The Fresh Loaf

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Chapati flour - what is it?

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triptogenetica's picture
triptogenetica

Chapati flour - what is it?

I finally have a question and hoped a TFL expert might know the answer!

I just bought a 10kg sack of chapati flour from Tesco (here in the UK, Tesco often has a good selection of "ethnic" foods). 
I've been looking for something cheaper than strong white flour, to feed my sourdough starter, and also possibly to bake with. 

But, I can't find much info on what exactly Chapati flour is!

Some sites say it's a strong wheat flour.  Others say it's made from "semi-hard" wheat, maybe even Durum.  Others say it's not strong / hard, more like plain flour, with low protein / gluten.  Wikipedia distinguishes between "Atta" which is wholemeal", and "maida" which is bleached white flour.  Mine resembles Atta. 

On promotion, it was £3 for 10kg, which is way cheaper than even the cheapest plain white flour.

On the sack, it says "Chapati flour - medium - wholemeal wheat flour", but not much else.  The flour itself is like a very fine wholemeal.  It kneads to a stretchy dough which makes me think it is at least a semi hard grain.

 

I see some similar questions on here from 2008 - did anyone find out the answer?

amberartisan's picture
amberartisan

Chapati Flour is a Durum wheat flour that is ground very finely. It is a wholegrain flour. It is not terribly well-suited to making freestanding loaves because while it has a lot of extensibility, it lacks elasticity. In this regard it is sort of like Kamut or Einkorn.

triptogenetica's picture
triptogenetica

Thank you! That makes a lot of sense, that's certainly how it behaves! I've never baked with kamut or einkorn, buy it reminds me of spelt. Except costs far far less. 

So if it doesn't support itself very well, it'd be a good candidate for the bread maker sandwich loaf? 

e.g the loaf I've been making this week:

 

250g white sourdough starter

300g chapati flour

100g strong white flour

320ml water

6g salt

20 to 30ml sunflower oil (a big splash)

 

Sourdough program (takes 7 hours). Mmmmm! 

 

I should admit I'm now feeding the starter this flour, too, and it seems to be a success! 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

and feed the extracted part to starters and the levain.  I get about a 10% extraction.  The 90% makes better bread as it doesn't have the hard bits.  Your recipe at 84% hydration should make some fine bread with the whole grain durum.  You will love the yellow tinge of the crumb and the crust is like no other bread. 

Happy Baking 

triptogenetica's picture
triptogenetica

that's interesting - so you're using the 90%, the fine white flour (that gets through the sieve) for the bread, and feeding the 10%, the bran that's left in the sieve to the starter?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I also feed the 10% to build the  levain as well.  Normally when i mill my own wheat the extraction is 15% but for already milled whole meal semolina that is so finely ground already I only get a 10% extraction of harder bits.  I like to get the hard bit as wet for as long as possible so they really get a chance to soften and have the wee beasties break them down for as long as possible.  Starters and levain also love the harder bits and are mire active too.  I make all my breads this way now a days.  The flavor of the bread is better and the crumb iof whole grain bread is more open due to the hard bits not cutting the gluten strands as much.

Happu Baking

triptogenetica's picture
triptogenetica

That makes sense, thank you, I might try that method, because I'm keen not to waste the bran / fibre, but anything which makes it easier to bake with, like a pre soak, is very welcome.