first scientific studies of the physical, chemical, and nutritional
characteristics of tortillas began in 1953. Efforts were also
undertaken in the 1950's to improve the traditional nixtamalization
process, although dramatic changes in the process were not considered.
Experiments were conducted in the 1970's in an attempt to speed
up the nixtamalization process and cut processing times. The use
of steam and boiling water in the cooking process, as well as
the elimination of the steeping step, were investigated. Although
such methods did speed up the process, the masa and tortillas
produced in these ways were of inferior quality.