The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Indian Chapati

  • Pin It
le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Indian Chapati

Some Chapati I made using Atta flour cooked on a traditional tawa

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

to be tasty!  I like to sfift out the atta, toast it and then out it back in..

 

happy grilling

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Hi Dabrownman, never thought of doing that I'm sure it must add another flavour..............

Happy baking

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely Chapatis! nice work. With proper chapati flour, this bread tastes great. I suggest you mix the dough, and let it ferment overnight, this will improve the flavor dramatically.

-khalid

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Hi Mebake,

Khalid thanks for the tip I normally knead the dough for 5 minutes or so then when you feel it's right I cover and leave for thirty minutes to an hour before using, it's interesting that you say to leave overnight, in ambient temperature or refrigerated I'm guessing ambient

Mebake's picture
Mebake

As Chapatis are unleavened flat breads, they would benefit from ambient temp. Bench rest. Long rest develops flavor, try it!

-Khalid

 

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Hi Khalid, will do a long rest this week

Happy baking

Cob's picture
Cob

There are unleavened indian flatbreads that are fermented using a range of unique flours which have a distinct flavour, chapattis though is a young and sweet dough. Fermenting it would change its characteristics to something rather different, an improvement in flavour or not. Actually, I love the simple full flavour of wholemeal. I'd not bother.

Nice work, though.I love breads made under an hour. That's what you call fast-food. Now one just has to make a dal/sloppy bhaji/dry curry to go with it!

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

When I've left my chapati dough to sit over night, it ends up being stretchy and has quite a bit of snap back.

I use a fairly soft dough to start with.  Soft chapati seem to elude me these days and I'm not sure why as I had the technique pretty well in hand before health problems stopped me cooking for several years.  I thought leaving it sit overnight might help but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Could over kneading be the problem?  Using Golden Temple btw, which is the same flour I've used for about 30 years.

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Hi Kitchen Barbarian
I know nothing of your flour as it's an American brand, I' guessing it's Atta flour, I use Elephant brand brought to me in France by friends from the UK.
You say you make a soft dough but what ingredients do you use, let me know and hopefully we can work out where you are going wrong.

All the best

Stephen

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

  • 100% flour
  • 60% water
  • dash of salt 

Sometimes I put in a T of oil, sometimes I don't (because I forget)

I believe Golden Temple is actually Canadian, I'm not sure there are any atta brands made in the USA - packaged, maybe, a lot of stuff seems to be repackaged here, but not actually produced.  Golden Temple is actually produced local to Canada.

Their website has been displaying "under construction" for about a year now. 

Here's the thing, I am almost CERTAIN that this flour changed sometime ago.  I am just SURE I remember it being a much deeper, nuttier brown color.  This flour now is very pale compared to what I think I remember.  And where I'm pretty sure they used to only have one kind of flour that was always labeled "chapati flour", now they seem to have four!!!  And I don't know which one I should use. I have never used any other brand in almost 35 years.  Now they have

  • Durum atta flour (the one I've been using)
  • Wheat atta flour
  • #1 Fine Durum atta flour
  • Durum whole wheat atta flour

I don't know which one is the same as the original atta I used to buy, but I'm pretty sure it's not the one I'm using, even though it was labeled "for chapati" on the bag.  Also I'm not sure I've ever seen the other 3 kinds in the store anyway.

The local Indian grocery is closing down here (sadly - the owner died suddenly) and the guy who owns a so-called "global market" is rude and really doesn't carry THAT much stuff, so I'm down to having to buy online.  From the online supplier I have used in the past I can get:

  • Aashirvaad 100% whole wheat flour
  • Nature Best Chakki atta
  • Annapurna 100% whole wheat flour
  • Nirav whole wheat durum atta
  • Sujata Whole wheat chakki atta

I think chakki atta just means whole wheat.  They also carry the same red label Golden Temple ("durum atta") that I have now, which I am as sure as I can be is not the same as it used to be.  And I am unfamiliar with all the brands listed above.

