AU2013204375B2 - Soft shaped tortillas - Google Patents

Soft shaped tortillas Download PDF

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AU2013204375B2
AU2013204375B2 AU2013204375A AU2013204375A AU2013204375B2 AU 2013204375 B2 AU2013204375 B2 AU 2013204375B2 AU 2013204375 A AU2013204375 A AU 2013204375A AU 2013204375 A AU2013204375 A AU 2013204375A AU 2013204375 B2 AU2013204375 B2 AU 2013204375B2
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tortilla
dough
shaped
soft
mould
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AU2013204375A1 (en
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Jonathan M. Griebel
Vincent Paul Sommer
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General Mills Marketing Inc
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General Mills Marketing Inc
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Priority to AU2010201638A priority patent/AU2010201638B2/en
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Abstract

The present invention encompasses edible carriers for foods that are soft but still hold a preformed shape. Specifically encompassed are soft shaped tortilla products that can be used to hold food fillings. Exemplary shapes and sizes are provided for the products. Also encompassed are methods of making, packaging, and using the products.

Description

SOFT SHAPED TORTILLAS 5 FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to edible holders for foods that are soft but still retain a preformed shape. More specifically, the present invention relates to soft shaped tortilla products, that can be used to hold various edible fillings, and to kits comprising a packaged multiplicity of soft shaped tortilla base pieces. Also related are methods of making, 10 packaging, and using said products. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Any discussion of the prior art throughout the specification should in no way be considered as an admission that such prior art is widely known or forms part of common 15 general knowledge in the field. Consumers are searching for healthy and yet convenient food options, avoiding foods laden with excess fats. There is a movement away from unhealthy choices such as crispy deep fried foods. As healthier options, low fat options such as Lebanese breads and pita pockets are used as a carrier for toppings or sandwich ingredients. Yet, they can be too Z0 thick, and are likely to break while consumers attempt to fold them into shapes that are convenient to hold and carry. They also show a limited shelf life, and can dry out quickly due to their formulation. Mountain breads can (flat square breads sold in Australia) can also be used, but are more suitable for lunch more than dinner. Also, they are too thin to be used with sauces, and show a limited shelf life. Naans and chapatis are exotic choices more 25 suitable for a main meal than as a lunchtime wrap. In addition, they tend to be inflexible, too small, and high in fat. By comparison, tortillas are shelf stable, highly soft and flexible, and can fold and bend without breaking. The term "tortilla" is used herein to refer to a Mexican style tortilla, i.e., a generally flat unleavened cooked flexible pan baked dough product generally circular 30 in shape such as from a corn masa dough ("tortilla de maiz") or from a wheat dough ("tortilla de harina"). The two versions of the Mexican tortilla have different textures owing to the grains from which they originate. The maize version is somewhat thicker and heartier in texture, while the wheat version is less easily broken, due to its elevated gluten content, and therefore often larger in circumference. Tortillas are suitable for lunch and 1 dinner, with a unique taste and texture compared to other forms of bread. However despite these advantages, consumers have difficulties "managing" a tortilla. The amount of filling is often miscalculated while folding, sealing and holding can be a challenge. As such, tortillas can be inconvenient, messy, and frustrating, especially for children and their parents. While 5 the art includes moulding precooked tortillas by heating in a microwave, this produces an unsatisfactory product that fails to hold its shape and lacks a true baked texture. Microwaving a precooked tortilla is inadequate for setting the protein structure in the tortilla to form a shape and relies upon drying to form shaped article. With this method, one is forced to overcook the tortilla to produce a hard (e.g., cardboard-like) and excessively tough 10 result. Thus, there is a need in the art for a soft shaped tortilla product that is easy to use, less messy, delicious to eat, and healthier than other options. Also, there is a need in the art for methods for manufacturing and using such a product. 