Atta flour is one of the most commonly misunderstood ingredients in Indian cooking. when you taste real atta flour you will exclaim "thata flour!" and demolish the lot.
A grain of wheat is made up of three main parts. The germ is the bit in the middle, which holds the most nutrients and the endosperm makes up the bulk of the grain with starches and sugars. The husk or bran is the tough skin, like you find on the outside of brown rice. This is very high in dietary fibre.
Brown or wholewheat flour contains all three parts of the grain.
White flour contains only the endosperm which means it retains the carbohydrates loses most of the minerals and vitamins.
Atta flour on the other hand uses the germ and the endosperm. But not the bran. Bran fibre is insoluble, so atta flour is a much lighter more easily digested flour. And good digestion is the key to good health.
Unfortunately the Heart Foundation have arrived in India with a vengeance and to get the tick of approval atta flour is no longer atta flour. It's still labeled atta flour, but it contains the whole wheat grain. Also don't be fooled into thinking atta flour is half white and half brown flour mixed together.
Atta flour is light enough to use in place of white flour in all baking, and it is of course the key ingredient of chapati, the best bread. So we are back to the best bread...stay tuned...