Orange & Anise Snowflake Bread

Orange and star anise Christmas snowflake bread (Gibassier) - Domestic GothessI can’t believe that Christmas is less than a month away already…November disappeared in the blink of an eye and now Christmas is nearly here and I don’t even know what we’re doing for it yet; I am feeling decidedly non-festive and more than a little Grinchy… So I decided to do a spot of festive baking in an attempt to make myself feel less unenthusiastic about the whole thing. I made these delicious orange and anise snowflake breads; and while I didn’t end up feeling any more festive (I think more mulled wine may be needed), they were incredibly tasty and satisfying and would be perfect as part of a Christmas breakfast or brunch.

Orange and anise snowflake bread, perfect for Christmas.I based them on Gibassier (or pompe à l’huile), which is a French sweet bread from the Provence region; it is similar to panettone and is enriched with olive oil and flavoured with anise, orange blossom water and candied peel. It is beautifully soft, light, buttery, fragrant and full of flavour; It makes a fantastic breakfast, especially around Christmas, and can be eaten as it is or smothered in butter. I got the idea for the snowflake shaping from here; it is easy to do and the result is an impressive festive loaf; it also makes for a great tear and share style bread.

orange anise snowflake breadAs with most breads it does take a while to make, mostly just waiting for the dough to rise; and as it is enriched with eggs, sugar, olive oil and butter the dough is very soft and sticky so if you have a stand mixer I advise using it, otherwise prepare for some very messy kneading! If you want to serve it for breakfast I would advise baking it the evening beforehand then storing it in an airtight container overnight and gently re-warming it in a low oven before serving; it wont be quite as soft as if it were freshly baked but is still delicious and you don’t have to wait around hungrily for it or start baking ridiculously early in the morning. It can also be frozen, pop it in the freezer as soon as it is cool then when you want to serve it, allow it to defrost then re-warm in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Orange and star anise festive snowflake bread (Gibassier) - Domestic Gothess

Orange & Anise Snowflake Bread

Servings 2 loaves
Author Domestic Gothess



  • 100 ml (1/3 cup + 1tbsp + 1tsp) full fat milk
  • 80 g (2/3 cup) strong white bread flour
  • 7 g (2 tsp) fast action yeast


  • 2 eggs
  • 50 ml (scant 1/4 cup) olive oil
  • finely grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water
  • 280 g (2 + 1/3 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 85 g (1/3 cup + 1tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) softened butter
  • 1 tsp ground star anise
  • 75 g (2.65 oz) candied peel
  • 1 egg beaten, to glaze
  • melted butter and caster sugar to finish


  1. To make the starter, heat the milk until it is lukewarm (not hot), mix together the flour and yeast in a large bowl (the bowl of your stand mixer if you have one), beat in the milk until smooth then cover and leave in a warm place for 30 mins - 1 hour until risen.
  2. To make the dough, beat the eggs, olive oil, orange zest and orange blossom water into the starter (use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook). Add the flour, sugar and salt and mix on low for 6 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Increase the speed to high and mix for 2 more minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the butter gradually while the mixer is on medium speed and mix until smooth. Finally add the star anise and candied peel. You can mix the dough by hand if you don't have a stand mixer but it is very sticky and messy and will need to be kneaded for at least 10 minutes until very smooth and elastic before mixing in the butter then the anise and peel.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Knock back the risen dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two equal pieces and shape each one into a ball. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Flatten each ball of dough into a disc about 1.5cm thick and place each one on one of the baking sheets. Cut the disc into six sections, leaving them connected at the center.
  5. Make a cut through the center of each section; don’t cut all the way through to the edge; it is best to use a straight, rigid piece of metal or plastic to press straight down through the dough, guillotine-style rather than dragging a knife through the dough. Pull the sections outward to separate and elongate them a little. Use your fingers to open out the slits and form a V-shape in the top of each section.
  6. Cover each loaf loosely with oiled clingfilm and set aside to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour until puffy, if you press the dough lightly with a fingertip it should feel light and spring back slowly, if it springs back quickly it needs to rise for a little longer. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
  7. Brush each loaf with a little beaten egg then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through (a skewer inserted should come out clean and the internal temperature should register 94C/200F), rotate the trays halfway through baking.
  8. Slide the loaves onto a wire rack and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar (or dust with icing sugar) while still warm.

Orange and star anise Christmas snowflake bread, based on Gibassier - Domestic GothessI’m sharing this with Foodie FriDIY, Saucy Saturdays hosted by The Flavour Bender, Take Two Tapas, La Petit Chef and Mid-Life Croissant,  Fabulous Foodie Fridays, Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Friday Favourites and Friday Features

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33 Comments on Orange & Anise Snowflake Bread

  1. Sammie
    November 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm (3 years ago)

    This is such a beautiful loaf. I am allergic to oranges so I cannot make it exactly the same as your recipe, but I’m sure I could substitute lemon? It’s too gorgeous a loaf for me not to try it. Thank you for sharing. Sammie.