15 BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In one aspect, there is provided a method for producing a soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla comprising forming raw tortilla dough or batter having a fat content of about 1% to about 15% into a three dimensional shape selected from a cup, bowl, U- or square bottomed shaped 20 taco shell, boat, tube, envelope or cone, and cooking the dough or batter to form the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla having the three dimensional shape, the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla having a thickness ranging from about 1-5 mm and being both pliable and sufficiently rigid to maintain its shape at room temperature, wherein the final moisture content of the tortilla is between about 23% to about 28%, wherein the tortilla is prepared 25 without the use of microwave heating. Preferably, the method comprises: pressing raw tortilla dough or batter into a mould, and heating the dough or batter in the mould until the dough or batter is fully cooked and formed into the shape of the mould to form the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla. 30 Preferably, the method comprises: pressing raw tortilla dough or batter into a mould, heating the dough or batter long enough to form into an article conforming to the shape of the mould, 2 [followed bv nage 2a1 removing the shaped dough or batter from the mould, and further heating the shaped dough or batter until fully cooked to form the soft, shaped, semi rigid tortilla. Preferably, the method comprises: 5 heating flattened tortilla dough or batter until fully cooked, pressing the heated, cooked tortilla dough or batter into a mould having a shape, and cooling the tortilla dough or batter to set the tortilla into an article conforming to the shape of the mould to form the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla. Preferably, the method comprises: 10 pressing sheeted raw tortilla dough into a mould having a shape, heating the dough or batter long enough to form into an article conforming to the shape of the mould, and further heating the shaped dough or batter until fully cooked to form the soft, shaped, semi rigid tortilla. 15 Preferably, the method comprises: injecting raw tortilla dough or batter into a mould having a shape, and heating the dough or batter in the mould until it is fully cooked and formed into an article conforming to the shape of the mould to form the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla. Preferably, the method comprises: 20 injecting raw tortilla dough or batter into a mould having a shape, heating the dough or batter long enough to form into an article conforming to the shape of the mould, removing the shaped dough or batter from the mould, and further heating the shaped dough or batter until fully cooked to form the soft, shaped, semi 25 rigid tortilla. Preferably, the mould is preheated. Preferably, the mould is a two-part mould comprising a male mould and a female mould. Preferably, the cooking is performed by baking. 30 Preferably, the soft, shaped, semi rigid tortilla is formed from dough that is a rested farinaceous dough. Preferably, the dough has a Brabender value ranging from about 500 to 1000 BU. 2a followed by oaae 2bl Preferably, the forming step is practiced in a mold heated to about 190"C to 205C. Preferably, the cooking is carried out in a belt oven. Preferably, the soft shaped semi rigid tortilla has a formed shape of a boat. In a further aspect, there is provided a method of preparing a soft, shaped, semi-rigid 5 tortilla packaged food article, comprising the steps of: A. providing a plurality of soft, shaped, semi rigid tortillas prepared by the method as herein described; and B. packaging the plurality of soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla within a modified atmosphere package to form a soft, shaped, semi rigid tortilla packaged food article having 10 a shelf life of at least six months at room temperature storage. Preferably, the food package has an oxygen permeability of less than 2.5cc0 2 /cm 2 /day. Preferably, the food package has a headspace having an oxygen level of 4% or less. In a further aspect there is provided a method for producing a soft, shaped, semi rigid tortilla comprising 15 placing raw tortilla dough having a fat content of about 1% to about 15% in a mold and cooking the raw tortilla dough in the mold sufficiently to form the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla in the shape of the mold and having a perimeter edge so that the soft shaped tortilla has a three dimensional shape creating a receiving volume and having no 20 overlap of the perimeter edge of the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla, the soft, shaped, semi-rigid tortilla having a water activity of 0.88 or less and a moisture content of from about 23% to about 28%, and being cooked in an amount sufficient to maintain the shape at room temperature and having a shelf life of at least six months at room temperature storage within a modified atmosphere package.The invention 25 generally encompasses a low fat shelf stable soft tortilla fabricated from a Mexican tortilla such as a chemically leavened cooked cereal dough that is formed into a variety of thin walled rigid three dimensional shapes that are rigid yet soft and flexible and which are useful for edible containers of loose particulate food stuffing, and wherein the shape is other than (a) flat, (b) flat or in the shape of a cup or bowl, (c) flat or boat/canoe shaped or (d) 30 flat, in the shape of a cup or bowl or boat/canoe shaped. In a particular aspect, the invention encompasses a soft shaped tortilla that is formed into shape for holding fillings, wherein the shape is other than (a) flat or (b) flat or 2b [followed by oaie 2cl boat/canoe shaped, flat, and wherein the final moisture content of the tortilla is between about 23% to about 25%. In one aspect, the tortilla is formed to hold the shape of a cup or bowl. In other aspects, the tortilla is