Pane incamiciato

 Pane incamiciato means literally bread in a shirt. It is a dressed bread or a wrapped bread. It has a beautiful design and in the oven, it opens up like a flower. Ideas about how to score and decorate this bread are unlimited. 
The bread follows the classic approach but the dough of each loaf is split in 2: one (~30%) is the wrap and the rest is the main dough. The separation between the layers has to be done using oil and seeds to ensure that they do not stick together.
The scoring has to be very carefully done, only on the wrap layer without cutting the main dough.

The bake is made at 230ºC and no more as the oil on the top will darken very quickly in the oven. For a whiter crust, you can even reduce the temperature to 220ºC but check that the centre of the bread has well reached 90ºC. The petals will dry out in the oven and will detach from the main boule.
The crumb instead is soft and simply melts into your mouth. 
The taste is also a special one. The dough being brushed with oil, makes me think of focaccia. The roasted seeds give the extra flavour of this amazing bread. All in one, it is an impressive bread from many points of view.

It is not probably the first bread you want to try if you are a beginner baker but it is definitely a bread with an outstanding look. 
The most difficult part of this bread is to cut it. It is like a beauty that you cannot touch. Well, bread is not made just to be admired but is made to be eaten. Luckily, my children love cracking the petal so they help me with the difficult task of cutting such a beautiful piece of bread.


  • 250g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 940g strong wheat flour
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 675g water
  • 20g salt
  • olive oil (for brushing ~35g))
  • black sesame seeds (~40g)
  • flaxseeds (~40g)

Totals for 2 loaves:
Dough weight: 2100g
Flour: 1165g (125g from the starter)
Water: 800g (125g from the starter)
Salt: 20g (1.7%)
Dough hydration: 68.7%

  1. [Day 1, Friday, 23:00] Scaling. Start by scaling the ingredients using a balance and put them on the table to ensure there is nothing forgotten.
  2. Mix water + flours + salt. Mix flours, water and salt just until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it.  Before or after mixing, do not forget to feed the starter so that in the morning the starter is at peak. Mine raised in 10 hours to arrive at the peak at 21ºC. I fed it at 1:2:2 ratio (starter:water:flour). The temperature of the room is important only for the starter but for the dough, few degrees on +/- do not count much.
  3. [Day 2, Saturday, 9:00] Sourdough starter. Add the preferment over the dough and mix with a standing mixer for 10 minutes (or simply by hand).  After mixing, let the dough relax for 45 minutes. I used a bread proofer set at 27ºC where the temperature and humidity can be controlled, so I didn't need any lid.
  4. [Day 2, Saturday, 9:45] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on a slightly wet table board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and then cut 30% of each piece. Place the small portions in 2 bowls and let them in the proofer until the shaping phase. The 2 main dough boules, place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit at 27ºC for 45 minutes.
  5. [Day 2, Saturday, 10:30] Lamination. Take the 2 main pieces of dough out of the bowl and do the lamination. Place them back in the bowls and let them rise for 45 minutes. 
  6. [Day 2, Saturday, 11:15] Coil fold 1. Start now a set of 3 coil folds performed straight in the bowls. Do the first coil fold set in each glass bowl and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  7. [Day 2, Saturday, 12:00] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  8. [Day 2, Saturday, 12:45] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  9. [Day 2, Saturday, 13:30] Shape the main loaves on the lightly floured board with a classic shape method. Take the small portions of dough out of their bowls and stretch them like a pizza. Brush the centre with olive oil. Sprinkle water on the main dough and place it face down in the seeds. Then move this dough in the center of the stretched dough and wrap it in.  Place the dough face down into well-floured bannetons. Repeat the process for the second piece of dough. Let the bannetons still rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing them in the fridge overnight. 
  10. [Day 3, Sunday, 10:00] Score. Before scoring, you need to preheat the oven and the Dutch oven(s) at 230ºC. In the same time, place the banneton in the freezer for 30 minutes. Having a cold dough will help with the scoring.
    Reverse the banneton on a baking paper. Score gently in 8 symmetrical sections only the wrapped part of the dough. It might be tricky if the dough stuck to the main dough but with careful attention, you'll succeed. The second dough, I score it just in 4 and I do some deep lines in the centre of these 4 sections. Also some superficial decoration is nice.  Immediately after, put the loaves in the hot Dutch ovens with the lid on and slide them in the big oven.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven at 230ºC for 20 minutes. After these 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue to bake at the same temperature for 25 minutes. 
  12. [Day 3, Sunday, 10:45] 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...
  13. [Day 2, Sunday, 12:30] Cut. Now enjoy your beautiful bread and tell me if you had the courage to cut it.


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