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I bought a bag of chakki atta from an Indian grocery store. The back of the bag says that it's 100% whole wheat flour. It was cheaper than traditional American style whole wheat flour, so I decided to buy a bag to see how well it would work.

At home, the main thing that I noticed was that chakki atta looks different. The whole wheat flour that I'm used to is tan with dark flecks. Chakki atta is a more uniform yellowish tan without any flecks, or maybe the flecks are just really small. I've used it a few times in bread baking, and it seems to work well.

My question is, does anyone have a better idea of how packaged chakki atta is different from whole wheat flour, and what kinds of things it is good for?

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In theory chakki is a flour mill, and chakki atta is flour fresh from that mill. Realistically of course nothing you find on your grocery store shelves is fresh from a mill.

Atta flour is made from hard wheat, which has a high gluten content. This means that your flour is probably better for bread than typical all-purpose whole wheat flour from the baking aisle. If it is hard white wheat this might explain the color, as ground white wheat doesn't look that much darker than all-purpose flour.

Like typical grocery store whole wheat flour, atta flour is coarsely ground. This may give your bread a more grainy texture (not a bad thing), and makes atta unideal for cakes, biscuits, and quick breads unless you like them with a coarse texture in the crumb. If you would like to use whole wheat for baking other than bread, whole wheat pastry flour is the usual suggestion (or grind wheat yourself to a very find grind).

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Atta is for chapattis as a rule, ie. bread - it is sold as a bread flour (high gluten). Note chakki originally implied "stone grinding" I believe, this method of milling results in very high temperatures which tends to slightly roast the flour, that can account for colour changes and taste variation. Personally I just use the flour for thepla. –  Orbling Dec 15 '10 at 17:35
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Typically in India you get different color wheats. The color vary from white to yellowish to darker brown. And that is why Chakki atta's color differ. If you stick to one brand you will get same color flour as they use same kind of wheat.

For chapattis (Indian bread) the Flour used is finely ground. Which is good for baking. And is whole wheat flour.

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