formed into the shape of a U- or square bottomed shaped taco shell, boat/canoe, pita, flower, pie, tube, envelope, pod, bun, or cone. (square bottomed) In still other aspects, the tortilla comprises a flat bottom and sealed sides. In yet other aspects, the tortilla comprises an edible string. The invention also generally encompasses a method of making a soft tortilla which is formed into a shape, wherein the shape is other than flat. In a first specific aspect, the invention encompasses a method of producing a soft shaped tortilla, comprising: pressing raw tortilla dough into a mould, and heating the dough [followed by page 3] 2c in the mould without deep fat frying until the dough is at least substantially cooked and formed into the shape of the mould. In a second specific aspect, the invention encompasses a method of producing a soft shaped tortilla, comprising: pressing raw tortilla dough into a mould, heating the dough 5 without deep fat frying long enough to form the dough into a rigid article conforming to the shape of the mould, removing the shaped dough from the mould, and heating the shaped dough (e.g., in an oven or other heating device) until fully cooked. In a third specific aspect, the invention encompasses a method of producing a soft shaped tortilla, comprising: heating flattened tortilla dough until fully cooked, pressing the 10 preheated/precooked tortilla into a mould while still warm and pliable, and cooling the tortilla to set the tortilla into the shape of the mould. In a fourth specific aspect, the invention encompasses a method of producing a soft shaped tortilla, comprising: rolling raw tortilla dough into a sheet, pressing the sheet into a mould, heating the dough long enough to form into the shape of the mould, removing the 15 shaped dough from the mould, and heating the shaped dough until fully cooked. In a fifth specific aspect, the invention encompasses a method of producing a soft shaped tortilla, comprising: injecting raw tortilla dough or batter into a mould, and heating the dough or batter in the mould until it is fully cooked and formed into the shape of the mould. 20 In a sixth specific aspect, the invention encompasses a method of producing a soft shaped tortilla, comprising: injecting raw tortilla dough or batter into a mould, heating the dough long enough to form into the shape of the mould, removing the shaped dough from the mould, and heating the shaped dough (e.g., in an oven or other heating device] device) until fully cooked. 25 The method can further comprise causing the dough to rise in an irregular manner so as to cause brown points. The method can still further comprise using two cooking moulds, wherein the first mould comprises a cavity in the shape of the tortilla product; and the second mould comprises a protrusion shaped to fit into the cavity of the first mould. The moulds can be 30 preheated prior to use. In its principle article aspect, the present invention provides packaged food articles comprising: A hermetically sealed food package; 3 A quantity of baked soft shaped tortilla pieces disposed therein said soft shaped tortilla pieces having a water activity of 0.88 or less; and, A headspace gas having an oxygen level of less than 5% In another article aspect of the one and same invention, meal kits are provided. The 5 meal kits include meal kit for use in making a Mexican soft shaped tortilla, comprising: An outer package; A first soft shaped tortilla base pieces package food article disposed within the outer package including: A hermetically sealed food package; 10 A quantity of baked soft shaped tortilla pieces disposed therein said soft shaped tortilla pieces fabricated from a farinaceous dough having a water activity of 0.88 or less; and, A headspace gas having an oxygen level of less than 5%; and, A second packaged food article disposed within the outer package that is either a 15 pouch of dry seasoning mixture or a pouch of a wet sauce. In another article aspect of the one and same invention, methods are provided of preparing a soft shaped tortilla base piece packaged food article, comprising the steps of: providing a quantities of a chemically leavened gluten plastic or viscoelastic dough; forming the quantities into shaped heat set pieces; 20 baking; the shaped heat set pieces to form finished soft shaped tortilla base pieces; and, packaging a number of finished soft shaped tortilla base pieces within a modified atmosphere package to form a soft shaped tortilla base piece packaged food article. 25 While multiple aspects are disclosed, still other aspects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments of the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modifications in various obvious aspects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. 30 Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive. 4 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 depicts a model of a canoe/boat shaped soft tortilla. FIG. 1A depicts a model of a canoe/boat shaped soft tortilla with extended sides. 5 FIG. 2 depicts a model of a pita shaped soft tortilla. FIG. 3 depicts a model of a flower bud shaped soft tortilla. FIG. 4 depicts a model of a pie shaped soft tortilla. FIG. 5 depicts a model of a tube shaped soft tortilla. FIG. 6 depicts a model of an envelope shaped soft tortilla. 