Food

Tortilla Roller

Every now and then I come up with an awesome idea for an invention. These inventions aren’t pie-in-the-sky contrivances; they’re real ideas with real possibilities and real benefits. I posted last week about my idea for an LDS hymnbook chord app; here’s another one I’ve been working on: a flour tortilla machine.

I love making eating homemade flour tortillas.  They’re simple, quick, cheap, and tasty. There’s one problem—rolling them out is hard work. By the end of a batch, my hands are on fire. “Hey Aaron, why don’t you use a tortilla press? They make those, you know.” Yeah, I know. Those presses, however, are designed for corn tortillas. If you try to use one for flour tortillas, you’re going to be eating your tacos and burritos with a kind of flatbread.

Surely, I thought to myself, there must be some way of rolling these tortillas mechanically. Turns out, there is. A couple days ago we tried rolling out tortillas using a pasta machine. The machine allows you to crank the dough through double rollers set at variable thickness. We set up the machine and whipped up a batch of dough. It worked. Kinda.

When we put the dough through at optimal thickness, we get smalls tears in the dough. The tortillas cook just fine, but if you’ve got juicy filling (or hot sauce or refried beans or whatever), the juices will seep out through the small tears.

Now, it might just be an error with the dough for that particular batch. I’m not super exact when mixing the dough; there’s a lot of playing by ear, as it were. We’ll try it a few more times and see if the tearing persists. If it’s not the dough, I’ve got another theory. As I mentioned before, the pasta machine works on a double-roller crank system, meaning, both rollers turn in on each other when the shaft is cranked. Make one of those rollers free-spinning, I think, and you’ll have a smooth flour tortilla. The dough is no longer subject to two, somewhat conflicting, forces. Oh, and while we’re at it, I’d expand the roller length beyond six inches (the standard length for pasta machines) for larger tortillas.

I’d like to invent this independent double roller crank system when I’ve got the tools, time, and shop. There’s no kitchen gadget out there that does this—totally blue ocean. We’ll make millions. Millions, I say.

Oh, and for those of you thinking of stealing this idea from me—don’t do it. You’ll never get it right. You’ll squander your family’s fortune and good name. You’ll look back on your life with wonder and regret and rue the day that you chose to act Prometheus.

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