The Fresh Loaf

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Atta Flour Experiment

foodslut's picture

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!


Anita Tikoo's picture
Anita Tikoo

Wow, that's an amazing crumb! You used only atta and no other flour? I bake in Delhi (India) and the flours that are readily available to me are atta and maida (our APF). My crumb has never looked like that even with just 20% atta! What is your room temperature, if I may ask?

foodslut's picture

Best crumb I've ever had.  The room temp during the 20+ hrs of fermenting was between 18 and 21 Celsius.


louiscohen's picture

That is a remarkable crumb.  I have been using atta with a poolish for yeasted bread and now sourdough, and I am not getting anything close to that.  But I have also been using a much higher hydration (which usually leads to a more open crumb.

11 hrs at room temp - twice - seems unusual.  I usually bulk ferment overnight in the fridge.  And I have no luck with the usual steaming methods; I bake in a dutch oven.  Your baking temp also seems unusually low, but I'll give it a try.