Burro’s Tortillas Teaching Activity

Did you enjoy reading Burro’s Tortillas? (http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=Burro) Well now you can enjoy eating them, too!

The word tortilla comes from the Spanish word “torta,” which means “round cake.” When the Spaniards came to Mexico in the sixteenth century, they found the Aztecs making and eating a most unusual food—corn. Sometimes the corn was made into the round cakes the Spaniards named tortillas. Today, some people still make tortillas from scratch, much the way the Mexican Indians once did and a lot like the way the little burro makes his tortillas in this book.

You can make tortillas too! You can buy the special corn flour, called maseca, at a grocery or Mexican store. Maseca is made just as Burro did in the story, by cooking corn with a little lime (not the lime fruit, but a special lime that comes from burning limestone). It is then rinsed, dried and ground into the flour for us to use.

What you will need to make 8 tortillas:

  • 1 cup maseca
  • Wax paper
  • 1 Tbs. corn or vegetable oil (optional)
  • Rolling pin
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • Cast iron skillet or griddle
  • Mixing bowl and spoon or mixer
  • Spatula
  • Slightly damp paper towels


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the maseca, the oil if using (this is not traditional but may help to hold the tortillas together while rolling) and the water. Mix together until the dough is smooth and forms a dough ball—about two or three minutes. The dough should be smooth but not too sticky.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 little balls and cover with the slightly damp paper towels to keep them from drying out.
  3. Cut off two square pieces of wax paper. Place one ball of dough at a time between the two sheets and use the rolling pin to roll into a circle (as best as you can).
  4. With an adult’s help, cook on a very hot, ungreased cast iron skillet or griddle. Use your spatula to flip the tortilla every 15 to 20 seconds until cooked (light brown). Wrap cooked tortillas in a small kitchen towel or cloth to keep warm and to prevent them from drying out.
  5. Enjoy!

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