Are you confused about Atta flour – I certainly have been…
Atta belongs to the Asia/India family of flours. Atta by itself is a generic term for flour in the Indian dialect and usually refers to a very fine & soft textured wholemeal flour used to make Indian flat bread, which is why it is often also referred to as Chapati flour.
Atta is also another word for “dough” in the Indian dialect.
Atta is made from Gehun (an Indian wheat, which is similar to Durum wheat, both a hard type of wheat, infact both wheats are used as atta). It appears there is a certain amount of confusion associated with atta as regards low gluten claims. Be aware that Atta Flour is wheat based and definitely not gluten free. However, since atta is also a generic term for flour, it is referred to in the context of sorghum flour which is gluten free and hence, the potential confusion. So, if you are looking for gluten free CHECK ingredients list label!!! Soft flour is deemed to be lower in gluten, however, that doesn’t make it “gluten free”.
The milling process for Atta flour is done by cracking which results in high starch damage and reduces the loss of ash content which is suitable for increased water absorption and facilitates a higher elasticity to the dough. Chakki is the traditional implement used for grinding the wheat to make Atta flour, which is basically a stone grinder.
Atta is usually used to make: chapatis (un-leavened flatbread, griddle baked on a tawa/tava utensil); naan (leavened flat bread); parathas (flaky more luxurious version of chapatis); and puri (a smaller version of chapatis, deep fried instead of griddle baked); roti (more of a general term for bread which has other components such as onion or chillies incorporated into the dough, it can also be the vessel enclosing savoury fillings of choice).
Other forms of flour I have come across which use this A.K.A. are: bajra atta (millet flour); and jowar atta (sorghum flour)
If you are able to share more pertinent information on this topic, please feel free to comment and advise!