So I am basically starting out with new flour no matter what, I think, probably this is at least part of the reason why my chapati are failing now.  I will have to come up with a new method for mixing and frying them, and the new flour is going to feel different and behave differently.  I guess this old dog isn't learning new tricks very well!

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Well from one Old Dog to another, I would go with Aashirvaad 100% whole wheat flour, it should be pale looking not dark like you would expect from a Whole wheat flour, try making the chapati like this:

Firstly Mrs wife in India does not have scales so does not weigh ingredients

2 cups flour
1/2 a carton of yogurt approx, cartons here weigh 125g)
Some water
Salt to taste

Put flour & salt in bowl mix with a spoon, add the yogurt and a little water, mix, if it's dry add a little more water till it comes together, now use your hand to knead (still in bowl) at this point if it's still sticky add a little flour if it's dry add a splash of water, knead for 5 minutes you will feel the dough become silky smooth, now oil your hands and coat the dough lightly in oil, place back in bowl and cover with a plastic bag, leave for about 15 to 30 minutes, Knead the dough for a minute and break the dough into equal size pieces and make into golf ball size balls, roll out a ball on a floured surface as thin as you can, turning as you roll to keep a round shape, now pick it up and toss from hand to hand to remove excess flour, now cooking it, you need a hot cast iron pan or an Indian tawa place you chapati on the pan it will start to bubble flip it over and press down on it with a wide spatula and it should start to puff up ( not all of them do) flip it again you should see brown speckles on it, press again with your spatula the chapati should now be cooked but still soft, place on a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm continue with the rest of the dough.
I'm know at the stage were I can cook and roll out at the same time so the process is continuous but that will come in time, normally in India it's a family thing, one rolls another cooks.
Hope that helps you out
All the best

Stephen

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Well except for the measuring part (which I used to do by volume anyway) that's pretty much how I've always made them.  I use whey from making paneer (whenever I have it) instead of water, which ought to have a pretty similar effect to the yogurt.  But I'll have my son pick up some yogurt - not the same stuff as what you make yourself, but it'll have to do.  I think it'll be more home-like if I mix it with a little buttermilk or whey, I'll try it both ways and see.

Sadly I have lost sensation/dexterity in my hands (a little of both, shows up as a tendency to drop things - like knives, which makes running around barefoot interesting) so I have a lot of trouble with the "knead until it's feels right" part of any recipe.

Volume measure that I started out with was 2 c chapati flour to 3/4c water, that seemed to work ok for many years.  When I started having trouble I changed that to a straight 2:1 ratio; measuring that by weight is roughly 60% water, and I have gone as high as 75% which was really too wet.  Also I dust with AP flour (approx equivalent to maida in India) instead of more chapati flour when rolling because that seems to be less drying.  It takes less flour, and by the time they are rolled out there's not much dusting required.  I might try some rice flour for that. 

Now that I think of it, the thickness may be a problem.  I know when I first learned to make them I would consistently roll them out too thin, I may be doing that again.  I will have to watch that.

The tavas available here are all non-stick, at least I've not been able to find one that isn't, so I've resorted at times to trying to "bake" them on the pizza stone, which works fairly well about 1/3rd of the time - so out of 6 chapati I get 2 that puff up properly, LOL!  But they're not soft, even when I brush them with ghee both sides before baking.

I'm going to try this:  Blue steel crepe pan

I used to make them in a really cheap nonstick pan that most of the nonstick had peeled off, LOL!

The other problem is getting the heat right - I've changed stoves MANY times and I've forgotten the settings I used to use anyway.  Oil at least (for puris) I can measure the actual temp of the oil so it's not so dependent on remembering a number on the dial, LOL!  But those also have not been coming out soft, even when properly puffed.

Thanks for your assistance, this has been driving me crazy, not being able to get a chapati to come out right!  After all the effort I put in learning to make them!  People keep saying to buy them - but 40c each!  Would you pay 40c for each slice of bread?  LOL!

