The gibassier is a delicately spiced breakfast pastry from Provence. The key ingredients of orange, aniseed and orange blossom water gives them their distinctive taste. It's not clear how the gibassier got it's name. One theory is that it is named after the mountain peak, Le Gibas in the Luberon range. Another is that it is named after a French game-carrying bag called the gibacier of a similar shape to the gibassier. Unlike the croissant, the gibassier is rarely found outside Provence. The making of gibassiers requires a pre-ferment which must be made the day before baking. They can be made as one large loaf or smaller loaves. There, that's all you ever wanted to know about gibassiers... But all you really needed to know is that they're freakin' delicious.
slightly adapted from here
For the Pre-ferment:
180g (1 1/2 cups) baker's flour
110g (1/2 cup) full-cream milk
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
For the Dough:
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
65g (1/3 cup) olive oil, at room temperature
7 1/2 tablespoons orange blossom water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
400g (3 1/4 cups) baker's flour
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
70g (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 teaspoon ground aniseed
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange (or you can use 1/4 cup candied orange, though I'm not a fan)
100g unsalted butter for the browned butter for glazing (Instructions on how to brown the butter below.)
Vanilla sugar for dredging
Brown the Butter:
Put the butter into a saucepan and cook on high heat until it turns nut-brown. Pour through a piece of muslin to strain out the milk solids. Discard the milk solids. Set aside.
Make the Pre-ferment:
The day before you wish to bake (and eat) you gibassier, combine all the pre-ferment ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until it comes together into a ball. Put it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight.
Make the Dough:
The next day, combine the eggs and egg yolk, olive oil, orange blossom water, water, flour, pre-ferment, caster sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix together at low speed for 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the cold butter between to sheets of plastic wrap and beat it out with a rolling pin to about 5mm. This will make it pliable and easier to incorporate into the dough.
Cut the butter into quarters and slowly add one quarter to the dough, mixing at low speed. Make sure the butter is fully incorporated before adding another quarter. Continue until all the butter is fully taken up into the dough. Keep mixing the dough for a further 4 minutes after the butter had been incorporated. You should have a smooth, silky dough that is easily stretched without breaking. If it breaks easily, keep mixing until it's really stretchy.
Add the aniseed and orange zest and mix for about 2 minutes to make sure they are evenly distributed. Put it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours to bulk ferment.
Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Set aside.
Divide the dough into 12 even portions and roll each portion into a ball. Place the balls onto the prepared trays, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes.
Shape the Dough:
Take a ball of dough and put it on a lightly floured work surface. Lay it on it's side (there will be a flat bottom from where it was sitting on the tray) and squash it down to get a rough semi circle shape. Place the straight edge near you and use a sharp knife or hard spatula to cut three slits completely through the dough, one in the centre and one either side. Use a sharp knife to cut four small slits on the outer edge of the dough, between the major slits. Pick it up and gently stretch to open it out and place it back on the paper lined tray. Continue with the rest of the balls of dough. Cover the trays with plastic wrap and leave to proof for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Bake the Gibassiers:
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time for even baking. The are done when the tops are golden brown.
Brush them with browned butter while they are still hot and roll them in vanilla sugar. Place them on a wire rack to cool. Make some coffee and enjoy.