I have been trying to make sense of health articles mentioning flour.

The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour a year.

In India, we use the specific terms maida and atta. Wikipedia defines them as:

Maida is a finely milled refined and bleached wheat flour... A white wheat flour without any bran... used extensively in making fast food, bakery products such as pastries and bread varieties of sweets and in making traditional breads

Atta is an Indian wheat flour used to make most South Asian flatbreads, such as chapati, roti, naan and puri. Atta refers to the pulverized whole wheat with brownish white color.

What are the counterpart terms in English? I am guessing "flour" is short for one or the other type, rather than generic.

  • 3
    Flour can refer to various finely ground foodstuffs, as a dictionary search would have shown you. – Mick Dec 30 '16 at 10:21
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    There are different types of flour and I wonder how your question is related with English Language and Usage. Maida and Atta don't seem to be English words. Flour means flour en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flour. – user140086 Dec 30 '16 at 10:34
  • It does seem an unusual sentence. 'Sugar' as used here is standard for 'the [amount of] sugar (sucrose, or perhaps various sugars) contained in the foods under consideration', and 'fat' and 'protein' are used similarly. Obviously, the notion of someone eating pure sugar is not intended. The parallel usage of 'flour' seems quite a stretch to my ears. But it is obviously intended to mean 'the [amount of] flour 'contained' in the foods under consideration', without worrying about type of flour or whether or not the food has been cooked. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 30 '16 at 10:48
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about any English words or words that have English equivalents. – BladorthinTheGrey Dec 30 '16 at 12:01
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it really belongs on the cooking.SE and not here. – Peter Shor Dec 30 '16 at 12:04

If the original article says flour, you can assume it's talking about all kinds of flours.

As for the flour taxonomy, English typically uses adjectives to distinguish between them, such as all-purpose flour, baking flour, and bleached or unbleached flour. You can read more about these various flours at the food encyclopedia or at this 2009 blog entry. Flours can also be named after the grains they are made from (e.g., flaxseed flour or kamut flour).

Specific names for specific flours are relatively uncommon in English, although I can think of at least one notable exception:

Coarse, whole-grain rye flour is called pumpernickel, and gives its name to the traditional German bread.

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  • In the UK the terms are different. We have plain flour without a raising agent and self raising flour containing baking powder and/or sodium bicarbonate. We also make a distinction between white , brown and wholemeal. (Alhough self raising is usually white). There are also white, brown and wholemeal strong flours for breadmaking using yeast. From the OP descriptions atta would appear to be similar to plain white flour and maida similar to either plain brown or plain wholemeal depending on the amount of bran in it. – BoldBen Jan 22 '17 at 2:09

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