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

I have a soapstone griddle (like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-Inch-Round-Grilling-Stone-With-Copper-Handles-Brazil-/300938698389?pt=Bakeware&hash=item4611581e95 ) and it really works well for all my top of the stove "baking"

Paul

 

 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Nope, no steel or cast iron.  I hate cast iron, grew up cooking in it.  The cast iron you can get today isn't anything like the old cast iron anyway, what we had had to have been over 50 years old back then (50 years ago) and it's probably closer to 100 years old now, whoever has that awful stuff.  It was very finely machined, very smooth (not just the seasoned surface) - the stuff I've seen nowadays is nowhere near the same quality. 

I have Scanpans that are older than my son actually - they are good for many things but I don't like using them for this kind of thing.  Even those are getting too heavy for me to use now.  Cast iron is just out of the question, for the weight alone.  With the blue steel pan I would worry less about overheating the pan, thus have more attention left for paying attention to what's going on with the chapati.

I've even considered getting a crepe-maker but I really don't have the space for one right now.  Hopefully caring for one cast iron disk that never moves would be less trouble than an actual pan, but - no space anyway, and my dosa come out just fine on the pan I've been using for that so I'll just stick with what I've got for the nonce.  I can't get over having no trouble with dosa but I can't manage chapati any more, LOL!

Wherever did you get a soapstone pan?   Oh, well, apparently e-bay, LOL!  How do you care for that?  Does it have to be seasoned?  How much does it WEIGH?  Can you make something with a wet batter on that, like a pancake, or a crepe (or a dosa)?  Do you preheat it in the oven?  It doesn't seem like it would heat evenly on an electric coil ...

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

You were not joking when you said "Old Dog" ..... forget about adding this or mixing that, make them the way I have said roll them out thin 1/16" and cook them on a pressed steel or cast frying pan use no oil or ghee, by all means spread a little ghee / butter once cooked.
Re the kneading you can see when it comes together, just knead for 5 minutes will be fine rest then knead for 1 minute then use.

The pan you have picked is fine a little on the small size just means you will have to make the chapati smaller, so no big deal.
You don't have a steel or cast pan at home?
Cooking them in the oven they will turn out like crackers ....... hard and crispy.

All the best & let me know the results

Stephen

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

The chapati don't come out of the oven "like crackers", but they are no softer than making them on stovetop lately.  If I can get them to puff properly they're a lot closer to OK than what I get out of the pan these days, but like I said only about 1 of 3 puff properly.  The problem is to zoom in on the proper amount of heat ; opening and closing the oven so much obviously messes things up.  Whatever is going on has more to do with something about the quality of the dough (and the changed flour) and my inability to cope with it than where they're being cooked.  And I'm probably rolling them to thin.

Chapati ARE small, a 10.5" pan is kind of overkill - but perhaps there again I'm an old dog who won't learn new tricks.  I learned to make them small and one at a time, and small and one at a time is how I've always made them.  I would only need a larger pan if I were making more than one at a time, and  I just don't see how making more than one would work out, what with needing to get them to bubble up properly.  I don't have a ruler to hand but I would guess I make mine about 6", give or take.  They're about the same size as everybody I know who makes them, so I never really thought about the size.

My MIL just made them on a gas burner on the floor, using a much smaller pan than the one I'm contemplating buying - maybe 8".  Just a cheap iron tava.  Possibly my memory has grown dim, but that's what I remember.

Did you not say your wife was making them in India?  I guess I assumed that she was making them with home made yogurt, which I don't make any more myself.  The stuff you get here in the grocery is not the same, even if you go for the organic.

The problem with following the instructions exactly is - no measurements.  I'm not sure I can recognize when the dough is "right" since I don't have full sensation in my hands.  But I will try.  Sometime in the next week, hopefully.  I would also like to be able to freeze the dough - any energy saving I can manage these days is all to the good, LOL!

Thanks for your help.  I will keep you posted. 

