A French bread from Provence, the gibassier is flavored with anise, candied orange peel, and orange blossom water. Cut and shaped to resemble a leaf, this decorative bread is traditionally served during the Christmas holiday, but is a perfect breakfast treat any time of the year.
Yield: 8 small loaves
- 2 1⁄3 to 2 2⁄3 cups (296 to 338 grams) bread flour, divided
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 2 (1/4 ounce each) packages (14 grams) or 4½ tsp Platinum Yeast
- 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
- 3⁄4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) plus 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cardamom, divided
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
- 1⁄4 cup (60 grams) whole milk
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) olive oil
- 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons (12.5 grams) orange blossom water
- 3⁄4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
- 1⁄2 cup (72 grams) finely chopped candied orange
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons (4.5 grams) anise seeds
- Step 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup (127 grams) flour, 1⁄3 cup (67 grams) sugar, yeast, salt, 3⁄4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) cardamom, and 1⁄4 teaspoon ginger at low speed until combined.
- Step 2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and oil over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add milk mixture to flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined and yeast dissolves, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs and orange blossom water; beat at medium-low speed just until combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 1 1⁄3 cups (169 grams) flour, beating just until combined.
- Step 3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until dough is smooth, elastic, and pulls away from sides of bowl, 7 to 10 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl; add up to remaining 1⁄3 cup (42 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky.
- Step 4. With mixer on low speed, add 1⁄4 cup (57 grams) butter, 1 tablespoon (14 grams) at a time, beating until combined after each addition (6 to 8 minutes total), stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook. Increase mixer speed to medium-low, and beat until a smooth, elastic dough forms, 6 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape dough hook. (Dough should pass the windowpane test. [See Note.]) Beat in candied orange and anise seeds until combined. Turn out dough onto a clean surface; knead 6 to 10 times to help evenly disperse candied orange and anise seeds. Transfer dough to a medium bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 hours.
- Step 5. Punch down dough; let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean surface, and divide into 8 portions (about 92 grams each); shape into balls, pinching seams closed as needed. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 25 minutes.
- Step 6. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Step 7. Roll each dough ball into a 31⁄2-inch-long log; flatten and shape into about 41⁄2x3-inch ovals (about 1⁄4 inch thick). Place long side of dough ovals parallel to counter edge; using sharp kitchen shears or scissors, cut 3 slits crosswise and equally spaced within each oval, leaving about 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch of dough intact on each side. Along one long side of each oval, cut 1⁄2- to 3⁄4-inch-long slits, evenly spaced, to the side of each original center slit. Stretch dough gently just to open cuts; place on prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until dough is puffed and holds an indentation when pressed with a finger, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Step 8. Bake, one batch a time, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted
- in center registers 190°F (88°C), 6 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Step 9. Meanwhile, in a small microwave-safe bowl, heat remaining 1⁄2 cup (113 grams) butter on high in 10-second intervals until melted.
- Step 10. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together remaining 2⁄3 cup (133 grams) sugar, remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon ginger, and remaining 1⁄8 teaspoon cardamom.
- Step 11. Brush melted butter all over warm bread; immediately coat with sugar mixture. Serve warm, or let cool to room temperature on wire racks.
To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.