Bernard Michael Tostanowski III

Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

Gibassier (Pompe à Huile)

In Breads on September 28, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Gibassier Dough Ready to Bake

Although Christmas is still three months away, I couldn’t help but start to think of what I was going to make for the holiday season. Aside from traditionally making cookies I wanted to make something special that very few people outside of France have ever tried before. Gibassier originates from Lourmarin, France and is a soft enriched bread flavored with anise seed, orange blossom water and olive oil (traditional Provençal flavors). And, in France this bread is one of the Thirteen Desserts of Christmas in Provence (Les Treize Desserts de Noël).

I’ve seen quite a few variations of this bread ranging from a cookie or biscuit type, a very soft enriched type to a chewier version similar to challah. My favorite and the recipe below is of the soft, fluffy flavorful one. One thing that you need to keep in mind is the use of Orange Blossom Water. This very fragrant water can easily over-power the bread and make it inedible. Please be very careful when scaling this ingredient. If you have an aversion to the stuff and wanted to make a more grown-up, less traditional version you could easily substitute some high quality Grand Marnier or Cointreau and increase the orange zest by fifty percent.

Le Gibassier de Lourmarin

The Preferment:

  • 145 grams Bread Flour
  • 75 grams Whole Milk
  • 25 grams Whole Egg
  • 0.25 grams Instant Yeast
  1. Combine the above ingredients into a smooth, homogeneous mixture without developing too much gluten.
  2. Place into an oiled container and turn over to slightly coat the top with oil to minimize a crust from forming.
  3. Cover tightly but allow room in the container for growth of 100%. Leave at room temperature overnight.

Final Dough

  • 536 grams Bread Flour
  • 175 grams Whole Egg
  • 134 grams Granulated Sugar
  • 10 grams Table Salt
  • 26 grams Instant Yeast
  • 100 grams Butter
  • 88 grams Olive Oil
  • 25 grams Orange Blossom Water
  • 50 grams Water
  • 8 grams Anise Seed
  • 100 grams Candied Orange Peel
  • 50 grams Orange Zest
  • 245 grams Preferment (See Above)
  1. Pour liquids, then preferment into a mixer. Add dry ingredients except candied fruit and anise seed. Incorporate all slowly for about 4 minutes, mix for 2 minutes more briskly, then slowly add softened butter.
  2. When a nice dough window can be formed, add the candied fruit, orange zest and anise seed. Place rounded dough into oiled bowl, cover so no crust forms, and ferment for 1.5-2 hours.
  3. Scale into 100g increments, bench rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Shape into desired shape and press flat. Cut appropriate design into them, place on parchment-lined pan and proof for approximately 1.5 hours. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Brush with melted butter and toss in granulated sugar, let cool, and enjoy!


Pâte Feuilletée Inversée (Inverse Puff Pastry)

In Breads, Puff Pastry, Techniques on August 24, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Inverted Paton

It’s time to tackle one of the most versatile pastry doughs in a bakeshop: Puff Pastry, better known to some of you Francophiles as Pâte Feuilletée. But this one’s a little special because it’s going to be ‘inside-out’ [PâteFeuilletée Inversée (Inverse Puff Pastry)].

If you aren’t familiar with puff pastry, it’s very simple to explain. The pastry consists of two separate parts, the dough portion called the ‘détrempe’ and the butter portion called the ‘beurre manié.’ Traditionally the dough portion is completely wrapped around the butter portion, folded numerous times, rolled out and baked as desired. In this inverse method the beurre manié will be on the outside, switching places with the dough. Sounds silly to put the butter on the outside because it will start to melt and cause a huge mess, right? Well, not entirely.  Inverse Puff Pastry actually yields better results than classic Puff Pastry, but first: a lesson in lamination.


