Saturday, February 14, 2009

Orange-Anise Sweet Rolls aka Le Gibassier

Part of living comfortably on a teacher's salary is learning to forgo some of those little daily treats other folks might take for granted. I learned long ago the best way to save money was to cut out a daily latte and sweet roll. Not surprisingly, it is also a great way to lose 5 pounds!

I don't miss my lattes anymore. I have found a cup of fresh brewed coffee and a splash of milk is just as soothing in the morning. Since moving to North Portland we have become dedicated fans of Blue Gardenia's coffee.

What I do miss is the Pearl Bakery's Le Gibassier rolls. These rolls are scented with orange flower water, speckled with anise and rolled in sugar. I thought they were spectacular doughnuts until I Googled it. Turns out they are yeast rolls.

I am not much of a baker. My dad is the family member who whips out challah, foccacia, Russian poppy-seed cakes, biales, and the perfect rolls for topping with leftover turkey. He has tried to pass along his dough wrangling skills. He bought me a cooking scale. He delivers bags of flour to my door. He lets me eat his bread whenever I go home. But, so far, the teaching hasn't stuck. Baking just scares me.

I finally decided to take the plunge and try to fill the void left beside my morning coffee. This ended up being a month long challenge. (And I think I gained the 5 pounds back I had lost. Someone had to eat the mistakes!)

My first challenge was finding a recipe for Le Gibassier in English. The second, finding one in English I could actually understand. The third, giving up on getting to the store to buy a bottle of orange blossom water. I used an orange instead. The fourth challenge, learning that pastry flour has no gluten. No gluten means the rolls will not rise. (Those were nice shortbread like cookies.) The fifth was discovering that yeast does expire.

Are mine like the Pearl Bakery's doughnut-like piece of heaven? No. Are mine orange scented, sweet and yeasty, and speckled with anise? You bet. Have I eaten 4 while writing this all down? Quite possibly.

This makes about 16 rolls.
Orange-Anise Sweet Rolls
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast

500 grams flour (not pastry flour)
200 grams white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon anise seeds
zest from one orange
juice from one orange
10 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon white sugar

1. Dissolve yeast in water. Set aside for a few minute until the yeast begins to bubble a bit.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add flour, sugar, salt, anise, and zest. Put the dough hook in the mixer and give it a stir to combine the ingredients.
3. With the machine on slow, pour in yeast and water. Then add orange juice. Lastly, add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time. Use a spatula to help push the dry flour into the path of the dough hook. If the dough doesn't come together into a ball after a minute or so, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it forms a moist ball.
4. Set aside to rise for about an hour. In all my attempts it never really doubled in size.
5. Turn out of bowl and knead gently 5-7 times until you form a ball. Use a cleaver to divide the dough in half. Then divide each half into fouths. Gently rolls this into oblong shapes and place on a cookie tray lined with a silpat.
6. Let the dough rise a second time for about an hour. Again, it doesn't rise much.
7. Bring oven up to 350 degrees.
8. Slice the top of each roll 3-4 times. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
9. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy with home brewed coffee.
And just think of all the money you are saving! :)

1 comment:

  1. Pastry flour, if it is made from wheat, does indeed contain gluten. However, it does have a lower protein content than all purpose wheat flour and so a lesser amount of gluten.