Making corn or flour tortilla dough—called masa in Spanish—involves a number of discrete tasks: the corn must be soaked with lime to prepare nixtamal, which is then ground with water. Once the dough is made, cooks take a small portion and extend it by hand or with the help a banana leaf or a wooden, lead, iron or plastic press to fashion tortilla disks that are finally heated on the griddle. The best cooks take pride in “throwing” tortillas by hand, but a tortilla press makes the job easier.
On the other hand, wheat-flour tortillas are made with lard and salt, and formed with a rolling pin or by hand. In order for a flour tortilla to rise, a small circular clamp is placed them once they are on the griddle.