The Amazing Tortilla Press

We had a great time with Julie’s friend Captain Danny when he came to visit us at Thanksgiving. He was only here a few days, but we shared stories and jokes over many a pint of homebrew, and he even fixed Julie’s broken iBook. I also made a few batches of tortillas, using the wooden tortilla press Kate borrowed from Roque’s, and every time I used it I complained that I’d have to give it back soon, as they were asking for it back. Dan assured me it would be easy to make one of my own, I just needed to get the wood and some bits of hardware to hold it all together. I added it to my “someday/maybe” list, where it joined so many other unfinished projects, and a couple weeks ago Kate brought the press back to Roque’s.

A few days ago we got an unexpected package from Danny, and inside we found a beautiful tortilla press he had made, fashioned of dark wood and polished brass, routed details on the sides and big brass hinges and fasteners. It truly is a work of art and craftsmanship, and looks like it would be right at home on a 19th century sailing ship. I can only imagine how many hours went into this beauty!

It makes perfect tortillas, of course, and is truly a pleasure to use. I look forward to making many, many tortillas with it.

Thanks so much, Captain Danny, and please come back to see us soon, and enjoy homemade tortillas in huevos rancheros and enchilada suizas!

  • tortilla press
  • tortilla press
  • tortilla press
  • tortilla press
  • tortilla press
  • tortilla press
  • tortilla press
  • tortilla press

11 thoughts on “The Amazing Tortilla Press”

  1. It’s sooooo beautiful. Dave and I both admire the “bespoke” and “steampunk” features on BoingBoing, and Captain Danny’s tortilla press is very much of that ilk. I plan to hang the press on the wall for display, not hide it in a cabinet!

  2. Wow! I wish this had arrived before I left! I bet the folks at Roque’s would be quite jealous. Danny could make a fortune specializing in amaza-zing custom tortilla presses. 😉

  3. Last night I oiled it per Danny’s instructions, so now it’s shinier and yes, even more beautiful.

  4. If Captain Danny is making these for sale, I would dearly love to purchase two – one for me, of course, and one for the very generous Mexican lady who taught me, and American-Irish lady, how to make tortillas. While she was teaching me the pressing technique, using an cast iron press, she was telling me about a lady she met during a competition she had entered (won third place) who was using a wooden press. The lady allowed her to use it, and Catalina, my friend, has wanted a wooden press ever since, and I would love to present her with one like Captain Danny’s, a most beautiful work of art. Please, please ask him. Thanks, Theresa S.

  5. Hi Theresa,

    I asked Danny, who chuckled a bit but declined. It seems the tortilla press was pretty labor-intensive, and he just doesn’t have the the time to make one, never mind two. But he was very flattered by your request, and wishes you luck in your quest.

    The owner of our local Mexican restaurant says she bought hers for a song on a trip to Mexico, and highly recommends doing that, or perhaps researching online for a Mexican source.

  6. This beautiful tortilla press will be next on my husband’s “”honey do ” list.
    I have been going crazy trying to find a large tortilla press
    what I ordered from Amazon arrived today and it is soooo
    small. I make tortillas with vegetable filling and I need a large one.

  7. I’m desperately seeking advice about my cast iron tortilla press. I know yours is wooden but maybe you can help. The instructions say to place a plastic sheet (I’ve tried plastic wrap, ziplock bags and waxed paper) on the press, place the dough ball on the plastic, cover with another sheet and press. The top sheet comes off fairly easily but I cannot separate the tortilla the from the bottom sheet without tearing the tortilla. I’ve tried removing the tortilla from sheet and removing the sheet from the tortilla. I disappoint myself with the bad language I use. Any advice? Thank you. jim

  8. Jim: There are a few variables here, so it may take a little trial and error to find what works best for you. For plastic I’ve had great luck with a ziploc bag with the zip part cut off along with the sides (leave the bottom fold attached). Second, gravity is your friend when separating the bottom sheet from the tortilla; turn it over and let the tortilla peel itself off into your hand. Of course, be gentle getting the tortilla onto the grill.

    If the tortilla sticks to the plastic even turned upside down, it’s likely that your dough is too moist and sticky; knead a little more masa into it, and next time use a little less water.

    Good luck!

  9. davermont,
    Thanks for the advice. I’ll try it out tomorrow night. Ah…Friday. I’ll inform you of the results.

  10. Hey Dave,

    I know that I’m not a subscriber to your post but I’ve spent the last hour searching for the hardware for that press and I’m coming up empty, so I’m down to bothering you which I apologize for being forward.

    Was surfing around the intenet trying to find some inspiration for my own tortilla press (I’m a hobby woodworker) and came across your captains press picture and this one is very cool. Not wanting Dan to make one, but would like to know where he got his hardware.

    I thankyou in advance.

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