What is Atta Flour?

Atta or Chakki Atta is a finely ground whole wheat flour, produced in India. It’s used to make flatbreads such as chapati, roti, naan, paratha and puri. It is also widespread in Pakistan.

The main difference between Indian whole wheat Atta flour and the normal whole wheat flour from North America is in the milling process and the type of wheat used.

In Canada whole wheat flour is made using hard red spring wheat. (I’m still trying to figure out what kind of wheat this Indian flour uses-it just says heavy on the palm and golden amber in colour, and hard to the bite, whatever that means)

Chakki Atta (Whole Wheat Flour) from India myfavouritepastiime.com
Chakki Atta (Whole Wheat Flour) from India myfavouritepastiime.com

North American Whole Wheat Flour

The North American whole wheat flour is milled using steel rollers. First, the endosperm (starch) is separated from the bran and the germ. The endosperm goes through the milling process.

To produce whole wheat flour, the separated bran is added back to the flour after milling. If you sift whole wheat flour produced in Canada or USA, it will normally separate into flour and bran as shown in the picture below.

Sifted whole wheat flour from Canada myfavouritepastime.com

Atta or Chakki Atta from India 

On the contrary the Atta Flour (Chakki Atta) is stone ground into a very fine powder. This process is called Chakki grinding and both the endosperm and bran is finely milled.

If you sift the whole wheat flour made using the Chakki method of grinding. It will not separate into bran and flour because everything is ground together into a fine flour. See photo below.

Sifted Atta flour from India myfavouritepastime.com
Sifted Atta flour from India myfavouritepastime.com

Can I use Whole Wheat Atta Flour for making bread?

The atta flour has 10% protein content and Canadian All Purpose flour has 13.3% protein content and is a blend of soft and hard wheat. I don’t know the type of wheat used in making the Indian Atta flour and how it compares to the Canadian wheat. I normally mix the Atta flour with Canadian All-purpose in a ratio of 1:1 to make my chapatis.

Although the  Chakki Atta flour is good for making flat breads, it’s not good for making yeast breads. When I knead it, it does not have the same elastic strength and bounce I feel when I knead the Canadian All Purpose flour. The dough seems to have a very flat sticky and limp feel to it. It however, rolls easily, without springing back (elastic dough springs back after rolling).

In my opinion, the best part of this dough is the ability to roll thinly without springing back and it also makes softer chapatis compared to those made from Canadian All-purpose flour.

If you are from India and you’re reading this post please give me your thoughts. Thank you!

Below is my bag of whole wheat flour, exported from India. I use it to make chapati.

Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour myfavouritepastime.com

100g (3.5oz) Whole Wheat Atta Flour has 366 calories and the following:

  • Fat: 1.66g (saturated 0g, trans, 0)
  • Cholesterol: 0g
  • Sodium: 33mg
  • Carbohydrate: 76g (Fibre 10g; Sugar: 3.3g)
  • Protein: 10g

RDA for the following mineral and vitamins

  • Iron: 33.3%
  • Calcium: 6.6%
  • Vitamin A: 6.6%
  • Vitamin C: 3.3%

Source: my bag of flour

myfavouritepastime.com Last updated: May 1 2020

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

11 thoughts

    1. Yes I mostly buy the Chakki Atta from Walmart. I didn’t know I could also find it in Food Basics. I live near a food basics. Thank you for the information. Stay safe!

  1. Hi Liz, I am from India. Yes, the Indian atta flour is ground together with bran and gives nice soft chapatis. It wouldn’t be used for making traditional breads or even cakes. They result in much denser bread than the regular stuff. Some people do like it though.

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know. I really love using it for chapati. It’s so much better than the Canadian All Purpose flour which is great for cakes and yeast breads. Have a wonderful weekend!

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