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.  

WanyeKest's picture

Flavorwise, do you like atta better than regular whole wheat?


I live in a rice-eating country, whole wheat flour has to be bought in bulk (5kg increment). I like to find something that I can bake mindlessly for busy weekdays. I recall a decade ago, atta was what I associate with whole wheat. I made bread and pastries with it, because it is what we associate with fine texture, and I played safe, because I thought finer is safer lol. I baked sourdough with it, but I completely forgot everything, and I'm re-learning everything about it. I'm practicing on pain de campagne as a starting point. I bought repacked whole wheat and rye (smaller packaging) but I'd like to buy something not repacked in the future (yep, 5kg bags for casual home baking lol)


Would you describe the flavor difference?