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Nov 30, 2010 02:56 PM

Durum atta flour

So I've always wondered about this flour. I've seen big bags of it for sale but it doesn't make sense to buy a huge bag of something I may not have much use for. But today I was able to scoop a few cups of the stuff out of a bag that was at the soup kitchen where I volunteer and bring it home to try. I was thinking because it's durum semolina it might be good for pasta. But maybe not. It's NOT whole wheat - but the flour is somewhat granular and a yellowish colour.

Anyone have any experience with this flour? I know it's used for chapattis and other Indian breads - but other than that does it have a use?

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  1. It is actually whole wheat. What is it about the flour that causes you to think otherwise? It it the color or texture? Atta is produced from hard wheat grown in the Indian subcontinent, a bit different grain from the hard wheat grown in the US/Canada, although your flour may be a product of Canada. Atta is produced here and in Canada as well.

    You know this, but use it for flatbreads, roti, naan, chapatis, puri, breadstuffs like that. It has a high gluten content, perhaps you can use it as part of a flour blend for bread loaves. Other than it's uses that I mentioned, and you already knew, there's not much else to do with it, no pasta, although making chapatis and naan are fine enough and just perfect in my book.

    Here's some info from The Fresh Loaf, and although it seems like Indian flatbreads are mostly it for use, there was a post and some links/formulas about using it for yeasted loaves:

    4 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Ok thanks - guess I'll make some chapattis then! I know it isn't the whole wheat version of the flour because the company - Golden Temple - makes both kinds and this bag was not labelled whole wheat. It's a creamy yellow colour with no bran flecks showing at all.

      1. re: Nyleve

        I just wrote a big post about this and lost it, just as well, too much info. The upshot was a photo of Golden Temple atta, posted below, the bowl at the top of the photo that a bit difficult to see, looks kinda creamy yellow. The middle bowl is cottage cheese. Do you remember what the bag looked like, red strip, purple strip or yellow? Different blends, some with bran, the yellow bag is No 1 fine durum with bran, but most likely finely milled. Anyway, make some chapatis and see how it works out. Let us know.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Can remember the colour of the bag. I'll look next week when I'm back at the soup kitchen. The colour of the creamy yellow flour looks about right.

          1. re: Nyleve

            Ok, well, keep us informed as to your progress.

    2. The few people I know that use it, use it for breading fried foods. Supposedly holds up the best.

      13 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Now that's interesting! Any idea on the texture or density of the crust after frying, coll? Is the flour prepared in a batter or just used as breading?

        I've seen it in Indian markets in the city, but never bought it. I just use regular WW for chapatis. Now I want some...

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          It comes out a bit crispier and holds on to the food better, is what I hear. They use it instead of breadcrumbs, the same way, with egg wash. For the deep fryer, mostly.

          1. re: coll

            Ok, cool. I'll have to try that when I get some. Thanks!

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Let me know, because the main place I'm thinking of that uses it for everything is closed for winter and I won't talk to him til spring. It could be a nice change from breadcrumbs or panko.

              1. re: coll

                Ok, I'll probably have mrbushy pick it up in the city, or maybe downtown Brooklyn, one of the MIddle Eastern places might have it, or make a trek to Queens? I'll let you know.

                OMG, I just bought 2 4 lb tins of plain breadcrumbs (on sale for a ridiculously low price) and I'll have them forever. I was thinking this morning about all the ways to use them up, in at least a year or two.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  I buy my breadcrumbs 5 lbs at a time and it gets used up in...oh, maybe 6 months?
                  I don't fry all that much anymore, and don't put breadcrumbs in meatloaf since I discovered oatmeal; but I do put it in meatballs, and always toast a cup or two in oil to top aglio olio, tuna casserole, mac and cheese and the like. Eggplant parmigiana uses up an inordinate amount too.

                  If you want to get rid of your breadcrumbs real fast, just drop most of it on the pantry floor the first time you open them, like I did last time. What a mess! Good thing I get them cheap too.

                  1. re: coll

                    "drop most of it on the pantry floor the first time you open them,"

                    Now that's pretty effective way to use them up! Must have been a mess...I'll work on using them this winter, especially with eggplant. but there's only two of us, don't fry much either; meatballs, maybe a 2 lbs of meat at a time, so the tins hang around in my cabinet forever and I keep one in the freezer. Maybe I'll toast a few cups and keep them around. Got to find some cake/pastry recipes that use breadcrumbs as well. Got any ideas?

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      Wow I just had a blast from the past! I used to be the official birthday cake baker at a place I worked in the 80s and always tried to come up with something different (and boozy!) This one got its name from a funnyman because I was using an electric oven the first time I made it, and left it on preheat so it broiled a bit at first. Which ended up being fine. I have no idea what it actually was called. Something to do with whisky cake I think.

                      And it calls for 1/3 cup breadcrumbs and 1 cup of walnuts, but I was thinking that breadcrumbs could be an OK sub for nuts, in most recipes anyway.

