Atta Flour Experiment
It's been a while since my last blog post, but this one, I wanted to share.
I was on a bit of a roll making chapatis for Indian food my sweetie has been making, so I bought some atta flour. The smallest bag I could find (Golden Temple Wheat Atta) was 10 lbs. - that's a LOT of chapatis, so I tried to figure out what else I could do with this flour.
I was curious about what kind of bread it would make, given that it appears to be reasonably finely-ground whole wheat. I like using stone-ground local whole wheat, but it's sandier and gives me a denser, toothier texture to my breads.
I made a 70% hydration dough (fllour, water, 2% salt & 0.5% instant yeast), with a 33% poolish (6 hours poolish ferment). Given my work schedule, I tried something quite radical for me: After mixing the poolish, making the dough, letting it autolyse and kneading it a bit (noticeably smoother than my regular stone-ground), I let it run through one room-temp ferment overnight (~11 hours), then did a couple of folds and another room-temp ferment during the day (another 11 hours or so).
When I was shaping the batards, the dough felt slacker than I was used to, and a bit harder to shape tightly. I formed the batards and proofed them in a canvas couche for an hour @ room temp. I slashed the loaves & loaded them into a pre-heated 505F oven, sprayed steam off & on for 8 minutes, then 40 minutes @ 405F.
One of the loaves sprung well in the oven, the other not quite as much.
My biggest surprise was the crumb - this is the most open crumb I've ever achieved in any of my breads, and with a whole wheat flour, no less.
I think I'll be trying more variations on the atta theme after this - enjoy!