Maida is a wheat flour from India. Finely milled without any bran, refined, and bleached, it closely resembles Cake flour. The term maida is common in southern India; the equivalent term in northern India is safed atta, literally "white flour", though maida is not uncommon in the north either.
Maida is used extensively in making fast food, baked goods such as pastries, bread, several varieties of sweets, and traditional flatbreads. Owing to this wide variety of uses, it is sometimes labeled and marketed as "all-purpose flour", though it is entirely different from all-purpose flour as commonly understood in the US.
Maida is made from the endosperm (the starchy white part) of the grain. The bran is separated from the germ and endosperm which is then refined by passing through a sieve of 80 mesh per inch (31 mesh per centimeter). Although naturally yellowish due to pigments present in wheat, maida is typically bleached, either naturally due to atmospheric oxygen, or with any of a number of flour bleaching agents.
While it is milled from winter wheat that has a high gluten content, heat generated during the milling process results in denaturing of the protein, limiting its use in the preparation of leavened breads.
A commonly held belief is that maida contains alloxan, which itself is banned in developed countries for usage in food , added as a bleaching agent or formed as a byproduct of bleaching. While it is a minor product of xanthophyll oxidation, there is evidence that trace amounts of alloxan thus formed comprise a health risk.
Maida is used extensively in Central Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Flatbreads such as Naan and Tandoori Roti are made using Maida. Bhatoora is a fluffy, deep-fried, leavened bread made with maida and yogurt.
- Manu Vipin (2011-10-31). "A life without bread and pasta? Unthinkable!". Times of India. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. "The Food Lover's Companion - Fourth edition by Barron's Educational Series (2007)". Retrieved 2014-07-05.
- "Patent US5114079 - Simplified method and apparatus for producing white flour from wheat grain".
- "Patent US2433611 - Bleaching of wheat flour and like milled products".
- "Patent US6098905 - Method for producing an atta flour".
- "Why this Kolaveri against Kerala porotta?". The Times of India.
- Schwarcz, Joe (2003), Alloxan (PDF), Department of Chemistry McGill University: Office of Science and Society, p. 1, retrieved September 10, 2011