10 FIG. 7 depicts a model of a bun shaped soft tortilla with edible string. FIG. 8 depicts a model of pod shaped soft tortilla. FIG. 9 depicts a bowl shaped soft tortilla. FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of a meal kit of the present invention including a carton housing a nested array of shaped tortillas food packaged article of the 15 present invention as well as a dry pouch and a wet pouch of secondary food ingredients. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to improved shelf stable consumer packaged food articles including components fabricated from a Mexican tortilla like chemically leavened 20 cooked farinaceous dough in a variety of thin walled three dimensional set or rigid shaped forms yet soft and flexible that are useful for edible containers of loose particulate food stuffing and to methods for their preparation. Throughout the specification and claims, percentages are by weight and temperatures in degrees Centigrade unless otherwise indicated. 25 The present consumer packaged food articles comprise at least one soft shaped tortilla piece as its principal edible component. As used herein, a "soft shaped tortilla" or, equivalently, a "shaped soft tortilla" means a fully cooked but non-fried tortilla farinaceous dough product that is formed into a thin walled three dimensional shape of sufficient rigidity to holds its shape at room temperature. Thus, "tortilla" means a fully cooked 30 product. By comparison, "tortilla dough" means uncooked or partly cooked product. "Fully cooked" is understood to be a product that reaches about 85'C (+/-2 degrees), and is evidenced by substantially all of the starch being gelatinized. Broadly, in one article aspect, the present invention comprises a soft shaped tortilla in a variety of specific three dimensional shapes or configurations. These shaped food 5 articles are useful as the principal edible components of consumer packaged food product articles. Traditionally, in northern Mexico, tortillas are cooked unleavened flexible flat breads typically in thin or flat, circular or elliptical shape useful as an edible bread wrap for small quantities of other foods such as meat pieces, rice, and/or vegetables mixture. Thus, 5 the present food articles are to be distinguished from egg or egg omelette based dishes often referred to as "tortillas" (Tortilla de patatas) in other Spanish speaking locations. In one aspect, the present disclosure encompasses a soft shaped tortilla product with the shape being defined as being other than flat. (a) flat, (b) flat or in the shape of a cup or bowl, (c) flat or boat/canoe shaped, or (d) flat, in the shape of a cup or bowl, or boat/canoe 10 shaped. In another aspect, the disclosure encompasses a soft shaped tortilla that is formed into three dimensional shape suitable for holding fillings, wherein the shape is other than (a) flat or (b) flat or boat/canoe shaped. The final moisture content of the soft shaped tortilla is less than about 28% 15 (~ 28%), preferably 525%. In preferred form, the soft shaped tortillas are shelf stable and exhibit a water activity value ("Aw") of ~!0.88. In less preferred variations, the soft shaped tortilla pieces are suitable only for refrigerated distribution and sale and exhibit an Aw of~ 0.92. The particular selection of ingredients and concentration are selected to provide 20 finished soft shaped tortilla products having a water activity ("Aw") of 0.88 or less and for best results less than 0.85 to about 0.7. Selection of such water activity value is important in achieving a balance between microbial shelf stability and dough handling characteristics. Water activity can also be reduced by using polyols such as glycerol and sorbitol. Good results are obtained when the moisture content of the finished product ranges from about 25 10% to about 25%, preferably about 15% to 20%. The invention disclosure further encompasses a method of making a soft shaped tortilla product. In one particular aspect, the invention disclosure encompasses a tortilla (e.g., round, flour tortilla) that is hot formed to hold the shape of a cup or bowl, e.g., a salad bowl. In 30 other aspects, the tortilla can be formed to rigidly hold the shape of taco (i.e., U-shaped taco shell) or the shape of a boat/canoe. In still other aspects, the tortilla can be formed to hold the shape of a pita, flower bud, pie, tube, envelope, pod, bun, or cone. The formed shape can have a flat bottom and sealed sides. 6 In accordance with the invention, the soft shaped tortilla articles can be provided in a variety of sizes from jumbo burrito size to mini chalupa size. A "chalupa" (Spanish for "boat" or "launch") is a tortilla dough formed into a shape reminiscent of a small boat. As starting material, it is possible to use round precooked tortillas or rounded flatted tortilla 5 dough that is about 76 mm, about 102 mm, about 127 mm, about 152 mm, about 178 mm, about 191 nm, about 203 mm, about 229 mm, about 254 mm, or up to about 305 mmn, or more, in diameter. For example, a 190 mm diameter precooked tortilla or flattened tortilla dough can be used to give a cup dimension of about 89 mm diameter and about 51 mm height. It is also possible to use precooked tortillas or flattened, pre-cut pieces of dough that l0 are cut to easily fit into a mould for shaping. The starting material can be any shape suitable for the final mould, for example, round, oval, crescent, square, rectangular, trapezoid, triangular, etc. In one