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

Orange and Anise Snowflake Bread

Soft, sweet, light and buttery orange and anise flavoured breads (Gibassier), shaped like snowflakes. Perfect for Christmas and the festive season.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine French
Keyword bread
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising Time 4 hours
Servings 2 loaves
Author Domestic Gothess



  • 100 ml (⅓ cup + 1tbsp + 1tsp) full fat milk
  • 80 g (⅔ cup) strong white bread flour
  • 7 g (2 tsp) fast action yeast


  • 2 eggs
  • 50 ml (scant ¼ cup) olive oil
  • finely grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water
  • 280 g (2 + ⅓ cups) strong white bread flour
  • 85 g (⅓ cup + 1tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 g (¼ 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.