We’re living in times when wheat is facing a lot of bad press, and Maida, even worse. Consuming wheat in its pure form is not as harmful, however, as consuming it in an industrially processed format. If you eat commercially made bread, which is made from wheat flour or Maida that has been bleached and pumped with other ingredients such as additional vital wheat gluten (which also has a percentage of soy to act as a stabilizer), you are complicating the format in which you consume wheat.
However, if you know the source of the wheat or flour that you use, and the source can certify that the product does not contain any chemical additives, the consumption of wheat can be a far less problematic option. A good, organic-certified Maida is usually made from the endosperm (the innermost part) of the wheat grain and does not contain any fibre; this is what gives it a naturally off-white colour.
The question then, is how to identify adulteration in flour, specifically in Maida, considering that Maida is almost always bought in a ready-to-use form and not milled before our eyes? Here are a few pointers:
Maida should have a soft, creamy appearance. If it looks super white, it probably has been bleached.
Chalk powder and boric acid are common adulterants in Maida. To test whether or not your maida is pure, add a few drops of hydrochloric acid to a small bowl of maida and water solution. Then dip a turmeric paper strip (easily available at the chemist); if the paper turns red, the maida contains chalk or boric powder.
A product made from Maida should taste moderately sweet, not bitter or insipid. Use a small amount of the flour to make a basic roti and taste it; if you find that the roti is slightly bitter, chances are the flour has been made from old wheat or has some adulterant added to it.