From time and again I’ve seen people having discussions about aata/Maida and how the former is much better.
I’ve had my own students ask so many times how to substitute maida for aata in a false understanding that it will somehow make it better for “health”. Gosh! 😐
Well I hate to break it to you guys but IT IS NOT!
Unless you’re using freshly milled whole wheat be it at home or the chakki… Don’t expect your store bought aata cakes to be any better than maida cakes.
Let’s see what a wheat kernel consists of –
This is the starchy middle part of the grain, which largely consists of carbohydrates. Most simple white flours contain only endosperm.
The outer husk of the grain, known as bran is where all the fibre is. Bran gives whole grain flours their characteristic brown color and texture.
It is the epicenter of the grain and is a concentrated source of nutrients. This is where most of the protiens, minerals and vitamins of the wheat kernel sits. Flour retains the germ during the milling process is considered more nutritious for obvious reasons. This also contributes to the rough texture of whole wheat flours.
Most of our commercial aata brands aim towards giving a “smooth and soft” texture to the rotis. This means that it largely consists only of the endosperm. They also add a little bit of bran for the colour and texture of aata and no germ whatsoever.
This is done for two reasons –
1. To give a smooth texture to the dough.
2. To sell germ as a separate product, hence making more money.
Whenever your aata pack says – “enriched with vitamins, minerals bla bla”. Do not get happy!
Enriched means stripping the flour off all it’s nutrients and then putting some back in. Which is so stupid if you really think about it!
Aata needs more water to form a dough or a batter, that’s only because of the small amount of bran in it. Which also makes your cakes or breads a slight bit heavier in comparison. If you’re someone who like the taste of it, then great!
But trust me, you’re not getting any nutrition from it.
In India according to the rules, any commercial bread that has above 50% aata, can be titled “Whole wheat bread”.
Indians being a fan of everything “soft” these companies make these so called breads with 51% aata and rest is maida.
This gives them the right to title it as “Whole wheat bread”.
And people think it’s some kind of a health heaven. 😑
People should start reading the ingredients of the products they purchase at the back side.
So next time you want to “lovingly” make aata bread, cakes and cookies for your family, you might want to use freshly milled chakki aata rather than the packets.
Else, you might as well use a good organic maida to make your goodies and have them in small portions.