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Nixtamalize, the process of preparing dough

Traditional Mexican food is not very easy to prepare as we normally see. A very simple example are tortillas, the main ingredient in thousands of Mexican dishes. Preparing the tortilla by hand as in traditional Mexican communities, is not easy. There is even a term that very few know and use. It is about nixtamalize. But what does this mean and how is it done? Don’t worry, here we explain how it works.

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What does nixtamalize mean?

The term ‘nixtamalize’ has existed for centuries in the history of our country. In fact, it is a process that gives us identity as Mexicans.

Nixtamalization is a process in which corn is cooked with water and quicklime. This entire procedure leads to the nixtamalized mass. This is used to prepare tortillas, tamales, among other Mexican dishes.


Now, with the sale of prepared corn flour, among other products, this custom has been lost. But in agricultural communities it continues being carried out.

But do not think that doing this procedure is very easy, because for a corn kernel to be able to make tortillas, both physical and chemical changes are made. Which are produced from the nixtamalization process.

The function of this corn procedure is to alkalinize the mature grain, loosen the husk and absorb the nutrients.

How to nixtamalize corn?

In order to achieve this, pre-Hispanic people traditionally boiled water, with ash and corn. Ash is currently replaced by quicklime. Once everything is cooked alkalized, the grain is ground in a volcanic stone metate. Although it can also be done in a mill.

The grinding of the grain has to be very fine, without leaving lumps in the dough. To measure the amounts of nixtamalization, approximately 10 grams of quicklime and two liters of water are used for each kilogram of corn.


And although the process of nixtamalizing is very slow, it is a traditional way of our ancestors to prepare the delicious foods of our culture.


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