I recently joined a bread baking group on Facebook, called ‘We Knead to Bake’. This is run by Aparna from ‘My Diverse Kitchen‘ and it is essentially a group of like-minded bread enthusiasts, who get to do a common new bread recipe every month and share their results.
This month’s selection was Gibassier.
We Knead To Bake #19 : Gibassier (A French Anise & Orange Flavored Loaf)
Gibassier (pronounced zee-bah-see-ay).Among the world’s many artisan breads and cakes, the breakfast bread gibassier is one of the most popular in the French tradition. These fat cookie-like biscuits are concocted of a complex number of ingredients, from the standard flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, butter and olive oil to those that make it unique, like orange blossom water, anise seed and orange peel. At the end, it will be difficult to say whether what is being eaten is biscuit, a pastry, a doughnut or a cookie, but it will taste unique.
Here’s how to bake Gibassier (A French Anise & Orange Flavored Loaf)
For the Pre-ferment (Biga):
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup milk
1/16 tsp instant yeast
For the Dough:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup warm water(Traditionally orange blossom water to be used, but since I didn’t have it I used warm water)
1/8 cup orange juice
3 1/4 cups All purpose flour
All the pre-ferment/ Biga from above
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp instant yeast
75 gm butter, slightly soft
1 1/2 to 2 tsp anise seeds
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots(Again traditionally candied orange peel would be used, I wasn’t very comfortable using peel)
2 tsp orange zest
For Glazing and Dusting the Gibassier
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup clarified butter (ghee)
The pre-ferment has to be made the night before the Gibassier are baked. So start the process the previous night.
Mix together the ingredients for the pre-ferment into a slightly stiff but smooth dough. Add a little more milk if your dough is too stiff.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover loosely. Leave it at room temperature for 12-14 hours, end of this time dough will be fermented.
Make the Gibassier the next morning. I tried making the dough with hand, it felt very difficult to handle the dough, so I switched to food processor attached with the plastic kneading blade. It’s easy to make Gibassier dough with food processor.
Put the eggs, olive oil and orange juice in the processor bowl and run a couple of times to mix well. Next add the warm water and mix. Make sure the water is not too hot, else it will curdle the eggs.
Tear the Biga or pre-ferment into pieces and add them into the mixture. Also add all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and knead until the dough is smooth. Run the blades for a couple of rounds.
Next add the butter in chunks of 3 or 4 times and knead until the butter is incorporated into the dough before adding the next chunk. Knead well until the dough is soft(it will be a little sticky, that’s fine, that’s how it is suppposed to be).
Add the chopped apricots, aniseed and the zest and knead until everything is incorporated well.
Take the dough out of food processor bowl, turn it into round shape and keep it covered in greased bowl for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled it’s size.
After 2 hours, punch the dough to release the air collected in. Transfer the dough out onto a clean (slightly oiled or dusted with flour) working surface . Divide it into 12 equal portions, shape each into a round and let the dough rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Place a ball of dough onto the surface and flatten each round into a semi-circle or oval shape using your hands. Make three cuts in the middle of the semi-circle, one in the center and two on either side of this cut from the straight edge to the arch of the semi-circle , I used old card(Id card or cash card) to make the cuts.
Lift the Gibassier dough and transfer it to a greased baking sheet making sure to stretch it a little so the cuts open up well and the slits also spread a bit. Repeat with all the balls of dough, and let the shaped dough rise for about 30 to 45 minutes till a little puffy.
Then bake them at 180C (350F) for about 10 to 15 minutes till they turn a golden brown on top.
Brush ghee on top of the Gibassier while it’s still hot and sprinkle castor sugar on top of Gibassier and place them on wire rack for them to cool.
Serve warm with tea or coffee. Delicious
Try making them at home and don’t forget to tell me how they turn out!
This makes 12 big gibassier.