    • hannahhossack
      November 26, 2015 at 1:45 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Sammie, lemon would work just as well and you can substitute the candied peel with whichever dried fruit you like 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      November 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Julie! It is actually really simple to shape, but so pretty!

  2. Hilda
    November 25, 2015 at 4:20 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing this. I have it bookmarked and will make it for my guests over the holidays.

    • hannahhossack
      November 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Hilda 🙂 I’m sure your guests will be very appreciative!

  3. Noelle
    November 26, 2015 at 4:40 pm (3 years ago)

    I was just planning my Christmas Baking. I have made many different types of Panettone, once using pumpkin puree. This year I was thinking of making something a little different for our breakfasts, and this really appeals. I have printed off your recipe, and will enjoy making this. I shall make it in advance and freeze it. Do you think that will be OK?

  4. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    November 27, 2015 at 9:16 am (3 years ago)

    It’s a little scary how quickly Christmas is approaching, I think this is a great recipe though to ease your way into it! Thanks for linking up with us for Fabulous Foodie Fridays 🙂

  5. Arl's World
    November 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! This looks amazing and sounds so good! Where do you find the time to make all these amazing recipes? Anything that looks like this would take me hours!! 🙂

  6. sally
    November 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm (3 years ago)

    Brilliant recipe and photography Hannah. I can’t wait to try some at Christmas!

    • hannahhossack
      December 2, 2015 at 10:07 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you! I’ll make some more and freeze it to bring with me! x

  7. Angela
    November 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to make this for Christmas. I will give a test run in the next week or so.

  8. tentimestea
    November 29, 2015 at 2:04 am (3 years ago)

    These sound and look so lovely, especially with the anise and orange blossom water. Candied peel immediately makes me think of Christmas and panettone and fruit cakes–I’m already feeling a bit festive just looking at these pretty breads! I’ll have to try making them over the holidays 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 2, 2015 at 10:03 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you! Yes, I only really eat candied peel around Christmas time too; these are a bit similar to panettone (but prettier!)

    • hannahhossack
      December 2, 2015 at 10:02 am (3 years ago)

      They look fantastic! So glad you enjoyed them 🙂

  9. Suchitra
    November 30, 2015 at 8:11 pm (3 years ago)

    This is such a pretty bread! Wish I could get my hands on it. I, however don’t see myself making it as I don’t have the patience for anything tedious! I would devour it in a heartbeat!

    • hannahhossack
      December 2, 2015 at 10:01 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you! It did get devoured in record time…

  10. Eb Gargano
    December 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm (3 years ago)

    These are absolutely gorgeous and I bet they taste amazing too! Eb x

    • hannahhossack
      December 2, 2015 at 10:00 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you! They do taste amazing, and very Christmassy!

  11. carolinescookingblog
    December 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Your bread looks so pretty and the flavors sound fantastic! I know what you mean, I can’t quite believe it’s December already and not sure how I am going to get all the pre-Christmas stuff done time’s going so fast! But a few delicious treats like this help 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:53 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Caroline 🙂 It is all happening too fast! Baked goods and mulled wine are the way to get through…

  12. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
    December 4, 2015 at 10:48 am (3 years ago)

    Wow, those two loaves look amazing! I’ve only ever shaped bread by plaiting it, but your images show that your snowflake design isn’t as complex as I imagined it may have been. Certainly one to try 🙂
    Angela x

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:50 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Angela 🙂 it is surprisingly simple to shape, but so pretty and Christmassy! x

  13. Honest Mum (@HonestMummy)
    December 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh wow, how beautiful are these?! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

  14. tamingtwins (@tamingtwins)
    December 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm (3 years ago)

    This looks absolutely beautiful, I was reading thinking “oh I wonder if I could make some and freeze for Christmas Eve..” then saw you said I could, hurrah! The snowflake shapes look so stunning too. This would be perfect for linking with #FestiveFoodFriday on my blog if you fancy popping over! 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:46 pm (3 years ago)

      Haha! I’ve got some in the freezer myself 🙂 Thanks Sarah

  15. Linda
    December 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm (3 years ago)

    Looks absolutely delicious – and perfect for the upcoming holidays! 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you!

  16. Charlotte Oates
    December 5, 2015 at 6:13 pm (3 years ago)

    These are just so pretty. I always find enriched dough so soft that I can’t get it into any kind of attractive shape. I’ll just have to keep practicing!

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:42 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Charlotte 🙂 it can be awkward to work with but this one is quite easy to shape as you are just slicing it rather than trying to mould it.


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