Sourdough bread with atta (Indian whole wheat flour or chapathi flour) with step-by-step recipe.
I have shared earlier how to create a sourdough starter with atta and how it is different from a regular flour starter. I have used the discard to make sourdough parathas and once my starter was ripe, I wanted to bake bread with it. I tried incorporating it in my regular no-knead sourdough bread by replacing the bread flour with 1:1 bread flour:atta. It worked really well but obviously, I wanted to bake a 100% atta sourdough bread. When I tried this recipe here, it turned out really well. This wonderful nutritious bread is delicious with a lovely tang, good rise, and a very flavourful crumb. The increased nutrition of this bread is a great plus, along with the different flavour and taste this bread has if you are regularly baking white sourdough bread.
What is atta
Atta or chakki atta is whole wheat flour used to make Indian flatbreads like roti, chapati, or paratha. It is popularly known as chapati flour outside of India. Atta is ground slightly coarse when compared to the western wholemeal flour. Atta is different when compared to all-purpose whole wheat flour and has high gluten content.
About this recipe
Making sourdough atta bread is slightly different when compared to making white sourdough bread. Firstly, I autolyse the atta without the starter for a long time. When I start activating my starter, I also start autolysing the atta. This helps immensely with the dough development and makes working with this dough relatively easy. Secondly, this is a very high hydration dough – 95%. Hence the long autolyse is important as this helps in strengthening the dough and makes it easy to handle. I combine a small percentage of atta when making sourdough pizza as well as some bread, like sourdough pumpkin bread. The result is absolutely amazing. I will share the recipes for them soon.
My baking timeline is the same as my white sourdough bread, but I autolyse the flour along with activating the starter.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Take the starter from the fridge and feed it with atta and water. In a separate bowl, combine atta and water making sure there are no dry bits. Leave them both in a warm temperature overnight.
SATURDAY MORNING: Mix starter into the dough, stretch and fold, bulk fermentation.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Cold fermentation in the fridge.
SUNDAY/MONDAY MORNING: Bake day.
Few things to keep in mind when making sourdough atta bread
- Atta absorbs a lot of water, hence we need more water when compared to dough made with bread flour. This is a high hydration dough.
- The crumbs are denser when compared to white sourdough bread, but they are definitely soft.
- The recipe here makes two loaves. You can divide it into half to make one loaf.
- If you are not comfortable making 100% atta bread, start by mixing 20% atta along with the bread flour. Slowly, increase the amount of atta.
- We need to have a stiff starter for this bread, so the amount of starter, flour, and water is slightly different when compared to activating the bread flour starter. I have detailed the process below.
- The activated starter is very stiff, almost like a chapati dough consistency. To combine it with the dough, pinch it into the dough using your fingers.
- My dough had good strength by the time I did the fourth set of stretch and fold. You can either stop at the third stretch and fold or do one more.
Sourdough Atta Bread step-by-step recipe with photos
1. Combine the ingredients needed to activate the starter and keep in a warm spot
2. Combine atta and water to begin autolysis. Keep in a warm spot
3. Next morning, combine the starter and salt to the autolysed dough
4. Perform the first set of stretch and fold
5. Perform a second set of stretch and fold
6. Perform a third set of stretch and fold
7. Dough after bulk fermentation
8. Divide the dough into two
9. Shape them into two balls and let them rest on bench for 15 minutes
10. Pick one side of the dough and fold it to the centre
11. Pick the other side and fold it to centre
12. Now hold the dough gently and tuck it to form a log
13. Place in a well dusted banneton
14. Score the cold dough once the oven is preheated
15. Place in the preheated dutch oven
16. Bake with lid on for 25 minutes, then bake without the lid for another 15 minutes
Sourdough Atta Bread
For starter activation
For the dough
DAY 1: 8 PM
DAY 2: Morning
DAY 2: Evening
DAY 3: Morning