Atta – Dough for Indian Flatbread

Many different kinds of bread are made in India. Almost all of them originate in the North as it is the wheat belt of India. I love bread in all forms and will explain how to make those most commonly made at home.

Here are two recipes for unleavened flatbread dough. The first, pure wheat atta, is the most common as it is used to make Parathas (stuffed bread), Rotis (plain bread), Puris (fried bread). My mother never mixes white flour in her whole wheat dough but has sometimes added a handful of Besan/Gram Flour (chickpea flour) to her Roti dough for a softer Roti.

The second, mixed wheat/white atta, is what my mother made ages ago when white wheat flour or chapati flour was not available in the early 1970s. She did not like the appearance or texture of the red wheat flour in supermarkets when she made Rotis so, she blended wheat flour and all-purpose white flour to get the right appearance and texture.

Living in Brazil, I too have the same issue with the whole wheat flour. Therefore, I reverted to mixing the two types of flour. Inadvertently, I found that this flour blend yields a dough that absorbs less moisture from the “wet” fillings thus making parathas a breeze to assemble. I mix the two flours in a 1:1 ratio or 3:1 ratio (3 parts wheat flour to 1 part all-purpose flour) for the Parathas with “wet” filling and pure whole wheat chapati flour for Rotis, Puris, and Parathas with “dry” filling. In general, the wetter the filling, the more all-purpose flour I use.

My mother also substitutes milk for water to make Rotis that stay fresh longer when going on days long train journeys or car rides. I have seen other friends add oil to the dough before the addition of water to make a thinner, softer Roti. Neither my mother nor I do that.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Rest time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 Parathas or 10-12 Rotis or 15 Puris

Pure wheat atta

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water – you may not need all of it
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seed, optional – It’s not traditional, but for health

mixed wheat/white atta

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water – you may not need all of it
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seed, optional – It’s not traditional, but for health


1. Mix all the dry ingredients until uniform.

2. Add half the water and mix the dough well using your hand. Continue to add water a little at a time while mixing thoroughly between additions.

3. When the dough has been thoroughly moistened and is no longer dry, stop adding the water.

4. Knead the dough vigorously for 10 minutes until it forms a smooth ball. It is ready when a hole poked in the center of the dough shrinks quickly. That means you’ve activated the glutens.

5. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature if making Parathas or Rotis. If you are making Puris, chill the dough in the refrigerator to help it firm up.

Written by Anju Kapur of Anju’s Table. All content and images on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without my permission. Should you wish to share this recipe on your site, please add a link to this post as the source.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *