Gibassier- a French pastry like bread with flavours of orange and anise


This is the first time I baked with the Biga/sponge/pre-ferment and I kicked myself for not having done it earlier. As much as I love baking, I was too lazy to go the Biga way though I had been reading about it for some time. I am so glad I finally did!

Biga/sponge/preferment/poolish defined – A combination of flour, water, and sometimes yeast that is prepared in advance (as in pre-fermentation) and then mixed into the main body of the dough as an additional ingredient. You can find a lot of information here on baking with preferment.
So basically it is a bit of dough you need to knead a night or (14 hours) ahead  of your baking time.

Gibassier– this mildly sweet, pastry like, fruit flavoured French bread just stole my heart, and the boys all but applauded! Happiness and Joy: D
It is not difficult to bake. Just that it needs to be planned a day ahead to prepare the Biga- but totally worth it! We loved the beautiful texture and the heavenly aroma from the fresh orange juice used.

Gibassier is traditionally made with fruited olive oil and spiced with anise, candied orange peel and orange blossom water. Fancy ingredients like Orange Blossom water and candied orange peel are a farfetched dream in my small town so I used fresh fruit instead. I had an orange and some peaches and used these to bake the Gibassier. The flavours were beautiful!



For the Pre-ferment (Biga)
All Purpose Flour/Maida- 1 ½ cup
Milk-  ½  cup milk
Instant yeast- 1/16 tsp

Making the Biga/Pre-ferment
The biga / pre-femented dough needs 14-16 hours to ferment. It is best to make it a night ahead of the day of baking. Mix all the ingredients listed above and knead into a soft dough. Put it in a greased bowl, cover and leave for about 16 hours (may need more time in case of cold weather). It doubles up and develops air pockets.
What I also did the previous night (Fruit zest mix)
I chopped the 3 peaches I had, juiced an orange, grated the zest. I dropped the peaches and the zest into the orange juice and left it covered in the refrigerator overnight, while the biga got done.


For the Dough

All the pre-ferment/ Biga from above
APF (All Purpose Flour)/Maida- 3 ¼ cup
Instant Yeast- 1 ¾ tsp
Warm water – 3 Tbsp and Sugar -1 tsp(to prove the yeast)
Olive oil- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp
1/3 cup  butter ( slightly soft at room temperature)
Baking powder- 1/2 tsp
Anise seeds/ Saunf- 2 Tbsp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt

For Glazing and Dusting the Gibassier
Melted ghee(clarified butter)- ½ cup
Powdered sugar/vanilla sugar/icing sugar- ½ cup (use as desired)

Warm 2 Tbsp water, stir in 1 tsp sugar and add the yeast. Leave covered to bloom for 10-15 minutes till it becomes frothy.


Mix the APF(Maida), salt, sugar and baking powder.
Add the anise and olive oil  to the fruit zest mix.

Break thr Biga into chunks and add in.

Add the yeast mix and the fruit zest mix to the flour and mix well with a wooden spatula/ladle.


Start kneading. Do not add more water unless required. It is a sticky dough but will come together after some time.
Add the melted butter gradually  and knead for 10-15 minutes to get a soft dough.

Leave covered for 1 ½ – 2 hours till it doubles up.

Gently knock down the dough and divide into 12 balls.

Shape them into balls and rest them for 15 – 20 minutes.
Shape each ball like a ‘D’.

Make three cuts on the D- one in the centre and two on the sides. I used a butter knife for making the cuts.

Make 4 slits on the arched side (outer side) of the D.

Gently, life the shaped gabassier and transfer to a greased baking tray. Stretch the gibassiers while placing them on the tray so that the cuts show clearly.

Leave covered for another 40 minutes till they puff up nicely.
Preheat the oven at 180c (350F) for 20 minutes and  bakefor 10 -15 minutes till they are nicely browned.
Remove and brush immediately with melted ghee/clarified butter.


Dust with powdered sugar/ icing sugar/vanilla sugar.

Serve warm or sit them under a hot grill for 7-8 minutes just before serving.
I made 6 gibassiers and used the rest of the dough to make these cuppies. These, warmed and topped with some chocolate sauce were heaven on the palate!
If you are too lazy to shape them, cuppies are the way to go 😉





Recipe Source- Ciril Hitz’s Baking artisan and pasteries Book with help from the eggless version here.
I was first introduced to this delightful bread on Manish Bhalla’s blog here. 

I am taking these yummy orangey sweet delights to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Let’s party! Many thanks Jhuls and Selma for the rocking time!