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)
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.
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.
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.
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