The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Making Chapatis

albacore's picture

Making Chapatis

There are lots of different ways to make chapatis; this is how I do it.

Here's my equipment:

I'm lucky enough to own a vintage Indian chakla, but of course any smooth flat rolling board will do



and a belan/rolling pin



A tawa for cooking the chapatis



Chaba for keeping warm and serving




Very simple. I've been using Sharbati atta - whole wheat flour grown in India and very finely stoneground. No visible bran. I don't know how they get it so fine. It's very weak, so I like to add 20% medium strength bread flour, otherwise it tears easily.

I keep the hydration low - 62.5%. I used to go higher, but it makes life more difficult; the dough tends to stick to the chakla and tawa if you aren't very careful.

For liquid I use half cold milk and half boiling water. I put the flour in the mixer bowl, push it to one side and pour in the milk to the other side. Then I put the water into the milk pool, and knead the dough in the Kenwood with the spiral hook for about 5 minutes.

To make 4 chapatis - good for 2 people, I use:

  • 200g sharbati atta
  • 50g bread flour
  • 78g cold milk
  • 78g boiling water
  • no salt

Cover and rest for 20-30mins.



When ready to make, divide the dough into 4, press by hand to discs and roll out to a good size. Best to get rid of any excess flour as it burns and spoils the look of the chappies.

One of these is very useful:




Cook the chapati on the preheated tawa, both sides



When done, briefly hold the chapatti over an open gas flame, if you have one; it will char and puff up nicely.



Store the chapati in a tea towel on the chaba.

And here they are, ready to eat with your favourite curry!







gavinc's picture

They look great. We often cook Indian dishes here, but I haven't mastered Chapatis cooking. Thanks for the recipe and instructions. Do you oil the tawa before cooking them?

happycat's picture

Nicely done!

I can make lots of complicated things but flatbreads are something I consistently mess up. I bought a stack of fresh tortillas yesterday for that reason.

Maybe I'll give your recipe a go as I have tons of atta flour here.

Maybe I should give in and use the rolling oin instead of trying to cheat with the pasta roller.

albacore's picture

Thanks Gavin and David; Gavin, keep the tawa dry - no oil. The trick is to regulate the heat - you don't want the tawa so hot that dough sticks, but if it's too cool, the chappie will go hard on the outside before it cooks through. 

So I do turn the gas up and down as I proceed with cooking. You soon get the hang of it.

I think my major breakthroughs were to reduce the hydration and to brush off excess flour.

David, interesting idea with the pasta roller and I've seen a similar but bigger machine (and mounted vertically) in Asian takeaways. But doesn't a pasta machine make small chapatis?


JonJ's picture

Such an interesting post Lance. Impressed at the equipment you have to hand. Do you have Indian family, or is it just a baker's obsession?

In my part of the world (Cape Town) we always call them "rotis" and they're super easy to buy everywhere so I've never tried making my own even though I have a stash of atta.

Most times the rotis are soft and elastic and are very much like your chapatis, but sometimes they're made in a buttery and flaky form, as you'd use for a salomie that looks like this.

I've never understood the distinction, to my mind chapatis are just a more rustic version of a roti, perhaps you can enlighten us if you know the difference?


albacore's picture

The old bakers' obsession, I'm afraid. The chakla was a self picked birthday present - no one ever knows what to buy me anyway!

I know it's a contentious idea and it goes against my scientific background, but sometimes I think that using authentic equipment makes a better product. Eg, when cooking Chinese food, I always get my Chinese chef knife and chopping block out!

I think chapatti and roti are very much the same thing - just different names. Those flaky rotis look good, there must be some oil or butter in there - maybe more like a paratha?



happycat's picture

I know it's a contentious idea and it goes against my scientific background, but sometimes I think that using authentic equipment makes a better product. Eg, when cooking Chinese food, I always get my Chinese chef knife and chopping block out!

I don't think it's contentious or unscientific. Food is an expression of culture. Engaging in culture to make the food increases mindfulness. Increased mindfulness improves appreciation. :)


Kistida's picture

.. and gorgeously made too! "Roti" means bread, originally 'rotika' in Sanskrit, I believe. I would love to make paratha (another name: roti canai) one of these days, they're flaky because of butter or oil between the layers; the dough is stretched thin, brushed with butter or oil, rolled up and then divided and rolled/flattened (similar method is used to produce flaky pastries using oil and water doughs). Dini shares a great recipe that looks almost easy (I HOPE). Hope to see your version of paratha one day Lance :)

- Christi (love love loves Indian food ha!)

albacore's picture

Thanks Christi; you are tempting me with that paratha recipe!