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I'm baking tonight and I'm out of All purpose flour. I'm lazy to run out to the grocery store. Can I replace All purpose flour with Maida (Maida is better known to Asian Indians - we use it for making Naans and such)

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7 Answers 7

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Maida is wheat flour similar to what is sold in the US as cake flour. Like cake flour, maida is finely milled, and it has less protein than all purpose flour. You can use it for bread and cakes, as well as chapatis, parathas and puris.

To achieve a flour more like all purpose or other flour types, you can add gluten to maita. According to The Fresh Loaf, maida typically contains 7.5% gluten (if anyone can find a more authoritative source, please edit accordingly).

Cooking for Geeks has a good article about the gluten content of other flours:

High gluten flour and bread flour is produced from hard wheat. High gluten flour has a gluten percentage of about 12-14% while bread flour contains about 10-13% gluten. Both flours are almost completely made of hard wheat, but some high gluten flours are treated to reduce starch content, raising the gluten content to around 14%. These flours are generally used for making breads. High gluten flour is reserved for breads that are extra elastic such as bagels and pizza.

Cake flour is produced from soft wheat and is low in gluten content (8-10%). This flour is used for making delicate cakes. Baked goods made with cake flour has a tendency to crumble because of the low gluten content.

All purpose flour is made from a mixture of hard and soft wheats. The gluten content ranges from 9-12%. This is the most versatile flour because it can be used to make both cakes and breads. However, breads won't be as chewy and cakes won't be as tender as if you used bread or cake flour.

Pastry flour is also a mix of hard and soft wheat flours with an emphasis on soft. Generally, the gluten content is 9-10% and is often recommended for pie crusts.

So, again according to The Fresh Loaf:

Then if you're interested in the details of the math, start out with a formula like (100parts/100parts * 7.5%) + (Nparts/100parts * 75%) = 10.5% [or 9.5% or 12.5% or whatever your desired result is], then solve for N. Skipping intermediate steps, simplification gives N = ((end-percentage-goal * 100) - 750) / 75 (Even this math is actually an oversimplification that's not quite right. It takes the not-quite-correct shortcut of directly adding percentages without accounting for the total being more than 100 grams. Hopefully though it's "good enough" ...) The bottom line is: for every 100 grams Maida, add somewhere between 2.6 and 6.6 grams GlutenPowder. Adding 2.6 grams GlutenPowder will give a result with about 9.5% gluten, adding 4 grams GlutenPowder will give a result with about 10.5% gluten, and adding 6.6 grams GlutenPowder will give a result with about 12.5% gluten.

According to the original author of this answer, "You might find that bread and cakes made with maida don't keep as well as the same things made with all-purpose flour, but home baking never stays around for more than a day in my experience."

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When you say home baking never "stays around", do you mean that it gets finished off quickly or that it doesn't last? I hope it's the former, because most home-baked goods should have no trouble lasting almost as long as those from bakeries. –  Aaronut May 15 '11 at 16:50
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"it gets finished off quickly" is exactly what I mean. OTOH with a strong flour like maida, breads taste better than with barley flour but do go stale quickly, which is why the French and Italians make a point of buying their bread on a daily basis. In those countries, they buy wholemeal bread (pain entiere, pane integrale) if they want something that lasts for more than a day. The Indian habit of making unleavened breads when needed is just another way around the keeping problem. –  klypos May 15 '11 at 21:51
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Thanks all! The scones came out okay - not great. And it tasted better the day it was made(than the next) –  Narmatha Balasundaram May 16 '11 at 14:41

Maida is essentially very 'weak' white flour. I have used it in the past to make Indian breads like roti, but not cakes - I'd give it a try and see what happens!

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Scratch my last comment - according to Wikipedia it has almost no protein, implying a very low gluten strength, so it should be fine for cakes (although the taste might be a little weird). –  Aaronut May 15 '11 at 16:51
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The point about maida is that it does not include the husk or bran. It comes from the centre of wheat grain - like white rice has the husk removed, maida is made from wheat with the husk removed. –  James Barrie May 15 '11 at 22:15
    
Yup, I don't know I was thinking back in 2011... –  ElendilTheTall Jun 19 at 9:24

Well, I've made naan with all-purpose flour, and it worked just fine. So you should be able to do the reverse as well.

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It doesn't quite work that way; AP flour sits in middle range of gluten strength, so you can use it for either pastries or breads; from what I understand, Maida has about the same strength as cake flour, so you'd have a hard time using it to make Western-style bread. –  Aaronut May 15 '11 at 16:53
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naan is a word that means different things in different places. If you were making a Kashmiri naan (with egg) to cook in a tandoor, it would work satisfactorily with either flour, but taste better with maida. A Bangladeshi naan is like a thick chapati, try that with all purpose flour and it is so heavy that it is barely edible. For Western-style bread, the French make their baguettes with a very strong flour, and maida works fine. Use maida to make an English style loaf, and it will be great to eat but will not be anything like as good the next day. –  klypos May 15 '11 at 22:05

Making pizza dough with maida is not a good idea, as it makes the dough very hard. One can even make cricket bat with it, so to speak.

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Maida is a bread flour, and I would be very surprised if you can't make pizza dough with it. Maybe you used a wrong recipe with too little water? It can need more water than softer flours. –  rumtscho Feb 2 at 12:02
    
Actually, @rumtscho, maida is about as soft as it gets and it is a very weak flour. It's more like what is called "cake flour" in the US. –  Jolenealaska Jun 19 at 10:50
    
@Jolenealaska Good point. Now I have even forgotten why I thought this way back then. All I know is that up to date, I have seen many contradictory statements about the hardness of maida. I probably wrote this back when I only had heard one of them and assumed it's true. –  rumtscho Jun 19 at 14:59

Using all-purpose flour is better than using maida, in cakes.

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Why do you say so? –  Mien Mar 7 at 12:11
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Can you elaborate? –  rfusca Mar 7 at 18:28

Have used maida for making cakes/pastries/pizza/cookies/pasta/used as substitute for APF-all my life-no complaints ever! Dont know a shop that sells APF in India.

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I used a mix of Maida and APF to make the Pizza Dough and only the APF but it tasted nothing like PIZZA comparing with pnly maida which was excellent in taste

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