aspect, the overall size of the soft shaped tortilla is such it is portable to hold, and that the consumer can take mouth sized bites. In this aspect, the width of the soft [5 shaped tortilla is no wider than the distance an average adult mouth may comfortably open when consuming a sandwich. In another aspect, the width of the soft shaped tortilla is no wider than the distance an average child mouth may comfortably open when consuming a sandwich. In one particular aspect, the overall width after forming is about 25 mm or less, or about 12 to about 25 mm, for example, for children. In one other aspect, the width is lO about 37 mm or less, or about 12 to 37 mm, for example, for adults. In another aspect, the height of the soft shaped tortilla is limited to the distance an average adult mouth can comfortably open when consuming a sandwich. In another embodiment, the height of the soft shaped tortilla is limited to the distance an average child's mouth can comfortably open when consuming a sandwich. In a specific aspect, the 25 height of the soft shaped tortilla is about 25 mm or less, or about 12 to about 25 mm, for example, for children. In another aspect, the height is about 37 mm or less, or about 12 to about 37 mm, for example, for adults. As a larger size, the soft shaped tortilla will have a width of at least about 25 mm. In another aspect, the width is limited to the bite width of an average adult mouth. In yet 30 another aspect, the width is limited to the bite width of an average child's mouth. In a particular aspect, the width of the soft shaped tortilla is about 25 to about 51 mm, for example, for children. In one other aspect, the width is about 37 to about 75 mm, for example, for adults. 7 Depending on the final form of the tortilla, the overall diameter of the soft shaped tortilla (e.g., for the leading part which is directed into the mouth) can be any size from about 10 mm, about 12 mm, about 15 mm, about 20 mm, about 25 mm, about 30 mm, about 35 mm, about 37 mm, and about 40 mm, or for example, from about 12-37 mm. 5 Regardless of specific shape, a feature of the present soft shaped tortilla articles is a thin walled construction characteristic of a tortilla. Good results are obtained in terms of sufficient rigidity as to maintain the desired structure while nonetheless providing a soft eating quality characteristic of wheat tortillas, is obtained when the present articles are fabricated with wall thicknesses ranges from about 1-5mm, preferably about 2-4mm. For 10 example, in one specific embodiment, the thickness of the soft shaped tortilla can be about 1.3 mm, about 2.3 mm, about 3.3 mm, or about 3.8 mm. Good results are obtained when the present shaped tortilla articles are fabricated having a length ranging from about 50 mm to about 250 mm. In certain embodiments, the articles range from about 70 mm to about 200 mm in length. In certain specific 15 embodiments, the articles have a length of, about 150 mm, while in certain other specific embodiments having a length of about 170 mm, about 190 mm, about 200 mm, about 250 mm, or more or in a range of from about 50- mm to about 200 mm. In another variation, the shaped tortilla of the present invention can be made using a standard tortilla having a thickness less than 1.5 mm or a thickness greater than or equal to 20 1.5 mm. As mentioned above, range on thickness could be 0.5-5 mm Consequently, in one aspect, the shaped tortilla can be made from a standard tortilla having a thickness of about 1.5 to about 3.0 mm, or greater. In one aspect, then, the shaped tortilla can be made from a standard tortilla having a thickness of about 1 to about 2.0 mm, or greater. In one particular aspect, the cavity of the shaped tortilla is larger than the cavity of 25 the conventional tortilla. Consequently, the shaped tortilla can hold a greater amount of filling than the conventional tortilla. In this way, the shaped tortilla can be filled with greater amounts of meat and still have room for adequate amounts of all other available fillings. The cavity of the shaped tortilla can also provide consistent wrapping to filling ratio throughout the product. As such, the tortilla fillings can be enjoyed down to the last 30 bite, as opposed to the last bite being a mouthful of dough. This provides for greater eating satisfaction and, as a result, will be preferred by a consumer. In addition, the larger cavity allows a utensil (e.g., spoon) to be used to access the cavity when used to load the filling. 8 Notably, each of the disclosed shapes provides benefits to the consumer. The boat/canoe shape (e.g., FIG. 1) is easy to fill, holds a large amount of fillings, and allows layering of fillings. The pita shape (e.g., FIG. 2) is easy to hold and use, fitting naturally into the hands. It is a familiar shape and provides consumers with an indication when 5 maximum filling is reached. The flower bud shape (e.g., FIG. 3) is easy to fill and provides the option to fold or leave open. It allows one handed eating, which is easy for kids and suitable for consumers on the go. The round bottom allows filling down to the last bite. The pie shape (e.g., FIG. 4) is unique, impressive, and ideal for entertaining. It has a large opening which is easy to fill. 10 As another option, the tube shape (e.g., FIG. 5) is easy to hold together, making it neater to eat. It has a wide bottom which allows for large amounts of