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Kitchen Barbarian (sorry don't know your name) you sound so full of doom & gloom you may be struggling my friend but aren't we ALL ...... Maybe you would like to swop with me I have Vasculitis (it's a rare blood disorder) where my Autoimmune system instead of attacking bad stuff attacks me so they have to close my Autoimmune system down so I am open to anything that's going but it also has many associate problems to numerous to mention here, including my tumor (Google Vasculitis, Wegener's) and I moved to France with my partner but after 5 years here she walked out, could not cope with my illness I speak a little French badly so can you imagine what it's like when I'm whisked into hospital when I have a flare .... so we're ALL in the Schitt mate ...... don't worr about how good or bad something is today, just say to yoourself "is it going to change my life" if it ain't it don't matter but we MUST have a POSITIVE outlook remember
"Illegitimi non carborundum " Soapbox message over .....................

My chapati are 8 to 9 inches in size so can be used to wrap around food as well as just breaking to scoop food up, I suppose a bit like a tortilla, when it comes to is the dough right use your eyes you know what it should look like you can see if it's too wet or too dry.
My gawd how thin can you get them mine are about 1.5 to 2mm max if you roll them thinner than that I would be truly amazed, chapati are meant to be cooked on a tava or tawa on the hob not in the oven so any old heavy metal pan will do, your cooking a chapati not a 5 course feast.
No my wife is not Indian it was my way of saying a "Typical wife in Indian", I should have explained it better.
So what is your Indian connection?

So chill out worry about YOU and make some good chapati :)

Chin up mate be HAPPY your still here and that's all that matters.

Stephen

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Actually I was and am pretty cheerful!  I'm not sure why you thought I was being "doom and gloom"-y.

I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.  I, too, have a severe health problem, which I won't go into much other than to say there are neurological issues and I can no longer live alone.  Fortunately my son is taking care of me.  I have not-as-bad-as-usual periods and not-so-good periods.  Currently in a not-as-bad-as-usual period.  To be in a foreign country on top of this would be so much more difficult and isolating.  I feel for you.

I don't prefer my chapati that size but you are welcome to make them that large.  I only use them for scooping up curry, LOL!  So the 10.25" pan is actually rather largish - the actual cooking area is about 8.5, plenty for the size chapati I make.  As for making them in the oven, its a creative way to get around my worries about burning up my non-stick pan.  No, its not ideal, but it does work - sorta.  It's at least no worse than what I'm dealing with now.  And I don't plan to continue doing it once I have a more appropriate pan, its too much trouble and it only works sorta.  I have higher expectations for stovetop methods, LOL!  I'll leave the oven and the baking stone for the naan.  I will be ordering the pan today.

And yes, if I don't watch it, I get them insanely thin - thin enough to see through in a shadowy sort of way.  So I have to watch it.  I used to do the same thing with puri, everybody kept saying "roll them out thin" so ... I DID!  LOL!  I just have to home in on the sweet spot until I recognize it automatically again.

My husband was from S. India so I've been cooking Indian food since the 70's.  I learned to make chapati from my MIL, hunkered down on the floor over a gas burner with a pan just a little larger than the chapati itself, one at a time.  She didn't speak a word of English and I had about 3 words of Telugu, but cooking is a universal language, LOL!  So it's frustrating to get to this stage of my life and suddenly not be able to make them anymore.  But I will persevere.  I just hope I don't have to relearn every time after I have a not-so-good period again, LOL!  To minimize the risk of that I am trying to write down exact and complete directions for myself.

Honestly I am not depressed, gloomy, or down in any way. I am, in fact, happy to have the wherewithal to try to get this issue straightened out for myself. I'm not sure how that came across that way, but I apologize if it seemed I was dumping negative vibes.

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Hi PJ afraid your link does not work but I looked up soapstone griddle and they all had ridges in them no flat surface maybe it can be turned over?? is there a flat surface you can use on the back? They seem quiet expensive to me, I'll stick to my cast & steel pans & my tawa for my chapati, it's what Indians use so good enough for me.

