Everyone of us want to serve bread with great texture and softness, be it baking a sandwich bread or making Indian flat breads in a tava. For Indians, home made breads called roti is integral part of every day menu. It is made with whole wheat flour called atta in Hindi. The bread made with whole wheat flour is definitely healthier . No one can deny that. I eat two rotis in a meal with cup of vegetable and a cup of protein (lentils or poultry or lamb). So I had to learn to make it soft and perfect. I practiced so many times to get the dough right and eventually that helps to get the roti soft and fluffy.
An technique called autolysis is used to make the whole wheat bread soft. Autolysis is a technique where the flour and water is soaked for sometime and this triggers a process called self-digestion. When flour and water come in contact with each other, the strands of gluten of whole wheat flour relaxes, softens and absorbs moisture. This strengthens when the dough is kneaded. There is no need for yeast or salt.
Once I left them both for longer time (longer than the usual 10-20 minutes), the longer time is, longer will be autolysis. It helps to convert the starch to sugar and that gave a nice color and flavor to my roti. So remember soaking the mixture and less kneading are the key to soft rotis.
To get the rotis soft, first we need to get the dough right.
Below is the handy tip from my cook:
Source: My cook and Google to understand the science of autolysis
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
- 1 cup water ( plus more if needed)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- Add 1 cup room temperature or cold water in a bowl and add 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta). Gently mix them with a spoon and let it soak for 10 minutes (sometimes I leave it for 30 minutes).
- If needed, add more water little by little. Knead with your hand until the dough becomes elastic and pliable. Don’t over do it.
- Roll it into a large ball and layer it with oil to prevent dryness
- Place it a container ( with a fitting lid) which is also sprayed with cooking oil
- Test: Press your index finger into the dough that’s kneaded and the shape that you created should stay like that. It should not bounce back. Please try it this way and share your thoughts with me.
Also, please check our video on how to make soft rotis here?