The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Atta flour

drdobg's picture

Atta flour

I have been experimenting with "atta" flour called for in many Indian flatbreads (such as naan, poori, chapati breads, etc.)  It seems to me it would be similar to some of the higher ash flours of french baking.  Can anyone give some insights to the similarities and differences of these flours?

Mebake's picture

Atta flour is a stone ground indian durum hard wheat that has typically 11.5-13% protein content. It is high extraction, i.e. large bran particles sifted, but retains enough fiber and nutrients. Atta is usually 95% extraction.

French type flours used for artisan baking is higher in ash than comparable white flour, but is not very high in extraction (i think). It depends on which grade of artisan flours you seek. The protein ratio is about the same as indian durum.

As for baking, protein qualities are what is important in the final dough feel. Having worked with indian chakki atta, it is not bad for artisan breads either, and could replace french flours with some breads, given that you adjust water according to absorbtion level of durum atta.


drdobg's picture

Thanks for your insights.  I appreciate getting to benefit from other bakers' experience and knowledge. Did you feel that water absorption is higher with atta flour as compared to other artisan flours?  Comparable to a whole-wheat flour?

Mebake's picture

YES, i believe atta is more hygroscopic than french artisan flours which invariabley fall under the medium-soft wheats.


John Connolly's picture
John Connolly

I moved to Delhi and finding good bread is next to impossible or very over priced. I just purchased a bread machine Kenwood BM450 (only option I had) to try solve that problem for myself. I am a little confused about how to use the flours available here. Flours here are available only as Atta (Stone Ground wheat) and Maida (White flour). I can also get 9 grain atta. Can I use Atta in place of bread flour in the recipes - do I need to adjust anything else. Atta flour has a gluten content of 13%. Also some of the recipes ask for milk powder which is very hard to find here. They only seem to have a nestle product called Fresh Day or something which also contains a sweetener. Can I use regular milk and adjust the liquid content.


drdobg's picture



I think the answer to both of your questions is yes.  The atta flour is made from durum wheat and includes some of the bran finely ground.  It has some similarities to some of the french bread flours with a higher ash content and a lower protein %.  I would assume these atta flours differ as many flours do, but I would guess most will have a protein around 10% +/-.  Atta flour is also more hygroscopic (ie, it will absorb somewhat more water than a similar weight of white flour).

With regard to the milk, if you are going to use liquid milk, it would be a good idea to scald the milk to denature the enzymes that can affect gluten formation, then allow to cool.  I would reduce the water by about 80% of the amount of added milk.

hari's picture

Hello John,

I've been having great success using Atta flour to bake breads in my Panasonic bread maker (SD257). I was motivated to try Atta version, even though the wonderful Laucke whole meal (96% whole wheat grain) was at our disposal. A few friends wanted the Atta variant; besides am buying the same bread machine for my sister living in Chennai, India. So I was motivated to try it with mostly whatever would be readily available in India.

Here's my recipe, which I've settled in after a dozen attempts of various customisations:

(add these ingredients in the same numerical order for the best result - all accurate metric measurements: tsp - tea spoon; TBSP - table spoon; g - grams; ml - milli litters)

1. (Lowen brand) Dry yeast - 2 tsp

2. Full cream milk power - 2 TBSP

3. Gluten flour - 3 tsp (from what I've researched gluten strands get 'damaged' during wholemeal flour production; adding more gluten flour certainly produces a 'better' looking loaf, but am using a minimalistic approach here)

4. Powdered raw sugar - 2 tsp (powerdiing raw sugar helps it to be obsorbed easily & leaves no scratch marks on the bread pan)

5. (Laucke brand) Bread improver - 1 tsp (optional)

6. Plain flour - 200 g

7. Indian (Aashirwaad brand) Atta flour - 300 g (100% whole wheat)

8. Water - 450 ml

9. Olive oil - 2 TBSP

10. Salt - 1.5 tsp


Bread machine settings:

1. Bread type: Wholewheat (This is very important, because in wholewheat mode, at least the Panasonic brand, during 'rising' or 'proofing' keeps the mix in somewhat warm, but not too hot, temperature. I'd say it's about 30 deg C. From what I've read, and from my own personal experience, a bit of warm temperature helps wholewheat dough 'rise' high :-))

2. Size - Large


I haven't weighed the resultant loaf, but it'd seem it's close to 900 odd grams. Very soft & delicious.


Thanks & good luck.

(Am hoping to improve this recipe to have perhaps 75% Atta and 25% plain flour as opposed to 60/40 ratio now. I suspect that am going to need another tsp of gluten flour - so far it'd seem 1 tsp gluten flour per 100g of Atta is needed for a good result.)

esther434's picture


I would like to try your recipe however, can one find the ingredients here in Delhi? Gluten flour, full cream milk powder, bread improver (Laucke brand), are these available here? 

One last question. Can it be done without the bread machine?



Elephant Atta's picture
Elephant Atta

Hi Everyone,

Please visit the Elephant Atta's new website with the complete details about Atta Flour product range and a collection of South Indian dishes and recipes including step by step chapattirotiplain naantheplas and more... 

Good Luck