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103 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2004
Verified Purchase
I bought this for my mother last year for Christmas. Shortly after we tried to make corn tortillas for quesadillas and had a relatively poor experience. There it sat for almost a year until last weekend we were going to make Three Cheese Enchilada Casserole. I decided to give this thing another shot and this time I finally got it to work and it is even more incredible than I imagined. Perfectly thin tortillas every time! We made around ten with no blowups (anyone who has used this certainly has blown up at least one tortilla while learning to use this thing).

The first and possibly most important aspect of this is to use more water while making your corn dough. You don't want it soggy but that really won't hurt you as long as it can be formed into a ball and is not mush. For your first few attempts you might want to shoot for too wet of dough.

Roll up a ball and place it into the center. Slowly close the top part over the ball and press down a bit. Then use the large handle to slowly flatten the dough, but just a little. Do not attempt to close this thing all the way, you'll blow up the tortilla and make a mess. Look into the gap on the side of the press to monitor your progress. What you are trying to do is get it to be somewhat flattened but still pretty thick... Let it sit ten seconds or so. This will start to cook the tortilla and get it used to the heat, while removing excess moisture.

After you've had the dough heating up and some of the moisture steaming out, try to flatten it a bit. How much you flatten it depends on the moisture of your dough and how much dough you are using. GO SLOW! You will definately want to rotate the tortilla before trying to press it all the way down. GO SLOW! If you ever start going too fast, you'll ruin it. Patience is a virtue!

Keep turning and slowly pressing further and further until you've gotten the handle down as far as it will go. If you can get to this point, pat yourself on the back. If you've got some minor seperation in your tortilla you can get rid of it towards the end by applying as much pressure as you can, this will flatten the tortilla out and start to close some of those gaps. However if you havent gotten enough moisture out of the tortilla and you try this, it will blow up.

Making a thin flawless corn tortilla is an art, not a science. You have to be patient and not try to rush the dough flat, unless you want to ruin your tortilla. After about a half hour I had ten near perfect tortillas. It was quite an accomplishment given our failure to make even one decent tortilla the year before.

Now that I know this thing works, I'm definately buying one of my own ASAP. Fresh made corn tortillas are so much better store bought flour tortillas and are also better for you. I highly recommend this appliance to those who are up to the challenge!

UPDATE:
I see in the comments there are folks talking about flour tortillas and it is worth noting I do not like flour tortillas and have never made them with this product. None of the advice I have above is for flour and I only suggest trying it with corn flour.
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81 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2006
Verified Purchase
Before I made my purchase, I saw the reviews about this item being very polarized: Some people love it and can't live without it; some simply hate it. Well, I decided to go ahead and bought it from amazon.com, with a little worry nonetheless.

I am not a big Mexican food fan but my kids love to eat quesadillas made with whole wheat tortillas I buy from Trader Joe's. (By the way, theirs is the only brand I buy because it tastes good besides being healthy. Other whole wheat tortilla stuff tastes sort of bitter.)I don't have a Trader Joe's nearby so what I used to do was to buy several packages and freeze them. Finally, I decided to try to make my own tortillas.

Since I never knew how, I bought the machine to help me with. It started with a total failure. I followed the manufacturer's recipe for whole wheat tortilla and their directions of pushing the dough down just a little bit at a time and turning it all the time. I was very careful and followed the instructions religiously. I ruined 9 out of 12 tortillas. The tortillas 'blew' quite a bit and when they didn't 'blow' up they were too thick so that after they were done cooking they were too crunchy outside and too hard in general. Fortunately, I already had expection of this thanks to some reviewers' stories. I went back to amazon review and read all the reviews again. I learnt that I should try to use a wetter dough. I also wrote down a recipe given by a reviewer saying it's 'tried and true'.

I modified the recipe just a little bit and actually used 1 cup of whole whole flour (milled at home, which I think helps with the taste not being bitter)and 1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour. 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 cup of canola oil and 2/3 cup plus maybe 2-3 tablespoons of warm water.

This time the dough was very sticky and wet after I got it out of the food processor. I covered it with plastic wrap and gave it a good rest. By the time I used the machine to make tortillas, I put one little dough ball inside, pushed the lid all the way down with the handle until I heard the air bubble sound and stopped right then. Viola, perfect thin tortilla. I let it bake for a little while on one side with the lid open; and then turn it and bake the other side. So fast and the result is amazing.

The most important thing I think is: the dough has to be very wet-- if it's not wet enough, you will hear air bubble sound right away after you push the handle just a little down. Then even if you follow the instruction of turning the dough around and around while pushing the lid down a little more everytime, the tortilla doesn't get as thin as you would like it to be. If you keep pushing after the air bubble sound comes out you will blow your tortilla. I don't know if the manufacturer's recipe and directions work for anybody else at all. But honestly if they at least inlude this 'wet dough' and 'one push' method, they will have more satisfied buyers of their product.

