Pain demi-gris

While visiting a local farm I saw an organic flour that was labeled as demis-gris. As I was curious about it and it looked so tempting, I bought a bag of 5kg to test it. I nicely placed it on a shelf and there it remained for couple of months. While cleaning the kitchen, I found it back and I was determined to give it a try.
I was oscillating to combine it with some strong flour but finally decided to use it in its pure form so I can see its behavior during handling the dough and later to see its original aroma.
Honestly, when I bought it, I had no clue what demi-gris is. With a bit of research afterwards, I understood that it's a combination of whole wheat flour and white wheat flour. I am still not 100% sure that this is what French and Belgian people call demi-gris, but if there is somebody to enlighten me about this type of flour s/he will be more then welcome to leave me a comment. No idea if it is a 50-50% proportion but the important aspect is that it is organic and this qualify the entire bread as being very healthy.

So, I started with low expectations as whole wheat flour is one of the most difficult type of flour to work with. I've done many breads before with the main ingredient being the whole wheat and I knew that whole wheat gives a more dense crumb. No matter how dense the resulting bread, it was always very tasty. With that said, airy or not, what I was ready to bake was a tasty and healthy anyway.
I followed my new method of baking that includes autolyse, lamination and coil folds. Because I knew the wheat flour requires more time to hydrate, I opted for an overnight autolyse. After kneading, the dough was less elastic than when using a strong white wheat flour, but this was not at all unexpected.

I was worried about the lamination phase. I didn't know if I would be able to stretch the dough and how much. Well, here I was actually surprised that I could laminate the dough nicely in just a bit smaller rectangle than usual. 

I baked the dough and I was satisfied with its outside looking. But the most impresive part was revealed after cutting. The crumb... oh the crumb was beyond any expectation: soft, airy, elastic and with such a mesmerizing aroma...

I put the bread on the table for dinner and sliced half of it. This sliced half was completely devoured by my children. Maybe I do not know exactly what this demi-gris flour is, but for sure there is something magical about it ...



  1. [Day 1, Friday, 22:00] Scaling. Start by measuring the ingredients. 
  2. Immediately after,  Mix water + flours. Mix only the flour with liquids just until well combined, usually it takes 1-2 minutes in the mixer. Do not knead at this stage, just insure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. . 
    Cover the bowl with a lid to avoid the dough to dry at its surface. Leave the dough for the autolyse overnight.
  3. [Day 2, Saturday, 7:00] Sourdough starter. The next morning, when you wake up, add the starter over the dough and knead for 8 to 10 minutes with a standing mixer or by hand. Then, leave the dough to relax for 30 minutes. If you are not an early bird and you wake up at 10, you might just move the schedule of this bread with 3 hours later during this day. It will then go for fewer hours in the fridge but this is no issue.
  4. [Day 2, Saturday, 7:30] Salt. Incorporate the salt and knead for 5 minutes more in the standing mixer. Then cover the bowl and let the dough to relax for 30 minutes.
  5. [Day 2, Saturday, 8:00] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit covered for 30 minutes.
  6. [Day 2, Saturday, 8:30] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowls and do the lamination. Let the dough rest covered for 1 hour. 
  7. [Day 2, Saturday, 9:30] Coil fold 1. Do a coil fold, directly in the glass bowls. Let them sit for 1 hour covered.
  8. [Day 2, Saturday, 10:30] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 1 hour covered.
  9. [Day 2, Saturday, 11:30] Coil fold 3.  Do a third set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 1 hour covered.
  10. [Day 2, Saturday, 12:30] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into a well floured banneton. Repeat the proces for the second piece of dough. Let the covered bannetons still rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing them in the fridge for 21 hours. This timing doesn't have to be exact. They can stay in the fridge between 14-24 hours without being overproved. The more they stay in the fridge, the more sour the dough will be. You can even try to leave them in the fridge for 48 hours. Just be sure of the temperature inside your fridge to be around 4-5ºC.
  11. [Day 3, Sunday, 9:30] Score. Before scoring you need to heat the oven with a baking stone inside until it reaches 270ºC. This takes about 45 minutes for me. Under the stone, place some lava rocks in an old pan that will be use to create steam.
    Take the dough out from the fridge and reverse the banneton on a baking paper put on a peel. Decorate and score the bread with an incision of 1-2cm deep.  Immediately after, slide the loaves into the oven.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven at 270ºC on the hot stone for 15 minutes. For steaming, pour 150g of hot water on the hot lava rocks to create steam. Close the oven door as quickly as possible to capture the steam inside. Be careful at this step as the hot steam can cause burns. As a trick, I use a teapot to pour water far from the hand.
    No ventilator should be turned on in the oven in this first phase as you need to keep the steam inside the oven. After these 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 220ºC, turn on the ventilator of the oven to release the steam and continue to bake for 30 minutes.     
  13. [Day 3, Sunday, 10:15] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches the room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course.
  14. [Day 3, Sunday, 12:15] Cut. Now is the big moment to see the crumb after cutting. Can you resist tasting it? 


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