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Mexican Masa Tamales

Tamales: How to make the best masa dough?

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Tamales: How to make the best masa dough?

Scargod | Feb 25, 2009 11:20 AM

So we're talkin about this as a sub-thread and I want to SPECIFICALLY cover the best materials and ways to make the masa dough component of a tamale.
Since you can fill a tamale with anything I would like to concentrate on ingredients and the process for making and cooking the masa dough to perfection.
I have had rubbery ones and fluffy tender ones. Are there different styles or is everyone aiming for light and delicate? Is one masa better than another? Does anyone grind it fresh, from scratch, using dried posole (hominy)?
I have made tamales several times and I have helped in assembling them. I have always used lard. One said they used butter and chicken broth; others corn oil...
I have some Tequesquite, which I believe is used in tamale masa dough, like baking powder.

Then there's the magical "cold water test": after combining the fat or oil (in whatever form), and leavening agent to the masa, drop a small ball of dough in a glass of cold water. If the ball floats, it's ready for making into tamales. This must have something to do with the leavening agent reacting and making the ball light with gas.
Help by sharing your ingredients and method.

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