As to the result of my whole wheat tortillas, they were thin but moist and soft. Better looking and tasting even than my favorite tortillas from Trader Joe's! No need to buy from anybody any more! My kids loved the quesadillas I made out of them. I felt like the machine has made me a professional whole wheat tortilla maker. How wonderful!
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2005
I just threw a soft taco party this month and had great success with my Villaware. It was SO easy to use and virtually foolproof (my only blow-up was with the very first one b/c I pressed too hard), so I really think the secret to success is a good recipe (see a tried & true flour recipe below). If you're a first-time user, go with a flour tortilla recipe before trying your hand at corn tortillas b/c they inevitably yield better results. What I love about the Villaware:

1. Maintains an even heat as you make multiple tortillas

2. Requires minimal (almost none at all) pressure to make a nice thin tortilla

3. No clean-up required--great smooth teflon surface doesn't get dirty

4. Allows you to make larger size tortillas than many other makers

Flour Tortilla Recipe:

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup oil

2/3 cup warm water

Directions: Mix together with a spoon. Once dough forms a ball (should be fairly moist, but not sticky), turn it out on the counter (spray with non-stick spray) and knead by hand for about 2 minutes. Let sit covered with plastic wrap at least 30 minutes (an hour is better). RESTING the dough is essential for pliable dough that will press well. Roll into 12 balls and press with tortilla press.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2009
I bought my first VillaWare Tortilla maker almost ten years ago. My daughter and I are gluten free (no wheat allowed) so we really missed a soft flour tortilla and wanted to make our own. This press works great! It did take me a few trials to get both the technique and recipe down. I've been using it daily to make my daughter a fresh tortilla sandwich wrap every morning for her school lunch. We also use them for tacos, fajitas, egg salad, salmon salad, chicken salad, sloppy joes, deli sandwiches, and even pizza roll ups. Unfortunately, the plastic parts of my press have broken off. First in the front and now in the back. So, I'm having to purchase a new one. I will be more careful with the next one not to press on those parts, although I have gotten so much use out of this one I can't complain too loudly. I'm not sure if there is a warranty on the plastic, but I've long ago lost any of my paperwork.

Gluten Free Wrap

2 cups rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup potato starch flour
1 tsp. guar gum
4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. dry milk powder
2 cups warm water

I generally mix up just the dry ingredients and store it in an airtight container. When I want to make tortillas I figure on 1/4 cup dry mix per tortilla, with half as much water, plus a little more as needed. The above recipe will make approximately 16 tortillas, but I often make just one tortilla at a time. The thinner the batter, the thinner and more pliable the wrap. The batter shouldn't pour, but works best if not too stiff a dough. Experiment until you get it right. A tortilla keeper is a must for keeping soft tortillas, otherwise cover with a cloth at least five minutes. They soften as they sit. I do spray the non-stick surface with a spray oil at the beginning and as needed throughout if making a whole batch. I use a 2 inch scooper to measure just the right amount of dough. LOVE IT!!!
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114 of 134 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2002
Verified Purchase
I'm not quite sure what this appliance makes, but it's not any flatbread I've had before. The idea of putting an uncooked ball of dough on a high-heat kind of griddle and trying to flatten it while it is getting the bejeezus fried out of it on one side does not work well. The manufacturer warns about "splitting" if you press too hard while it's cooking, what they don't warn about is if you don't press hard enough you end up with a thick, unflatbread. And I think making the griddle temperature adjustable (it now has just one setting -- somewhere around the temperature in the third circle of Hell) would just make it more challenging. If you buy this count on wasting LOTS of dough (double entendre intended).
You have to find that fine balance between pushing too hard and not hard enough. And even if you do, what comes out is no flatbread like I've every had before -- doughy on the inside, crispy on the outside. And if you follow their recipe you will never end up with a 10-inch bread, but two-thirds of that at best.
I'm afraid it's another example of creating something high-tech to solve a problem that doesn't exist. Do yourself a favor -- buy and old-fashioned flattener, flatten your breads first, then cook them in a regular pan. It worked for Ogg the Caveman, it can work for you too -- it's just not that hard.
This device might be good for warming up a flatbread that was cooked properly, although I still prefer the microwave for that. I'm afraid my unit is destined for the next yard sale; another lesson learned the hard way.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2005
I first bought a Villaware Tortilla maker many years ago, when all they made was a 6 inch model. It was somewhat of a necessity, as decent tortillas are somewhat hard to come by here in Tokyo. I loved it and used it all the time.

When this larger model came out, I HAD to have it - and I have not been disappointed.

