of flour to make your own tortillas.

For example, for gluten-free tortillas, you can use almond flour

Tortillas are made from flour, water, and salt. 

Do flour tortillas have yeast you may ask. 

No, tortillas are flatbreads that are not leavened and hence, don’t have yeast. 

On the other hand, although basic bread may use flour and water, it doesn’t stop at just these ingredients. 

The bread loaves that we bake or buy also have other ingredients added, the main one being yeast. 

So, yes, our everyday bread like a baguette or a sandwich bread contains yeast and is, therefore, leavened. 

Besides, bread has additional ingredients like sugar, salt, eggs, oil or butter, and milk. 

Preparation

For both tortillas and leavened bread, you mix the ingredients to form a dough. 

It’s fairly simple to mix corn flour or wheat flour with adequate water and salt to form a dough for tortillas. 

In the case of bread, sometimes there is a particular order in which the ingredients need to be combined. 

After the ingredients are kneaded into a dough, you need to rest them for a while so that they can rise. 

This is especially so in the case of bread. 

As there is no yeast in tortillas, you can proceed to the next step without waiting for the dough to rise.

Shapes 

From the dough, you can cut smaller-sized doughs and roll them out with a rolling pin to make the tortilla.

You could also use a cast iron tortilla press like this one to make a large batch in less time. 

Traditional tortillas are round in shape but you can always make a rectangular, square, or oval shape to suit your needs.

The shape of the bread depends on the type of bread being baked. 

Traditionally, baguettes have been long, thin bread. 

Although it can sometimes be found in circular shapes, sourdough often comes in enormous oval loaves with a scored top. 

Braided bread like challah is usually oval in shape whereas wreath-shaped bread like herb and Romano cheese is round.  

If you make bread at home regularly, you should know how to store homemade bread to retain maximum freshness. 

Size

Tortillas come in various sizes, ranging from 2.4 to over 24 inches (6 to over 30 centimeters) in diameter. 

Depending on where it comes from and what it will be used for, the size may vary.

To make Mexican dishes like tacos that can be held in one hand, use tortillas that are between 6-7 inches wide (15-18 cm). 

A 10-12 inch (25-30 cm) tortilla is the ideal size for burritos since it can be filled to the brim while still folding inward.

The size of bread varies widely. 

The square sandwich bread should be large enough to put fillings inside. 

While dinner rolls are on the small side, but large enough to take a few bites. 

Cooking Process

Are tortillas leavened?

No, so they are not baked. 

In fact, you can just put the tortillas to cook on a very hot pan or griddle. 

😀Fun Fact: Indian flatbreads are cooked on an open flame and this process helps them to rise even without baking soda or any leavening agent. 

How do you know that your tortilla is cooked?

A cooked tortilla should be uniformly light in color with darker areas or spots.

If you press them and it doesn’t feel squishy, that’s another sign the tortilla has been cooked properly. 

Depending on the size of the tortilla and how hot the skillet is, it can take about 10 seconds to one minute to cook the tortilla on each side. 

There is no single method of baking bread. 

It all depends on the type of bread you are baking. 

 Although gas or electric ovens are used to bake most bread, some are also baked over an open flame, in tandoori ovens, or in traditional bread ovens (like a pizza oven).

Bread is baked in a variety of methods and at a variety of temperatures for varying lengths of time.

2 Signs Tortillas Are Cooked
2 Signs Tortillas Are Cooked

How Tortillas And Bread Are Used

Did you know that tortillas double up as a utensil?

If you’re served soup or any gravy dish, instead of using a spoon, soak up the gravy with a piece broken from a tortilla and dunk it in the soup.

Wheat and flour tortillas are more pliable and are used in quesadillas and burritos.

Tacos and enchiladas need a firmer base so corn tortillas are used for this purpose.

Btw, if you’re planning to host a taco party, learn how many pounds of ground beef per person you need.  

