American Cheese: The New-Old World
Wireless Edamame: Masu's Futuristic Sushi

Dough Poetry: Pearl Bakery's Gibassier

If a single madeleineCatherines_blog_657 drove Marcel Proust's senses to their heights, penning three volumes spanning forty years of memoir, what could a single gibassier do for the future of literature? Take note you coffee shop Dostoyevsky's--if wheat is the staff of life, a gibassier is the fodder of masterpieces.

Seattle boasts some fine bakeries with real standouts: a warm apple gallette from Besalu in Ballard has me hearing a romantic accordian on the Rue Mouffetard bouncing off the rooftops of Paris; an apricot, ginger, pecan scone & silk-bagged Ceylon from Bella Dolce on a misty morning in the Madison Valley brings me to the rugged cliffs of the Beara Peninsula; fresh rosemary-oiled foccacia cut by-the-foot from the back of La Panzanella's truck at the University Farmer's Market marches me straight back to the hill-top towns of Tuscany where I swore I could consist on white-truffled pecorino & bread alone, no matter how sweaty & stale, hoisted from my traveler's backpack.

But a chord was struck this bright Monday morning at the Pearl Bakery after our minds were over-saturated with turning pages amongst the Minotaur's maze of stacks at Powell's Books & our stomach's needed prelude to a late-afternoon lunch reservation at Masu sushi. Our friends gave us a laundry list of requests to bring back from the bakery, & had our stomach's not felt so full from a week of gustatory celebration I now think that even the ice trays in our freezer would be replaced with gibassier's.   

Orange peel, anise seeds, olive oil & orange blossom water form a magical composition, dusted liberally with baker's sugar that leave you licking each fingertip between bites to prolong the experience. Half sweet-bread/half pastry it was the perfect combination of savory delight that makes your mind readjust to every flavor, even after a life-long disdain for bobka, the citrusy Polish bread of my youth. Named after the summit Le Gibas in the mountains of Luberon, this piece of Provence indeed transcends heights, or at least my European wanderlust. Pastry heaven is to be found right here in our sweet little corner of the world, no passport required. If only I could click my emerald heels & be in the city of roses for breakfast tomorrow!

***A very special thanks goes out to Jose behind the counter who was kind enough to lend us his cell phone to retrieve our friend's shopping list after our phone conked out. Good luck to you in Chicago, a wish for great success with your art, & we'll hope to meet up again!

Note: Rereading this blog two years later, I have to say I'm pretty proud of it, but the crowning glory is that this summer Lynn of Sweet Things Emporium actually wrote in with a recipe for gibassier... Sunday mornings may never be the same!

Pearl Bakery

102 NW 9th Avenue (Portland, OR) 503.827.0910


Ms. G

Fortified by your gift of one Pearl Bakery gibassier the day we left you, and later a cup of coffee from Peets around the corner and up a block or two from the Pearl, we tried to replicate your experience. But alas, those pastries were sold out.
On our return we'll try to hit the morning "fresh out of the oven" supply and return your sacrificial compliment to us.
Nonetheless, the pastries we did get, that morning were definitely not on our diet.
Missing you (plural) Connie

Ms. G

Ma cherie:
If you get much more lit/literati we'll have to send for the polizei de gourmandy to arrest your lingual asides and libidinous disertations... OMG ou Mon Dieu mais tu as le language excellante pour les haute cuisine.
Cherish exuberance - a soupcon is as good as a cup.

Love Ms G


Hello, I found this page through Google while trying to look up the recipe for the gibassiers at the Pearl Bakery - because they are the most wonderful pastry on the planet. I so concur. If you find the recipe, please share! I may die without them here in Seattle...

Hint - if they're out, Powell's often has them!

Marcia Durgin

I also need this recipe! Please help.

Lynn/Sweet Things Emporium

I am attending culinary school at Notter School of Pastry Arts in Orlando and we recently made an adaptation of the infamous Ciril Hitz recipe for the splendid gibassier. Here is our version:
Preferment: Bread flour 145g, Milk 75g, Egg 25g, Instant Yeast .25g - combine, cover and ferment at room temp overnight.
Formula: Bread flour 536g, Egg 175g, Granulated sugar 134g, Salt 10g, Instant Yeast 26g, Butter 100g, Olive Oil 88g, Orange Blossom Water (or oil) 33g (or 10g), Water 50g (73g if w/orange oil), Anise Seed 8 g, Candied Orange Peel 97g, Preferment 245g.
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. When a nice dough window can be formed, add the dried fruit and anise seed. Place rounded dough into oiled bowl, cover so no crust forms, and ferment for 1.5-2 hours. Scale into 100g increments, bench rest for 20 minutes. Shape into torpedoes 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, consume with glee!!

Dennis Nick

I returned to Chicago from a visit to Portland two weeks ago. While there, my partner and I happened across the Pearl Bakery on a chilly damp morning. I had a cup of coffee and a gibassier (of which I had never heard of). I have been dreaming of them ever since. We returned the next two mornings to repeat the experience and also brought some back with us, even though they were gone before we landed. These are the most exquisite bread/pastry I have ever had.


Ah, I just had one on my way home to the East Side from downtown. They are still just as good.


Also available at Bit of Swiss Bakery Stevensville, Michigan (Southwest Michigan)
Fantastic bakery! After I tried there Gibassier I went to Borders and spent an evening searching for recipes. I'm so old school I forgot about the internet. Success.
As soon as I find orange water I will start baking.


Goldilocks Bakery

That dough' looks so delicious! Wish I can also taste it. Anyway, thanks for sharing this post. Keep posting!



I attended a workshop with Ciril Hitz in 2007. He very kindly and generously shared his recipes with everyone there. The only "adaptation" made by Lynn's Orlando pastry school to Hitz' recipe is that they scaled it down to one-quarter of the original. And made a math error. The instant yeast in the gibassier itself, not the preferment, is double what it should be. And for information, Hitz scales his gibassier at 120 grams each, not 100. So the recipe as posted would yield one dozen.


those gibassier are heavenly. i was in portland last summer and have been dreaming of them ever since. my first attempt at mr. hirtz's recipe was not even close to the delectable treats at pearl. mine were heavy, but i tried to let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. was that the problem??

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We planted the bush 2 summers ago,and this is the first spring I've noticed it growing. I'm going out this morning to cut a bunch. Looking forward to tasting fresh warm Oregano Bread.....thank you!

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God i love the spain cuisine, they have any kind of good healthy food, i'm specially delighted with they paella and all kinds of seafood dishes!!


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