See the Unique Differences Between Maida and All-Purpose Flour

Is maida the same as all-purpose flour? Can you use maida to bake like all-purpose flour?

Flour names could be quite confusing. They sound alike, look alike, and are used to make almost the same baked goods. White flour, plain flour, and all-purpose flour are different names that describe the same flour. Sometimes, maida flour is referred to as all-purpose flour.

Although they look similar, they are not the same. Ahead, there are few differences between all-purpose flour and maida flour, yet the differences are noteworthy. Continue reading to see more information.

What Is Maida Flour?

Maida is a traditional Indian flour made by milling wheat without its bran. This flour is highly refined and bleached into white flour (from its original yellow color). The bleaching process maida goes through reduces its protein content and makes it smoother and softer.

Furthermore, maida is an Asian traditional flour used to make their traditional flatbreads. However, it has found more extensive use in baking cakes, pastries, and baked goods. Its soft texture makes it perfect for light and airy baked goods.

In addition, maida is a great thickener for sauces. It is also used to coat fried foods and comes in very handy in many Asian recipes.

SEE: Whole Wheat Flour vs Bread Flour: Learn Their Differences

What Is All-Purpose Flour?

All-purpose flour is white or plain flour. It is made by milling wheat without the bran. It is refined flour that may be bleached or unbleached. All-purpose flour is a combination of both soft and hard wheat grains in a ratio of 20:80.

It is common flour that finds use in almost every recipe. You can use all-purpose flour to make most cakes, biscuits, cookies, muffins, and bread. Also, it is great for thickening sauces and gravies, coating fried foods, and making pizza crust.

Additionally, all-purpose flour is rich in protein and gluten, which makes it very elastic and stretchy. This is one of the reasons it is the most commonly used flour in the production of baked goods.

SEE: Find Out If a Gluten-Free Diet Is Also a Paleo Diet

Is Maida the Same as All-Purpose Flour?

No. Maida and all-purpose flour are not the same. As mentioned earlier, maida is Indian all-purpose flour used to make their traditional flatbreads. It is also used in the production of sweets, some bread, pastries, and baked goods.

In addition, maida flour has less protein content because of the bleaching process it goes through. Maida flour is a soft, fine-textured flour that looks like cake flour. Also, while maida is always bleached, all-purpose flour could be bleached or unbleached.

Maida and all-purpose flour are not the same flour, but you can use them as substitutes for each other in a 1:1. If you don’t find maida as dense or sticky as all-purpose flour, you can add gluten or starch to it.

SEE: Is Harina de Trigo The Same As All-Purpose Flour?

Is Maida Flour Gluten-Free?

Maida is not gluten-free. It goes through refining and bleaching wheat grains, but this does not make it gluten-free.

Therefore, if you have a celiac condition or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), you should not be cooking or baking with maida flour. Look for gluten-free flours that are just as excellent as wheat.

Is All-Purpose Flour Gluten-Free?

All-purpose flour is not gluten-free. Whether bleached or unbleached, it is rich in protein and consequently rich in gluten. Look for a wheat flour alternative if you have gluten sensitivity.

SEE: The Unique Differences Between Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free

Is Maida Flour Healthy?

Maida flour is not always a healthy option. To start with, it is not gluten-free. So, if you’re gluten-sensitive, you cannot eat maida. Additionally, foods made with maida have high sugar content. They have a high glycemic index (GI) and can increase blood sugar levels.

Also, maida is not good for heart health. Excessive intake raises low-density cholesterol (LDL) levels. Consequently, it clogs the arteries and raises blood pressure. Moreover, maida foods trigger hunger and can make you gain weight excessively.

Is All-Purpose Flour Healthy?

All-purpose flour is healthy. It contains some vitamins and minerals, but the side effects outweigh the benefits, especially if you eat the baked goods without caution. The refining process leaves the flour acidic and can cause inflammation.

Moreover, it is not good for digestive health. Foods made with all-purpose flour slow down metabolism and may lead to weight gain. Eating too many pastries made with all-purpose flour can also lead to constipation.

All-purpose flour goes through refining and bleaching. In these processes, the flour loses a lot of nutrients. However, this does not have any negative impacts on your health, but your meals are nutrient deficient.

SEE: Substitutes for Spelt Flour That You Can Totally Bake With

Is All-Purpose Flour Maida or Corn Flour?

All-purpose flour is more similar to maida than it is to corn flour. Corn flour, as the name implies, is made from corn kernels. All-purpose flour, on the other hand, is made by refining wheat grains.

Is Unbleached All-Purpose Flour Maida?

No, it is not. Unbleached all-purpose flour is not maida. Maida is typically bleached flour. Moreover, it has a higher protein content of about compared to the protein in maida flour.

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What is all-purpose flour in Tamil?

All-purpose flour in Tamil is called maida maavu.

What is all-purpose flour in Tegulu?

All-purpose flour in Tegulu is called maida Pindi.

Is all-purpose flour atta?

No, it is not. Atta is unrefined whole wheat flour made with the germ, endosperm, and bran of the wheat grains.

In addition, because atta is made from whole wheat grains, it is coarser and has more fiber. All-purpose flour, on the other hand, is lighter and best for making lightweight and airy baked goods.

SEE: Wholemeal vs Whole Wheat Flour: Learn Their Difference

What can you use as a substitute for maida?

If you need a healthy alternative for maida flour, you can use any of the following:

  • Rafi flour
  • Soy flour
  • Quinoa flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Bajra flour
  • Jowar flour

Can you bake a cake with atta?

Yes, you can. Atta flour is also suitable for baking cakes. However, you may end up with dense cake because it is whole wheat flour and unrefined too.


You’ll agree that maida is not all-purpose flour. But you can substitute one for the other when you are in a pinch. Also, they have different protein and gluten levels which is worth noting.

Maida is perfect for making some sweets, bread, naan, parathas, and baked goods. One major drawback of maida flour is that foods made with maida are not healthy. Now that you know the difference, you can always go for a healthier option like whole wheat flour.

Thanks for reading.

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