Tortillas can be baked or deep-fried to form crispy and crusty nachos, an easy food for party

Flatbreads like wheat or corn or flour tortillas also serve as a side to pair with soups and stews. 

Bread has different purposes as well. 

You can put filings inside two pieces of bread and make a sandwich. 

An open sandwich is one where you don’t cover the fillings with another bread. 

Potato bread and banana bread can be eaten by themselves. 

Which Is Worse: Tortilla Vs Bread

Is Tortilla Bread? The Truth Revealed! 2
Nutrition Facts Of Corn Tortilla

It’s a difficult question and an appropriate answer depends on the ingredients of the tortilla and bread, what you’re putting inside as fillings, and how large the size and servings are. 

These will directly impact the count of calories, fat, carbs, and fiber you’re consuming. 

Calories 

If you’re on the path of trying to lose weight like I am, you should count your calorie intake. 

Compared to tortillas, bread has a far higher calorie content, with a 1 oz piece carrying anything from 75 to 100 calories. 

In contrast, a corn tortilla typically has between 60 and 65 calories. 

Due to the oil that is added to flour tortillas to make them softer and more pliable for easier rolling, they have more calories than corn tortillas, with a typical flour tortilla having about 90 calories.

Fat

When we’re discussing corn tortilla vs bread, the fat added (or not) is a deciding factor. 

Corn tortillas, as we have seen, are healthier than their flour counterpart.

Flour tortillas have fat content, making it easier to roll them.

So, when you’re in the store, choose whole grain options or corn tortillas that did not use any form of fat or if they did, it’s vegetable oil. 

When it comes to different kinds of bread, fat can be a little deceptive. 

Despite being viewed as healthier (and holier than thou) white bread, whole-wheat bread actually has more fat per slice.

While one slice of white bread only has about 1g of fat, one thin slice of whole wheat bread (33g) has about 2g of fat.

Carbs

A 6-inch corn tortilla contains 14 grams of carbs while a flour tortilla of the same size has 15 grams. 

A piece of white bread has 14 grams of carbs while a piece of whole-grain bread has fewer carbs – 12 grams. 

So, the clear winner is whole-grain bread if you’re on a keto diet. 

Fibers

Fibers have tons of benefits for us, especially if we are on the path to weight loss.

The fibers found in fruit and vegetables help us to keep fuller for longer, thereby preventing us from grabbing snacks when we’re hungry.

Moreover, fibers regulate our digestive system and keep us healthy. 

You will find almost twice as much fiber in wholewheat and corn tortillas compared to flour tortillas and white bread – 2 grams vs less than a gram.

FAQs

Are Tortillas Unleavened Bread?

The answer to the question is tortilla unleavened bread is yes. 

Can Tortilla Bread Go Bad?

Yes, tortilla bread can go bad if you haven’t stored them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. 

Can Tortilla Bread Be Frozen?

Yes, tortillas can be frozen to make them last longer.

What Is The Difference Between Flatbread And Tortilla?

Flatbread vs tortilla is a common question and while tortilla is a type of flatbread, flatbread is a wider category under which you also have pita bread, roti, etc. 

Do Corn Tortillas Have Yeast?

No, corn tortillas do not have yeast.

Does Tortilla Bread Make You Fat?

Tortilla bread made with whole wheat or corn will not make you fat.

Does Tortilla Bread Have Gluten?

Corn is naturally gluten-free and tortilla made from corn does not have gluten.

What is Tortilla Wrap?

When you wrap a tortilla around a filling, it’s called a tortilla wrap. 

What Are Wraps Made Of?

Wraps are typically made of flatbreads like tortillas, pita, and lavash.
The bread vs wrap difference lies in the use of leavening agents. 
Whereas the wrap is flat, bread is raised by a rising agent. 

What Is The Difference Between A Wrap And A Burrito?

Burrito vs wrap centers around how they are served. 
While wraps are served cold, burritos are served hot mostly although they can be served cold too. 

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