Our Process

authentic, tasty, natural and aromatic

 

The traditional corn tortilla came from Mesoamerica (a region in the Americas extending from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvacor, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica) where corn was originally cultivated. The Aztecs found that corn became edible when they cooked the corn in water from local lime stone rich river beds. That brings us to Nixtamalization.

 


Nixta-what?

The process of cooking the corn with lime (aka calcium hydroxide or cal, not the green fruit), and then hulled, is called "Nixtamalization." At Tortilleria Mi Niña® we follow this simple recipe and cook our corn with water and lime. The calcium hydroxide from the lime stone causes the hard outer shell (hull) of the corn to soften which is then removed during the grinding process. Furthermore, the breaking down of the corn by the lime improves the corn's nutritional value by increasing its digestibility and access to vitamin B and amino acids, while also heightening the flavor and aroma.

 


Simple you say?

Even though it may seem a simple recipe there are a lot of variables that must be considered in order to have the corn at the perfect state for grinding.  Using high quality ingredients is the first most important step. Cook the corn too little, it will be too hard to grind, and cooked too long the corn will begin to ferment. Humidity, temperature and timing all work in harmony to produce the perfect tortilla. Our artisans are trained to identify the perfect time when the corn is ready for the next step.

 


Volcanic Stone? 

We use hand-carved volcanic grinding stones to grind the steeped corn. Our stones are carved every day by Tobe, our production manager, who learned the carving process from local Tortillerias in Mexico. The stones minimally grind the corn allowing the flavor and texture of the corn to remain in the finished product. Our masa (corn dough) is then rolled, cut, and baked quickly in our tortilla oven.  

 

 

Although our company is growing, our tortillas and chips are still made in small batches every day based on customers orders. This is how we ensure the consistency and quality of all our products.All of the steps in the tortilla making process happens on-site in our own facility in Needham, MA.

Sorting and stacking tortillas, fresh from the oven

Cut tortillas for chips

Cut tortillas for chips

Freshly crisped in Sunflower Oil.

Freshly crisped in Sunflower Oil.

Corn cooking tanks.

Corn cooking with water and lime.

The corn is ground into masa.

Tobe hand carving the volcanic grinding stones 

The tortilla press

The tortilla press

Delivered to you!

Delivered to you!


Want to see us in action??? Check out this video of our original location in Chelsea, MA...

 

A compilation of footage shot at Tortilleria La Niña in Chelsea, MA.  Video: Dan Watkins http://danthemanphoto.com
Music: 'La Morena' by Los Primos http://www.theserenata.com