This delicious whole wheat roti is an unleavened Indian flatbread recipe you can count on. Learn the secret to making extra-soft, thick, and chewy 100% stone-ground roti that doesn't take years to master.
They are ideal for roll-ups because they remain pliable even when they have cooled off and are refrigerated for several days. I think I enjoy them even more after they are a day old.
Roll all your roti out before cooking them. You can keep them moist stacked between sheets of parchment paper and covered with a damp towel.
Why it works
- Soft, thick, and chewy
- 100% whole-grain
- Two ingredients plus optional salt
- Vegan and oil-free
All you need for the best freshly cooked roti is wholemeal flour and water. I also like to add some Himalayan pink salt, but that’s optional and up to you.
- Stone-ground 100% whole wheat flour
- Himalayan pink salt, optional
Which flour is best?
I recommend freshly ground, organic flour for the best flavor and use Bob's Red Mill stone-ground 100% whole wheat.
- Mix flour with boiling water.
- Knead in a mixer.
- Turn dough onto a counter.
- Shape into logs and divide.
Roll and cook
- Flour pieces of dough and shape flat discs.
- Keep discs covered to stay moist.
- Roll roti one at a time.
- Cook on a hot cast iron pan, flat griddle, or tawa.
How to make soft roti
I still can’t get over how I can reach into the fridge, grab a cold roti and have it flop gracefully in my hand. These soft, nutritious, individual flatbreads are so convenient for meals in a snap.
This morning I spread peanut butter on one and topped it with a banana, a drizzle of syrup, and a sprinkle of hemp hearts. It was such a yummy breakfast.
That’s why I am excited to pass on my secrets to you. By now, you’ve probably figured out that the difference doesn’t lie in the recipe’s simple ingredients.
No, the two tricks that make this versatile wholemeal bread so tender and chewy are:
- Making dough with boiling water
- Kneading dough in a mixer.
The boiling water part sounds weird, right? Well, it softens the whole wheat flour and keeps the flatbreads moist over time.
Then, kneading the high-hydration dough for 3 minutes on low speed with a stand mixer makes it soft and elastic.
The dough for this recipe is too sticky to knead by hand. That’s why letting a stand mixer do the work for you is especially handy.
Don’t worry, however, if you don’t own a stand mixer. I have an alternate method for you. The solution is actually very simple.
Mix the dough and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let it rest for one to three hours before shaping, cutting, and rolling. The stretchy strands of gluten will soften, relax, and develop on their own. So, you can skip the kneading altogether.
How to roll round roti
Start with a well-floured disc of dough 4 inches across. Roll lightly and don't press the dough out too far for the first steps.
- Make your starting disc as round as possible and smooth the edges.
- Roll from the center north and then from the center south.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees and dust both sides with flour.
- Repeat the roll in step two, and you should end with a square shape.
The final trick to rolling round roti is to roll diagonally across the square shape. Twist the rolling pin slightly as you roll to make a perfect circle.
- Roll from the center diagonally across the dough to the upper right and then the lower left.
- Reverse the roll to the upper left and lower right, twisting the rolling pin slightly to coax out the round shape.
How to puff bread
In India, roti are called phulka when they are transferred from a cooking tawa and held over a direct flame to puff up into round balls. The roti will deflate as they cool, but forming an air pocket while cooking makes the flatbread more tender.
Well, you'll be happy to know this recipe can make puffed bread right in the cast-iron skillet with a little practice.
I love the way steam captured from the wet dough magically puffs up the roti recipe into round balloons when you cook them.
All you need to do is press the edges of the roti with a flat spatula while they are cooking. The recipe card below has full instructions on how to gently coax the air pockets so they will expand.
Dough that is kneaded in a mixer has the best chance of forming large air pockets. Indian flatbread made with the no-knead method won’t balloon up quite as easily and some may not puff.
However, they are just as good in every other way and you never know how far you can get with experience!
- Mix wholemeal dough with boiling water.
- Mixer dough can be shaped and rolled right away.
- No-knead dough should be wrapped tightly and rested 1-3 hours before rolling.
- Keep dough pieces covered at all times so as not to dry out.
- Use plenty of flour when rolling.
- Scrape rolling surface clean as needed.
- Roll roti 6 inches, not too thick or thin.
- Roll evenly and avoid pressing edges too hard.
- Roll all your flatbreads out before cooking and keep covered.
- You can keep them separated with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel.
- Then you can tend your hot cast iron cooking surface without interruption.
