have a dream.  A dream of a beautiful, crusty, lofty, airy and tender crumbed loaf made entirely with wholewheat flour. Close to a decade of weekly bread baking and it remains a dream. Oh well, what would we have left to hope for, if everything were at our fingertips? 

My wholewheat breads usually contain no more than 40% wholewheat and they're very pleasing loaves, but I saw Indian style, finely ground wholewheat (atta) for chapatis and thought it might make a good, fine textured wholewheat loaf, in contrast to my grainy ones.


The result was better than I expected, but still not close enough to the stuff of my bread dreams. The crumb was tender enough, but not as airy and light as I had hoped. I've read conflicting accounts of atta flour - some say it's a soft wheat, others insist it's hard. 

Judging by the results I had and the difficulty I had stretching out a piece of the dough for the windowpane test, I'm leaning towards those in the first camp. Does anyone know whether atta is a soft or hard flour? I'd really appreciate a heads up here!

The flavour though is a revelation! Fragrant, nutty, mildly sweet and almost, creamy. So good, I enjoyed slices of it without even a lick of butter - to me, the acid test for delicious bread. Oh well. Back to the breading board. Next time I'll try throwing some vital gluten into the mix. If only I knew where to get it. I am by no means throwing in the towel; I will have my perfect 100% wholewheat loaf yet. Just watch me....

Prep 3 hrs 30 mins  Cook 30 mins Makes 2 small loaves

300 g (3 level teacups) atta (finely ground wholewheat/chapati flour)
200 g white bread flour
2 level tsp soft brown sugar
1 1/2 level tsp fine sea salt
2 1/2 level tsp instant yeast
400 ml (2 teacups) water
2 Tbsp flavourless vegetable oil

In bowl of standmixer, combine atta and bread flour with sugar and salt and stir well with a whisk. Stir in yeast.

Pour in water and mix on speed 2 (low) for 5 minutes. Scrape dough down hook and sides of bowl and cover bowl. Leave to rest for 20 - 30 minutes.

Knead on speed 2 for 12 minutes. Scrape dough out of bowl onto a lightly greased surface and form into a neat, tight ball. Lightly grease inside of bowl and put dough in, seam side down. Cover bowl and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Turn risen dough out onto lighlty greased surface and divide equally into two. Shape each piece into a neat, tight, blunted oval and place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dust loaves with flour and slash tops of loaves as you wish. Cover loaves lightly and leave to proof for 45 - 60 minutes. (preheat oven twenty minutes before loaves go in, at 250 C - 480 F)

Bake loaves for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 190 C (375 F) and continue to bake another 10 - 15 minutes or until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer loaves immediately to a wire rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.