Happy baking

Stephen

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Barbarian my tawa is 11" approx

Stephen

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

The pan I'm looking at is 10.25" - close enough, LOL!  Is your tava nonstick?  I gave up on an actual tava because I couldn't find one that WASN'T nonstick.  Not locally at least - I'm sure you can find them in India.

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86
Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I'm not sure what your point is?  I have a perfectly acceptable pan, listed above. Same brand as the 14" Paderno, which is too big for my purposes but probably perfect for yours.

The cast iron is too heavy for me.  Plus I hate cast iron and refuse to own a single piece.  That's just my feeling about the stuff, LOL!

That last one I would not reject out of hand but I'm pretty happy with the crepe pan at this point.  I will bookmark that site though - isn't that a Japanese name?  I would never have looked at a site with a name like that for Indian cookware, LOL!

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

No Point, you carry on, " I gave up on an actual tava because I couldn't find one that WASN'T nonstick. Not locally at least - I'm sure you can find them in India."
My Tawa / Tava is from India and is Steel

Stephen

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Stephen, I'm sorry that I seem to have offended you - but honestly I COULD NOT find a not-nonstick Tava locally to me, or even on line.  The one you posted a link to above is intended for serving - it might or might not be OK for stove-top use.  There were a couple of tavas in the store where I shop - or shopped, before I moved - they were non-stick.  So, no locally-available tavas that were not non-stick.  I also checked the 2 or 3 places I typically buy stuff online from - those tavas were also all non-stick.

I hadn't mentioned this before, but my preference for a chapati griddle is actually not to use a curved tava at all, but a flat one.  This is what my MIL used - it was a flat disk of probably cast-iron (it HAS been almost 40 years after all, no wonder if my memory is a little fuzzy on that detail).  I have NEVER been able to find a flat tava at all, either locally or online, non-stick or otherwise, except for very large ones intended for restaurant use making dosa.  And as far as I know, the flat ones are still called tavas, at least everyone I know (Indians) calls it a tava even if it's flat.

But the issue really isn't with my pan, it's the chapati dough.  I've been using the pan I have now, but I don't feel safe experimenting with it because of the risk of burning off the non-stick - a low risk possibility but one I can't ignore given my slowness in responding to some things sometimes.  I've also experimented with making them in the oven - something other people (I mean people from INDIA) do from time to time, with mixed results, sometimes slightly better than stove top but mostly about the same.  So I'm not sure how we got stuck on this issue over the pan - which I had taken steps to correct before I even posted about the dough - my crepe pan is on the way.

Again, if I have managed to offend you, I do apologize, it was most definitely not intentional.  However my statement re not being able to find a tava that was not non-stick is in fact factual.  Not only could I not find one locally, I couldn't find one online either.  My friends who are Indian ALSO couldn't locate one, nor a flat tava of any sort (they brought theirs from India).

The fact that you managed to come up with one in your possession or a link to a possibility on line doesn't change that.  Obviously you were more successful at that than I was.

I can't do the Indian store online order 'til next month - limited incomes don't always stretch to extras, at least not more than one extra in the same month - but I will try your method of chapati making with the new flour when I can manage it.  I won't post back here - I finally noticed that this is apparently somebody's blog instead of the regular forums so I won't keep clogging this up - but I will post to the forums when the new flour arrives and I've had a chance to play with it.

In the meantime I guess I'll give the chapatis a rest for awhile and concentrate on Naan instead - something I won't feel too bad about if they don't come out right at once, since I rarely made them in the past and I don't think at all in the past 15 years, LOL!

I hope you are feeling better soon, or at least as "better" as possible.  I really have appreciated your help, despite this misunderstanding.

le boulonger86's picture
le boulonger86

Barbarian you have not offended me, it takes a lot to offend me but I feel we are talking at cross purposes, which is confusing but not to worry as it's not important.

For Naans go here : http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33958/indian-naan-bread

All the best

Stephen