One of these days, I accidentally used hot water in place of cold water on wheat flour to make chapathi dough. Coincidentally I found the dough to be much softer than usual. Also the kneading process had sped up by a bit. Is there any science to this observation or is it random?

  • I find the same, and it's mentioned in this blog post in the tips section after the step-by-step. I can only guess at the chemistry involved though.
    – Zanna
    Sep 24 '20 at 10:48
  • idk the chemistry either, but one bag of chapatti flour I had [aimed at a 'western' rather than 'indian' audience] said to use warm water specifically.
    – unlisted
    Sep 24 '20 at 11:06

Yes, using warm water helps keep the dough soft and also helps with the kneading. Hot water denatures the proteins in the dough and also apparently makes it harder for gluten to form. I found this from this really beautiful video by Bong Eats. They recommend using boiling water to make the dough. I've tried it a lot of times, and it does work. It makes kneading easier, and the dough is softer.

Another tip: If you consume dairy, you can use a little yogurt while making the dough. That brings in the Lactobacillus bacteria, which slowly ferments the dough. That makes the chapathis soft and helps in keeping them soft for longer.

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