Lamination is the processes of creating multiple layers in a dough to achieve a flaky, layered pastry. Laminating butter and dough to create a paton of puff pastry creates hundreds of layers, which are responsible for puff pastry’s classic “puff.”  Butter is only about 85% fat – the remaining 15% is water, which vaporizes to cause steam and raise the layers above it.  The same goes for the water in the détrempe (30%+); the dough begins to bake and releases steam acting just like the butter portion. This type of physical leavening is very efficient and very strong. Chances are if you’ve ever eaten a true croissant, danish or those… ahem… Pillsbury Pull-Apart Rolls, you have also eaten another type of laminated dough.

Puff, the Magic Pastry:

The Détrempe
  • 400 grams Water
  • 500 grams Bread Flour
  • 250 grams Pastry Flour
  • 100 grams Melted Butter
  • 25 grams Salt

The Beurre Manié:

  • 800 grams Butter, Unsalted
  • 100 grams Pastry Flour
  1. Détrempe: Combine all ingredients for the détrempe in a mixer with a dough hook attachment for 4-5 minutes on low speed. Gluten formation is not necessary. This dough just needs to be smooth and homogenous.
  2. Beurre Manié: The butter needs to be very cold and pliable before mixing. Hammering the butter with a rolling pin usually does the trick. When pliable, move to a mixer with a paddle attachment, add the flour, and mix on low speed until homogenous.  Low speed is critical: higher speeds will incorporate air, and mixer friction will begin to warm the dough.  Remember to keep the beurre manié very cold. If you need to, chill the bowl and paddle in the freezer before mixing.
  3. Flatten each portion into a square and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 15 minutes.

Détrempe & Beurre Manié

Folding & Turning:

When the two doughs have rested, remove both from the fridge and flatten the butter block in a 1 cm thick disk. Place the détrempe in the center and fold the arcs of the butter disk over the détrempe, sealing it fully. Start flattening this square by banging all over its surface with your fist or rolling pin. Then, using the rolling pin and starting from the center, roll gently towards the borders to form a rectangle three times as long as it is wide. Give it a double turn (fold in four, each side folded to the middle then the whole thing folded like a book… if you need more explanations let me know, but there are lots of illustrations on the web). Turn the rectangle so the fold is on your left, press down gently and wrap in film. Place for one hour in fridge.

After the hour has passed, flatten the dough again with your fist or rolling pin, then roll gently (again) into a rectangle that is three times as long as it is wide. Give it a double turn, flatten slightly, wrap and store in fridge for at least one hour (dough can stay overnight or for up to two days in fridge at this point).  The last turn is a “simple” turn, and is given shortly before you use the dough.  Again roll the dough into a long rectangle, and this time fold it in three, like a letter. Wrap and let it rest for half an hour in the fridge.

Repeat with another four-fold and refrigerate or freeze until use. After all of the folds have been completed you will have attained a beautiful dough with over 700 layers.

Pâte Feuilletée Inversée (Inverse Puff Pastry)


Puff pastry is extremely versatile and can be used in both savory and sweet applications. I made palmiers from this batch, but a simple Google search will get your mind jogging with alternative possibilities.


Sesame Semolina Sourdough

In Breads on August 4, 2009 at 3:27 PM


After reading my post about the sour culture I bought for one dollar from Carl’s, I hope I got you excited for the final result. Since I don’t own any bannetones or bread baskets, I wasn’t able to create any unique intriguing shapes or designs so I decided to add a little aesthetic appeal by garnishing one of the loaves with black sesame seeds found at my local Whole Foods Market. The other is just dusted in bread flour. I decided to use semolina flour because I love the nutty flavor and unique texture it imparts. The recipe uses both semolina and durum flours which can easily be found at Whole Foods or near the Organic aisle of your local mega-mart.

For the shaping and retarding, I rounded one of the loaves and placed it seam side up in a large pyrex bowl lined with a napkin heavily dusted with bread flour. Secondly, I did the same with the oblong loaf but did so with untoasted black sesame seeds and shaped it oblong after removing from the bowl. The sourdough was proofed very slowly in the refrigerator for twenty hours to develop a deep sour flavor and a beautifully even crumb structure.