filling. The envelope shape (e.g., FIG. 6) provides a flap to fold over. This looks tidy and prevents ingredients from falling out. It also sits flat on the plate making it easier to fill. The pod shape (e.g., FIG. 8) is unique, fun, and adaptable. The pods can be used separately, for example, for 15 dips, or can be used as a set, for example, to fill with different ingredients. The boat shape (e.g., FIG. 7) is kid friendly and very adaptable, as it can also work as a dessert option. For example, it can be presented as a sweetened tortilla filled with fruit chocolate, cinnamon, etc. In another aspect, the shaped tortilla can be formed into that of a salad bowl (e.g., Fig. 8). Although not as portable as other shapes, it does offer an alternative for use in 20 restaurant or food service venues, as a non-fried taco salad option. In a preferred aspect, the precooked tortilla or tortilla dough is formed into a rounded shape, e.g., a cup or a bowl, or optionally, a taco shape (i.e., U-shaped taco shell), boat/canoe shape, pita shape, flower shape, pie shape, tube shape, bun shape, or cone shape. Yet, it is understood that the disclosed shapes are exemplary, and that any shape can be 25 utilized in accordance with the invention. In addition, each of the described shapes can be modified as needed, for example, for the boat/canoe shape, one or more of the ends can be folded high, and for the pita shape, the product can include a flap that folds over. It will be further understood that the shaped tortillas can be prepared from a variety of cereal flours, for example, with white flour, corn flour, masa flour, whole wheat flour, 30 multigrain flour, whole grain flour, rice flour, gluten-free flour, or any combination thereof. The dough can additionally include added herbs, seasonings and flavour ingredients to provide general flavours such as Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Asian, Caribbean, and Indian; and specific flavours such as jalapeno, chipotle, cheese, black bean, red chilli, pesto, 9 herb, garlic, rosemary, vegetable, spinach, sundried tomato, basil, cilantro, or any combination thereof; and dessert flavours such as chocolate, blueberry, pineapple, banana, honey, and apple cinnamon, or any combination thereof. In one aspect, the shaped tortillas (e.g., bun shaped products) are used in conjunction 5 with edible string. This can be used to provide fun for kids and increased portability for work lunches. In various aspects, one or more different flavours of string can be used with one tortilla. In accordance with the invention, the shaped tortillas can be used as 'blank canvas' allowing consumers to create own taste preferences and also experiment as tortilla taste 10 compliments all kinds of flavours and ingredients. The shaped tortillas allow a large number of options for fillings and folding. The texture and thickness of the shaped tortillas is ideal for a variety of meal choices. It is flexible enough to hold fillings and avoid breakage, and moist enough to please the palate. In particular, the shaped tortillas can be used as a breakfast alternative (e.g., with 15 cooked eggs, omelettes, ham, bacon, or VEGEMITETM brand food paste (which is a dark brown food paste made from yeast extract, used mainly as a spread on sandwiches, toast and cracker biscuits, as well as a filling of pastries. VEGEMITE food paste is made from leftover brewers' yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, and various vegetable and spice additives), for lunch (cold fillings such as salad, ham, lunch meats, etc.), and for 20 dinner (hot fillings such as meats, vegetables, etc.). It will be understood that Mexican fillings (e.g., taco, burrito fillings) are specifically envisioned, including lettuce, beans, peppers, cheese, cooked meat or poultry, sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc. The present invention features a number of advantages. It allows consumers to place many types of fillings (e.g., salad greens, taco fillings, etc.) inside, but is lighter and 25 healthier than a fried shell or a bread bowl. It gives the advantage of being able to hold the fillings in the tortilla while reducing the problem of filling falling out the sides of a typical taco shell or tortilla. The ends of the formed tortilla can be sealed, so there is minimized leaking out of the end of the tortilla. The sides of the tortilla can rise from the base slightly so that fillings are less likely to leak out during filling. Optional side extensions can make 30 the tortilla enclosed. In this way, the invention provides the convenience of a pre-formed shell, in pliable, healthier, low mess presentation. The invention gives consumers the option of a soft, neater to eat tortilla. The shaped tortillas remain tender and malleable to give the true tortilla 10 eating experience with minimal cracking. The shaped tortillas of the invention are clearly distinguished from shells which are deep fried and crispy. The invention is unique in that it provides for tortillas to retain a predetermined shape without the need for frying, while maintaining a soft texture. Also, the present products are to be distinguished from smaller 5 bite-sized tortilla chips which are crisp and frangible whether made by deep fat frying or baking or other bite sized carriers, or holders. As further advantages, the shaped tortillas can be made on a sheeting line with high