Masa corn makes up the part of the tamale that surrounds the meat filling.
2 cups freshly ground masa for tamales or 3 cups masa harina
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup fresh lard, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
If you're using masa harina, pour it into a bowl and add 2 cups warm water. Work the mixture into a dough with your hands and then set it aside to rest for about 15 minutes.
Add the lard to the workbowl of a standing mixer fixed with the whisk attachment (or use a regular hand mixer in a large bowl) and beat it together with the salt and baking powder until light and fluffy.
If you're using a standing mixer, switch to the paddle attachment. While beating, add the reconstituted (or freshly ground) masa by handfuls into the workbowl. Add the stock and beat until combined. Taste the mixture and add salt if necessary.
Continue beating until the masa is light and fluffy, 15 or 20 minutes. The masa is ready when a grape-sized ball of dough floats in a glass of cold water. If the dough sinks continue beating 5 minutes longer, then test it again.