About forty-five minutes before baking, I preheated my oven to its maximum 500˚F and placed a large baking stone on the second rack up from the bottom. Exactly thirty minutes before baking, I carefully flipped over each bowl and unmolded the loaves onto an oven peel coated in semolina flour. This tempering of the loaves allows the dough to relax a bit before going into such an extreme environment (the 500˚oven) which will minimize the risk of bursting and will allow for greater oven spring.

Just before baking, the bread gets scored. I would recommend choosing simple designs for scoring this bread because the dough was very wet and It would be very hard to cut intricate designs without tearing.

NOTE: The following formula is in grams. All of my formulas are scaled in weight for better accuracy. Volume measuring is very inacurate especially when measuring flours. I am very sorry if this inconveniences any of you but I will not let you make an inadequate bread 8). You can find a very cheap, very reliable scale from Escali. I do not get paid to endorse them…hehehe (although I wish I would) but trust me. They are a great company with a great guarantee and are very reliable and long lasting.

Sesame Semolina Sourdough

  • 387 grams Bread Flour
  • 129 grams Semolina Flour
  • 129 grams Durum Flour
  • 269 grams Semolina Sour Culture
  • 18 grams Table Salt
  • 3 grams Malt Syrup
  • 425 grams Water

If you are a fan of baker’s percentage, email me and I would be happy to send it to you!

  1. Feed Semolina Sour 18 hours in advance.
  2. Mix autolyse method: Combine all ingredients except for salt and mix with dough hook on low speed for 3 minutes or until homogenous. Leave dough in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover the dough and add the salt. Mix again on slow speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from bowl and placed into a well oiled glass or plastic bowl that will allow the dough to comfortable double in size. Cover once again for 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover dough and place onto well floured surface. Gently fold the dough over itself similar to a three fold with laminated doughs. Do not over-agitate the dough. Cover the dough again for 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover the dough and fold once again. This time cover the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal pieces on a lightly floured surface. Each piece should weigh roughly 681 grams or 1.5 pounds.
  8. Shape round a place seam side up in bowls, baskets, or bannetones that are generously floured or coated in sesame seeds.
  9. Cover loosely and leave at room temperature for one hour. Place in cooler and allow the dough to retard for 20 hours.
  10. Remove from the fridge and alow to sit at room temperature for at least thirty minutes.
  11. For the Home Baker: Preheat your oven in advance to 500˚F for at least 30 minutes with your baking stone on the second rack up from the bottom. Load dough onto floured peel and place in oven. Immediatley close the door and drop temperature to 450˚F and bake 35-40 minutes.
  12. For the Professional Baker: Preheat deck oven top and bottom to 450˚F. Do not steam. Bake 35-40 minutes.
  13. To test for doneness, carefully remove a loaf from the oven with a clean, double layer towel and flip upside down. Knock on the bottom. The bread should sound hollow and the crust should be very crispy.

WARNING: Sesame seeds will pop and potentially fly off of the loaf when baking or removed from the oven. Use extreme caution.

As I mentioned before mixing the dough using the autolyse method creates a very deep sour flavor and beautiful consistent crumb structure. Also notice the even, beautiful crust on both the top and bottom of the slice. It is very difficult to get a deep crust on the bottom if your baking stone is not preheated to the oven temperature.

Sour Culture, Circa 1847 Oregon Trail

In Breads on August 4, 2009 at 2:00 PM

How cool is this? I saw a post on this sourdough a few weeks ago and immediately decided I wanted to try it. I sent one dollar, along with my address, and promptly got back what you see in the picture. And that’s dried sourdough starter, from Oregon. It was first started by a man named Carl Griffith, in 1847. Friends of his and descendants are still caring for this tender little sourdough today. Some people volunteer to share the joy, and send out dried pieces of starter all over the world.

While I love culturing my own sour starter and experimenting with different ratios of wheat, rye and semolina flours but I found this to be a fun experiment. I love the idea of caring for a little jar of bubbling goo that if not fed and taken care of properly can die, strikingly similar to human babies. Just imagine… a sourdough culture dating back over 160 years!

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