throughput. The shapes can be stackable for compact packaging. The tortilla products can be provided in a shelf stable format with re-sealable packaging. The soft format of the 10 formed tortillas avoids the breakage and wastage associated with hard shelled holders. The portability of the shaped tortillas gives consumers the freedom to eat at home, at work or on the go. It provides consumers with convenient eating solutions, including spontaneous and last minute meal options. The invention also encompasses a method of making a soft tortilla which is formed 15 into a shape. The method can comprise putting raw tortilla dough in a mould and cooking it to completion to set the shape. Alternatively, the method can comprise heating raw tortilla dough in a mould to set the tortilla shape without fully cooking it. The shaped dough is then heated in a further step to fully cook it, so as to cause the structure to become firm, and to lower the moisture level. 20 As another alternative, the method can comprise preheating flattened tortilla dough; further heating the flattened dough in a mould to set the shape; and further heating the moulded dough to fully cook it and to reduce the moisture content. In a further alternative, the method can comprise heating a flat precooked and preheated tortilla; wrapping the heated, flat precooked and preheated tortilla around a mould to form a shape; and allowing 25 the warm, shaped soft tortilla product to cool in a manner that retains the shape and reduces the moisture content. As a still further alternative, the method can comprise injecting raw dough or batter into a mould and cooking it to completion to set the shape. In an even further alternative, the method can comprise injecting raw dough or batter into a mould and heating it to set the 30 shape without fully cooking it. The shaped dough is then heated in a further step to fully cook it, so as to cause the structure to become firm, and to lower the moisture level. The method can further comprise causing the dough to create gas bubbles in an irregular manner so as to cause browned areas or points. The method can still further 11 comprise using two heated cooking moulds, wherein the first mould comprises a cavity in the shape of the tortilla product; and the second mould comprises a protrusion shaped to fit into the cavity of the first mould. These are commonly called male and female moulds. It should be noted that, while the present invention finds particular suitability for use 5 in connection with the provision of white flour based recipes, the skilled artisan will appreciate that the present invention finds usefulness in provision of recipes encompassing corn flour, masa flour, rice flour, wheat flour, multigrain flour, whole grain flour, or any combination thereof, including wheat/white blends, multigrain/white blends, masa/white blends. The shaped tortillas can be prepared as products that are reduced fat (,i.e., reduced 10 or lower in fat compared or relative to fried tortilla shells) having a fat content of 20% or less, or low fat, reduced or low carbohydrate, or reduced or low sodium, or "lite", or any combination thereof. By "low fat" is meant herein a product having a fat content of 10% or less. In certain preferred embodiments, the present tortilla products have fat levels ranging from about 5-9% fat. 15 For corn tortillas, masa dough can be formed. This can be done by purchasing masa dough from a vendor, purchasing masa flour, and mixing it with water, annatto (an optional yellow colouring), salt, and rework to form the dough, or by purchasing raw corn and processing it to make the masa dough. If raw corn is purchased, the raw corn is cooked with lime and then steeped. The corn is then washed and ground into masa flour, which is 20 then mixed with other ingredients to form the dough. The dough (i.e., any type or flavour) can be processed through a sheeting machine to form flat raw tortilla dough. In one embodiment, the flat raw highly developed tortilla dough is placed onto moulds prior to heating. In another embodiment, the tortilla dough is pre-heated during flattening, before placement. In an alternate embodiment, the tortilla 25 dough is cooked before placement onto the moulds. According to the invention, the moulds can be solid, or vented and/or perforated, or conventional forms having upper and lower plates. The tortillas or tortilla dough (preheated or not) can then be heated to adopt the form of the moulds. For this heating, the tortillas or tortilla dough can optionally be baked, 30 resulting in tortillas with toast marks. This also reduces moisture content. After heating, the moulded products exit as one or more shapes described herein. Since the formed tortillas are still pliable for short periods while still hot immediately after heating, care is taken to preserve the desired shape. The shapes become more rigid as the tortillas cool. 12 The shaped products are heated to reduce the moisture content. For this, any warm heat source can be used. Baking is preferred, including baking by conventional ovens, convection ovens, rotary rack ovens, brick ovens, infra-red ovens, tortilla ovens, and toaster ovens. Grilling can also be used. In certain aspects, the invention specifically excludes the 5 use of microwave heating. Preferably, the shaped tortillas are heated to retain softness while avoiding a tough, chewy, or soggy texture. In various aspects, the moisture content of the final product can be in a range from about 23% to about 28%, or specifically, about 24%, about 25%, or about 26%. In particular aspects, the water activity of the final product can be in a range of about 0.82 to about 0.92, or less than 0.88. 