I have earlier shared how to make a sourdough starter. While you can make a sourdough starter with any flour, high protein flours work best when making a starter. Rye flour is a preferred flour when it comes to making starters for the same reason. I have not been able to source rye flour of late and decided to make the starter with atta (or the Indian whole wheat flour). Atta is different when compared to all-purpose whole wheat flour and has high gluten content, making it very good for a sourdough starter.
I was super excited about how the atta starter turned out. I found it very similar to the rye flour starter. My atta starter fermented very quickly and very actively. The maintenance of my atta starter is also relatively easier than my other starter, although the process is the same.
I maintain a very small quantity of atta starter and use it to make the Indian version of sourdough bread – like plain or stuffed paratha, atta bread, ladi pav, etc. In fact, I prefer using my atta starter to make the Indian style bread as opposed to using my bread flour starter.
The process of creating the atta starter and troubleshooting is similar to creating a regular starter and I have shared the process here. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Atta absorbs a lot of water so the starter will look relatively less hydrated.
- My atta starter was ready by day 6. However, the time taken for the starter to mature may vary depending on the ambient temperature.
- Use filtered water to make the starter.
- While I prefer to wait for 4-5 days before using the bread flour starter discard, I have used the atta starter discard from day 2.
- I have shared all the troubleshooting techniques here.
- The maintenance of the atta starter is the same as a regular flour starter. You can find the technique here.
- You can prepare the atta starter for baking in the same way you prepare the starter made with regular flour. You can find the technique here.
Atta starter is easier to make when compared to bread flour starter and is definitely easier to maintain as well. Check the detailed recipe below and create an atta starter that is good to go within days.
Sourdough starter with atta
DAY 2: You will begin to notice some bubbles by day 2 as atta ferments quickly
DAY 3: There are more bubbles and a small rise in the starter
DAY 4: From day 4, you will need to feed your starter twice a day, 10 to 12 hours apart. Note the timing of your feed so that it is easy to track the next feeding time
DAY 5: You will notice a lot of activity in your starter and it will start to rise with every feed. If it does not, give it a day or two more to mature
DAY 6: Your starter is getting mature with every feed. Some starters are good to go by 6 or 7 days, while some need a few more days to mature and be ready to bake
DAY 7: Your starter should be bubbly, active, and doubling every 6-8 hours after feeding. By day 7, your starter should be ready to bake; however, it will take a few more days to fully mature. If you are not planning to bake with it straight away, put it in the refrigerator and maintain it with weekly feeds.
Sourdough starter made with atta step-by-step recipe with photos
1. DAY 1: Combine 100 grams of atta and water. Let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours
2. DAY 2: You can notice bubbles in the starter
3. DAY 3: There are more bubbles and a small rise in the starter
4. DAY 4 (Feed 1): There is a lot of activity in the starter
5. DAY 4 (Feed 2): There is a good rise in the starter
6. DAY 5 (Feed 1): My starter has doubled overnight
7. DAY 5 (Feed 2)
8. DAY 6 (Feed 1)
7. DAY 6 (Feed 2)