                      IRISH COALMINER CAKE

                      6 z semi sweet chocolate
                      1/2 cup butter, room temp
                      3/4 cup sugar
                      1/2 tsp salt
                      6 eggs, separated
                      1 Tbsp milk
                      1 tsp vanilla
                      1 cup chopped walnuts
                      1/3 cup breadcrumbs, unseasoned
                      1/4 cup sugar
                      1/4 cup Irish whisky
                      1/4 cup Irish mist
                      1 cup heavy cream
                      1 Tbsp sugar
                      1/4 cup Irish Cream (I'm sure I meant Baileys! don't think they called it by name back then)

                      Melt chocolate in double boiler.
                      Cream butter and gradually add 3/4 cup sugar until light.
                      Add salt and 6 egg yolks, one at a time.
                      Then add milk, vanilla, slightly cooled chocolate, walnuts and breadcrumbs.
                      In separate bowl, beat 6 egg whites until foamy.
                      Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form.
                      Fold this into the other batter with spatula.
                      Put in 2 8" greased and floured pans.
                      Bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes (feel free to burn the top first!)
                      Cool 10 minutes, turn out and cool completely.
                      Poke holes in cake with straw and pour the 1/2 cup whisky over.
                      Beat cream and sugar, add Irish cream. Frost cake and chill.

                      1. re: coll

                        Thanks, coll, right up my alley. Maybe we should start a boozy cakes thread.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          I recently took a new book out of the library, called The Boozy Baker. I saved her recipe for Black and White Russian cookies, the usual but they have Kahlua, and maybe vodka, in the icing. Also Dirty Girl Scout cupcakes, which is apparently the name of a shot (I don't get out much anymore!)

                          I recently made an Irish Car Bomb cake for Mom's birthday and the raves haven't stopped (my family loves boozy cakes too) I just found it on the internet without exerting myself, but the custard icing is the best icing I ever made, I should give credit to the chef. Next week I'll take the book back out and find some more recipes, to start us off, although I have plenty of them too, and we'll start a great holiday thread. What a good idea!

                          1. re: coll

                            Yes, I want that book, it's on my wish list somewhere, amazon, I think. There's Booze Cakes also, by Krystina Castella, another one on my wish list. I think poster kattyeyes had a Irish Car Bomb cake recipe post here last year, but can you pass on your link to me?

                            This will be fun.

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              Here's the Car Bomb recipe, I only picked it because it was the first on Google, but it's a winner I'd made the cupcakes before, but this is so much more impressive.

                              I'm crazy busy with work but I'm going to start this tonight anyway, unless you do it first! See you after dinner.

                              1. re: coll

                                Ok I started a thread on boozy desserts. While looking through my recipes, found another for a cake with bread crumbs... must have been a fad back then. If I find any more, I'll start a new thread on baked goods with breadcrumbs! NO booze in this one, sorry.

                                LA MAXINE (Brownie Cake)
                                1 cup sugar
                                1/4 cup water
                                1 tsp instant espresso
                                6 oz semisweet chocolate
                                1 tsp vanilla
                                6 Tbsp butter, room temp
                                8 eggs, separated
                                4 oz walnuts. ground
                                2 Tbsp bread crumbs (the crumbs always seem to go with nuts)

                                Butter and flour 2x 9" round pans.
                                In a saucepan, combine sugar, water and espresso.
                                Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
                                Add chocolate and vanilla, stir til smooth.
                                Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes;
                                Cream butter til light.
                                Add egg yolks, one at a time.
                                Gradually add chocolate mixture, nuts and bread crumbs. Mix well.
                                Beat egg whites with pinch of salt til stiff but not dry. Fold into other mixture.
                                Pour batter into prepared pans.
                                Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
                                Cool in pans on rack.

                                6 oz semisweet chocolate
                                1/3 cup water
                                2 tsp instant espresso
                                1 cup plus 2 Tbsp butter, room temp
                                3 egg yolks
                                2/3 cup confection sugar

                                In saucepan, place chocolate, water and espresso. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly til smooth. Remove from heat.
                                Cool, then refrigerate til cold.
                                Cream butter til light. Add egg yolks one at a time. Gradually add cold chocolate. Beat in confectioners sugar.

      2. In addition to Indian breads, I love to use this flour for homemade pitas. The texture and flavor are just wonderful, and the flour seems to guarantee the pita "puff." I have a nice recipe that I have developed if you are interested.

        3 Replies
        1. re: smtucker

          Yes please! Would love the recipe.

          1. re: Nyleve

            based on a recipe from Gourmet May 2003, with a large reduction in oil and sugar

            I am not sure that the wheat gluten is needed, but since I always have it in my pantry, I use it. Wheat gluten helps lighten whole wheat bread but if you don't have any, just omit. Enjoy!

            1.5 teaspoon instant yeast
            1 teaspoon honey
            1.25 cups warm water, divided 1/2 cup plus 3/4 cup
            12.5 oz Whole Wheat Flour (3 1/4 cups)
            2 tablespoons wheat gluten
            2-3 tablespoons olive oil
            2 teaspoons kosher salt
            cornmeal or semolina for sprinkling baking sheets

            1. Whisk together yeast, 1/2 cup flour, honey and 1/2 cup flour until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. [30 minutes in the summer]

            2. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.

            3. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

            4. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. [If dough rises too fast, stretch to deflate and let rise some more.]

            5. Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. [I cut into 16 pieces to make mini pitas; roll to 3 inches.]

            6. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

            7. Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F. [I preheat to 500º before rolling the pitas and use a stone instead of the rack.]

            8. Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. [I have found 3 minutes is closer to reality.] Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more.

            9. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm.

            1. re: smtucker

              Thank you - I'll get around to trying it soon.

        2. My mother always made pancakes using a mix of half atta flour and half all-purpose. Much more flavorful, and tasty, than their pale all-white-flour cousins!