10 In the preferred embodiment, the shaped soft tortilla piece is fabricated from a dough formulation from a chemically leavened wheat based or farinaceous baked developed or gluten structured dough. Batters and doughs as used herein are distinguishable compositions even though each comprises some number of common ingredients. "Dough" as used herein refers to an intermediate food product that has a gluten-based structure. In [5 dough, the gluten forms a continuous dough elastic medium into which other ingredients are embedded. A dough is typically prepared by mixing, and kneading or "working" and is often stiff enough to cut into various shapes. In contrast, "batter" as used herein refers to an intermediate food product that comprises flour, water, eggs and salt and optionally fat and sugars that are a starch batter Z0 based composition. In a batter, gluten development is purposefully minimized. Batters are inelastic. Liquid added to make the batter forms a continuous batter medium in which other ingredients are dispersed. A batter cooks into a soft, moist and sometimes crumbly product. A batter is typically prepared by blending, creaming, stirring or whipping and is generally thin enough to pour or scoop or squeeze out of container. Thicker batters in the form of a 25 paste have certain properties of thickness similar to doughs but nonetheless are quite different therefrom. "Dough" as used herein further refers to an intermediate food product that has a low water concentration. Prior to piece forming and case hardening, the dough, has a water activity within a range of about 0.95 to 0.99 and a moisture content ranging from about 30 30 40% In the present invention, in the preferred embodiment, at least a major portion (greater than about 51%) of the flour used to prepare the dough is a wheat flour. The flour ingredients can further include a minor portion (less than about 49%) of additional flour 13 types. For example, in certain variations, the minor portion can includes corn flour, corn masa, masa harina and mixtures thereof. Good results are obtained when a medium protein of "all-purpose" wheat flour (having a gluten based protein content ranging from about 9 12% is used to supply wheat flour. Bread flour (having a higher gluten protein content 5 ranging from about 12% to 16%) can also be used. Lower protein content cake flours (having a protein content of less than 6%) are less preferred although blends of cake or pastry flours and bread flour (to achieve an averaged wheat flour protein content ranging from about 6-9%) can be used. In a preferred embodiment, a flour is employed having about 11.5% protein. 10 The doughs can also comprise added ingredients to increase dough stability, to improve eating quality, and to prolong palatability. Unlike traditional fresh tortilla dough formulations, the present dough formulation of the present invention, in highly preferred embodiments, comprise from about 1% to about 15% of an edible fat or shortening ingredient, preferably about 4-10% and for best 15 results about 9%. A shortening component adds richness to the eating properties of the finished baked goods as well as aids in the leavening process. Most importantly, the shortening component provides additional flexibility or pliability to the tortilla product over its extended shelf life. Preferred for use herein are shortening ingredients that are solid at room temperature 20 to provide physical stability. Useful herein to provide such room temperature solid fats are hydrogenated fats such as obtained from common vegetable oils such as soy, corn, canola, safflower, cottonseed, and the like. However, since hydrogenated fats can be sources of undesirable trans fatty acids, current health trends disfavour usage of hydrogenated fats. Thus, preferred for use herein are those naturally occurring fats that are solid at room 25 temperature without hydrogenation. Among these, preferred for use herein are palm, coconut, palm kernel oil, and fractions and mixtures thereof. Of course, mixtures of naturally solid fats and fats obtained by hydrogenation are contemplated. The present invention can further comprise about 2% to about 15% of a humectant on a dry weight basis, preferably about 4% to about 8%. Humectant addition is helpful in 30 achieving the present water activity levels and the microbial shelf stability at room temperature provided by the present food products. The humectant can be any commonly employed humectants ingredient. Preferred humectants for use herein are selected from the group consisting of glycerin, glycerol, mannitol, propylene glycol, sorbitol, xylitol and 14 mixtures thereof. Preferred for use herein is glycerin by itself or a mixture of sorbitol and glycerin. The dough can additionally include about 0.1% to about 4% salt, preferably about 0.5% to 3% salt. 5 Unlike traditional fresh tortilla dough formulations, the dough of the invention can and in preferred embodiments do, also comprise a chemical leavening system or baking powder to provide a chemically leavened wheat dough. The chemical leavening or baking powder useful herein are suc