As you've probably noticed from all of the reviews, the people who have said they dislike the machine seem to actually be having trouble with the recipe. I had to play around a bit with the recipes they sent, but the one I use the most by far is below. The tortillas come out beautifully, and are extremely easy to make.

2 3/4 cup of flour

3-4 Tbsp of shortening

Cut the shortening into the flour until it is well blended

Then put 3/4 tsp of salt in 3/4 cup of VERY hot water and add to the flour mixture. Stir. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes (it should be soft, but not sticky). Roll into balls and place on a plate under plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes.

Pre-flatten the balls of dough into circles about 2-3 inches across with your hands then press. Press quickly a second time if necessary. Flip the tortilla after about 45 seconds and cook the other side. Trust me - the tortillas will be great.

This recipe only makes about 6 or 7 large tortillas, so double if necessary.

I will never go back to store bought. This is just too good and easy.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2007
VillaWare 5955 Grand Wrap Flatbread Maker.

Read all of the comments and then BUY this machine. ALL of the negative comments (and I mean ALL) that had to do with blow outs, unevenness, dough recipe, heating element (meaning those discussing broken parts are not included), were due to the people NOT following the instructions. EVERY instance that they listed as having something go wrong was DIRECTLY addressed in the product manual. And all of the "fixes" that people suggested are in the manual also! Yes, you have to squeeze and lift so there is no blow out (there are even pics in the manual to show the blow out if you do not let the steam escape from the middle of the dough--where else can it go if you don't lift the top to let it escape?). Yes, you should turn the dough every time you lift the top (also explained in the manual) to make the dough more even (so one side is NOT thicker than the other).

There are many different recipes depending upon what you are used to making. The first or basic one has more oil in it and is reminiscent to what I had in Colima, Mexico.

It also has a flour recipe that is more reminiscent to those found in American stores. Add less oil and more water or less of both depending on the effect you want. If you use the flour, let it REST before flattening it (it also tells you to do this in the manual) It really does make a difference.

Regardless of cooking or just makeing the tortillas to use later, heat up the maker until the light goes out (also explained in the manual). I even used the cooking cycle (versus just making the tortilla and skillet frying, which I have also done to make cheese tortillas) and it makes them nice and crunchy. The tortillas are much thinner than I could do by rolling them out AND much faster. Also, the other flat breads (chapali aka roti) come out the same and are basically the same as the tortilla but with different ingredients.

I was afraid to buy this machine because of all the negative reviews. I am so very glad that my husband decided I really needed it and bought it for me!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2005
I've been making flour tortillas for years, the old fashioned way, rolling them out by hand. This is a time consuming and back breaking task. I've been saying for years that I need a tortilla press so my husband bought me the VillaWare Grand Wrap Tortilla Maker. What an awesome product. It has cut my tortilla making time by more than half and I'm not exhausted anymore. I also used their recipe calling for "unbleached flour". I always used regular flour and had a dough that was very elastic and wanted to shrink when rolling. Using "unbleached flour" has eliminated the shrinking. I basically press my dough about 3 times and get a great tortilla. It definitely takes practice but by my second batch I had it down pat. This product is well worth the money!!!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2003
I received one of these units as a gift this past Christmas and I really can't sing its praises. The unit is very sturdy and looks impressive, but isn't very handy for flour tortillas at all. I essentially wasted a full batch of dough playing with it before I got a passable tortilla out of it. I didn't feel like wasting my masa flour, so I didn't try any corn tortillas.

To get a semi decent flour tortilla out of the machine, I pressed the dough with the machine (while off) then turned the machine on and pressed the tortilla under heat. Whenever I tried to just press a ball of dough in the hot machine, it either exploded trying to get it thinner, or I ended up with a nice thin cracker. I figure if I had just *rolled* out the tortillas, I would have had better results - the pressed tortillas weren't thin enough for my tastes, and fell apart when rolled up. I decided not to waste another batch of dough.
I suspect the unit would be good for some types of flatbread, but I think I will pass on the unit. I hope the person who sent me the gift can get it exchanged...
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2006
We tried making this several times with the recipe and the directions in the book, plus several other recipes and we did not succeed at all.

We went to Don Pablo's resturant, and we watched them make it and they told us that they put in a flour conditioner. The best that we could come up with was wheat gluten. I made the recipe up that was in the book but I added 1 tsp of wheat gluten and mixed it in my mixer for 4-5 minutes. I let it rest for 2 hours or longer, and then made them up.

Sweet success.

Make sure that you press for only a second or two lift and turn, then repress. Use the paddle so that it flattens it well. Do this several times until you get the desired thickness and size. Continue baking it on the griddle, but leave it open. Cook it for several minutes, and turn over and finish cooking. It really does do well!!!
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