The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new to baking and forum, from Australia

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anna13's picture
anna13

new to baking and forum, from Australia

I found your site when searching for information on atta flour. I had bought 5 kilos of it at a local indian store and wondered if I could make bread.

First few attempts were edible but then I found if I added gluten flour it seemed to be more ssuccessful.

I feel overwhelmed as I read posts and they talk percentages. Probably as I am mathematically challenged. But in saying that, I also hope by the end of the year to be able to not only decipher but to talk the same! :) one has to set goals for oneself!

shoshanna673's picture
shoshanna673

Welcome to the Fresh Loaf.  You will find this site a treasure trove of information, recipes and ideas, and very helpful and encouraging fellow posters.  

I can't answer your Atta flour question (enter Atta flour into the search box and I am sure you will find some help). I am also in Oz .. Adelaide.  Where are you?

You should also check out wildyeastblog.com for some very easy to understand tutorials on bakers percentages.  I am also mathematically challenged, but now am able to use bakers math to scale and understand recipes.  There is also an Australian bread site, SourdoughCompanion.com which you should also check out.  They are also very helpful and encouraging.

Good luck and once again, welcome.

Sondra

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

I also use atta flour (AKA chapati flour, since chapati flat breads are often made with it), but I have yet to try it in any large breads with it in large percentages. I can tell you some things about it, however.

Atta is made from durum wheat. You may have seen numbers on the bag like 85/15, or 95/5, which indicates the extraction rate. The one I get is 95% - almost, but not quite. whole wheat (though I have seen bags as low as 80/20 labeled whole wheat atta!). The atta flours I have used were ground not quite as fine as durum flour, but finer than semolina - another, lower extraction milling of durum wheat.

Do a search here for durum - you will find a number of breads made with durum, and you could use the atta in those. However, if your flour is slightly coarse, like mine, you may want to experiment, and make a loaf with it like it is, then grind some finer, and make one with it that way, and see if it bakes up any different, or if you prefer the texture of one over the other. Good luck, and happy baking!

Oh, I forgot to add, I keep that in the freezer - only keep a quart of the atta out for making the flatbreads, and refill it when empty, as it can go rancid, like any whole wheat flour.  It's probably a lot hotter there than here, so I probably didn't have to tell you that! 

Dave

anna13's picture
anna13

Thanks for your welcome and further information.

Sondra I live in Brisbane.

Dave I didnt notice the extraction rate on the packet, tho will look for it next time. I know when I sifted it, it fed right through with nothing left behind. 

Am looking forward to learning about bread making.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi anna13,

Welcome to the Fresh Loaf,

I am interested in Dave's comment above about a coarser chapati flour, as I have always understood that Atta flour is finely milled wholewheat flour from Durum wheat.

While durum wheat is both hard, and has god levels of protein, it is not necessarily the best bread flour, however, it is perfectly possible to achieve good bread from durum flour.

The problem with chapati flour in bread is that the fine grind causes excess starch damage, and this has the effect of excess amylase enzyme activity, causing starches to break down quicky.

There are other posters here who have used atta flour for breadmaking.   It is probably worth using the Search button to access posts on this question.

For Bakers' % use the Handbook accessed from the options in the top bar, and look for Baker's Math in the Bread Basics area.

Best wishes

Andy

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

So I went and got some of my chapati flour, and sifted it through a fine sieve I use for getting some of the bran out of WW flour.  I don't have any numbered sieves, so I don't know what it is equivalent to, but it is almost perfect for removing 15% by weight of  KAF dark WW flour.  That atta flour almost all passed through when I tried it - just a few little specks left - yet the atta was not at all powdery, and felt definitely like a fine meal, very much like masa harina, the Mexican corn flour, though the masa seems to have some finer flour in with the textured meal - the atta leaves no powdery residue clinging to my hands, nor is there a cloud of flour dust that goes up in the air, as with most flour, when poured into its container.  It's like the ultra fine dust has been sifted out.  While I have none at this time to compare it to, it is definitely not as fine as durum flour I have used, which was pretty much like AP flour, as far as texture.  

This atta flour is Patel's brand, and is labeled WW durum stone ground - first time I have used that brand (on sale...couldn't pass it up), but it is basically the same feel of the other three brands.  Those were labeled 95/5 but this one has no numbers.  I still think that some bran was sifted out, as the color is the same as the others I have used - not very light like others I have seen of lower extraction.  Maybe those are the ones that bakers have had problems with.

So grinding up my atta finer may cause more problems,  instead of making the texture similar to durum flour?   Is it the heat of grinding that causes the starch damage you refer to?  Thanks for the help.

Dave

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Dave,

A comment about flour labelled as "wholewheat".   It may be different in the US, but here in the UK "wholemeal", or "wholewheat flour" is supposed to be just that...in other words, the wholegrain of wheat.   However, some might take issue with the way this is interpreted by millers using roller milling techniques, which involves taking the flour down to white flour, then adding back what has been removed throughout the milling process.   At issue is that the germ oil is not added back; this is justified through claims about rancidity and the affect the germ oil has on shelf-life.   The problem is that the germ oil is a rich source of nutrients which we are then denied.   Additionally, from what I gather from talking to a director of a leading UK mill, the re-constituted wholemeal does not necessarily consist of white flour plus other component parts from the same grain source.   So, I am not familiar with the 95/5 labelling, but am aware that wholemeal in the UK in practice will corespond to this sort of proportion.

If you want to know more about starch damage, then the best reference I have is Kent, N. L.  and Evers, A. D. (1994) "Kent's Technology of Cereals" 4th Edition. Elsevier: [Pergamon in Oxford, UK] New York [so published in US as well].   Whilst the heat from milling supposedly destroys some of the vitamin and mineral content in flour, the damage to the starch is apparently caused solely by the mechanical action of grinding, and particularly passing through the reducing rollers.

Best wishes

Andy

GlendaLynne's picture
GlendaLynne

Anna13, I too am from Brisbane, and use Wallaby bakers flour, which is readily available at Coles in 5kg bags, for my white flour.  I have noticed that various other bakers in Australia also use this.  I grind my own wholemeal flour using Kialla organic wheat grain.