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Roti – what flour is best?


sabg
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What roti are you referring to? In Hindi, roti just means bread. So in India the term can be used to refer to breads in general or sometimes it can be part of a bread name such as makki ki roti, which is roti made from maize. Other times people say roti to indicate chapati.

Outside of India the term roti can imply something similar but with a regional twist. For instance in Trinidad there are various roti that are somewhat similar to Indian breads but made with white flour instead of ata.

Going back to India to answer your besan question - there are indeed breads that use some besan in the dough. A well known variety is called missi roti. It has ata, besan and spices in the dough and is very tasty, often considered a Winter food as it is a little heavier and more warming than plain roti. But I don't believe I've ever come across a roti made only from besan. Besan does not have gluten and I think it would be difficult to knead and form into a good bread. Of course there are roti made from non-gluten flours (jau, jowar, bajra, ragi, makki) but somehow besan is different and isn't used in the same way. I guess maybe because it's a legume and not a grain?

You can make something bread-like using only besan though - besan ka chilla/ cheela, also called pudla or poora in some languages. This is a sort of pancake made with a batter of besan with spices and sometimes vegetables. It's very quick to make and quite healthy, I like them for breakfast.

Hope this helps a bit!

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Excellent answer Jenni. I would like to add a few words. If you make Roti as in roasted and puffed roti like a chapati, you can used a whole wheat flour that has been sifted for chaff. But finely milled, so that it can be used to make the chapati. However, living in the USA, I much prefer a mixed blend of whole and white flours sold premixed as Chapatty Flour or Chakki Aata.

Next if you try to make roti or chapatty from jowar bajri jau, channa or bajra, you have to mix a little whole wheat flour into them so that you develop the gluten from the whole wheat to make the remaining flour pliable. In case you want to use those flours for their gluten free property, you can roast and use the flour for some other cooking, not roti.

Channa Daal flour can be added to wheat or bajra or jau/jowar to make paratha, or theplas.

Makki flour can be combined with either wheat or rice flours. It will still not become soft like roti or smooth like a chapatty. You have to flatten it between your palms and fry it on a hot griddle.

I do not have experience with ragi flour.

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Whilst it's true that you can add wheat flour to bajra, jau, jowar, ragi and makki breads, you certainly do not have to and I never do. It requires more skill to form the breads (I form them by hand - with skill you can get them just as thin and perfectly shaped as if they were rolled) but they come out with a wonderful taste and texture.

Edited by Jenni (log)
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