- Place cooked roti on a plate as you go and cover with an upsidedown bowl or dry tea towel.
Roti is a round, unleavened flatbread originating in India. Traditionally made with stone-ground whole wheat flour and cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle, it has become a staple in many countries. It's a popular side dish with stews and curries and makes a nutritious wrap for vegetable fillings.
Cast iron in the shape of a skillet or flat griddle are both convenient replacements for a tawa when not available.
The names roti and chapati are often used interchangeably and regional differences make it hard to name exact rules. However, in most cases, chapati is technically considered a type of roti. Even though roti originated as a stone-ground whole-wheat bread cooked on a tawa, it is sometimes made with other flours or cooked in a tandoor open-air oven. Chapati on the other hand are always whole wheat, tend to be thinner than roti, and are not cooked in a tandoor.
Are you ready for these fragrant, soft, delicious wraps? Make this Soft Whole Wheat Roti Recipe, and you can spread or fill them with anything your heart desires.
More bread recipes
Soft Whole Wheat Roti Recipe
- 2 ⅓ cups whole wheat bread flour, 300 grams
- 1 ½ cups water, 355 grams
- 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt, optional
Mix roti dough
- Place flour in a large bowl. You can use the mixing bowl of your stand mixer.
- Put water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove water from heat as soon as it boils. That way, it won't evaporate.
- Pour boiling water over the flour. Mix with a heavy spoon. A sturdy wooden spoon works great. You should be able to moisten all the flour and clean the sides of the bowl without using your hands.
Knead in mixer
- Knead for 3 minutes on low speed with a mixer. The dough will remain sticky and won't form a ball. After 3 minutes dough will be soft and elastic and cooled enough to touch. Kneading too long will toughen the dough.
- If you aren't using a stand mixer to knead the dough, let it cool for 5 minutes or until the dough can be handled. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and shape it into a ball just enough to make the dough uniform.
- Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for one hour and up to 3 hours.
Divide and pre-shape roti
- Very lightly flour your work surface and hands. Use a spatula or dough scraper to turn the dough from the bowl onto the counter.
- Shape dough into two logs, each six inches long. Keep the dough covered with a damp tea towel so it won't dry out while cutting and shaping. Cut each log into six equal pieces. This will give you 12 roti.
- Take one piece, dip it into a small bowl of flour and shake off excess. Flatten with hands to a 3 to 4-inch disc. Smooth the edges of the disc to seal any cracks. Place each piece on a counter lined with parchment paper or on a non-stick surface. Keep shaped roti covered with a damp towel as you finish all 12.
Roll Out roti
- Pre-heat a cast iron skillet to medium temperature.
- Give yourself plenty of elbow room, and use a smooth rolling pin. Take a flat disc of dough and rub both sides with flour. Use flour as needed with each flip and turn of dough to keep it from sticking to the counter. Scrape counter clean as needed while working.
- Begin by rolling firmly from the center of the roti towards the North. Roll again from the center of the roti to the South. Roll dough to about 5 inches long.
- Flip the roti over and dust the new top side of the roti with more flour. Turn dough 90 degrees and repeat rolling from center North to South. Now you should have a nice square roti.
- The final rolling step is rolling diagonally across the dough. Roll from the center to the upper right corner and then to the lower left. Reverse the direction and twist the rolling pin slightly across the dough to coax the roti into a circle.
- The ideal size roti for this recipe is 6 inches. Rotis rolled too thin tend to stiffen and dry out while cooking.
- Roll out all 12 roti and place them on a sheet of non-stick parchment paper as you go. Keep them covered with a damp tea towel. This is very important.
- Lay a roti in the cast-iron skillet or tawa and let cook for about 1 minute. Watch for bubbles. When the first ½-inch bubble is forming, flip the roti. Roti should be lightly flecked with brown spots. Adjust the temperature of the pan if necessary.
- Press around the outer edge of the roti and lightly stroke a spatula across the top. When a large bubble begins forming, apply gentle pressure with the flat side of the spatula to coax the bubble to expand. Rocking and stroking helps the pocket to grow. Once the roti makes a balloon, it's ready.
- Stack cooked roti on a plate and cover with an inverted bowl or tea towel. The towel will absorb some moisture and keep roti from getting soggy.
- Continue cooking roti one at a time until all 12 are done.
- Whole wheat roti keeps easily for a week refrigerated and sealed in an air-tight container or bag. They can be frozen for one month.