Maida is a finely milled refined and bleached wheat flour, closely resembling Cake flour or plain/All-purpose flour from India. A white wheat flour without any bran is called maida in southern India. Its north Indian counterpart is atta, wholewheat flour.
It is either naturally bleached due to atmospheric oxygen or using chemical bleaches. Maida flour (Safed Atta) is used extensively in making fast food, bakery products such as pastries and bread, varieties of sweets and in making traditional breads.
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 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.
In south India, which does not have wheat farms locally, wheat is imported in trucks and rakes and then milled. A common misunderstanding is that tapioca is converted into maida, rava, atta flour, and bran.
Generally maida contains alloxan,which in 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