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Taralli (Crisp Italian Fennel Pretzels)

The first time I had these I was ravenous and just off the train from somewhere. There was a little stall in Termini, the train station in Rome, with regional treats and these were right up my alley - savory and studded with fennel seeds. I have since picked these up whenever I see them in different Italian markets; I found some in Cambria and in Berkeley. Tonight I was craving something fresh-baked and decided to try my culinary hand at making them.

There seems to be differing ways of making them, some with yeast, some with baking soda. Some recipes require you to boil them before you bake, others skip that step. I opted for the yeast version and went straight to the oven.

2 t active dry yeast
1/2 C warm water
2 T red wine
2 C white whole wheat flour
freshly ground sea salt and flower pepper
dried oregano
fennel seeds
1/2 C olive oil

Dissolve yeast in water. Sift flour, salt, pepper into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add yeast, wine, oil, dried oregano, and fennel seeds. Blend together and gradually incorporate into flour into a stiff dough. Knead till the dough becomes elastic. Oil the bowl, turn to coat, cover with towel and let rise until doubled in bulk (approximately 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 400º. Break off small pieces of dough and roll into ropes about 4 inches long. Form a ring and pinch edges together. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until medium brown and crisp (approximately 25 minutes).

Serve with pieces of cheese and a glass of red wine.



  1. This looks really good but I think I'll stick with normal bread for a while. I've only made bread 3 or 4 times and it turned out once. I think it was over-kneaded. Today I am trying artisan bread, and I have strong feelings it will turn out. :D

  2. How funny that both thumbnails I clicked on at A Little Birdie... were yours! Ha! I love Taralli Pugliesi...find myself addicted when I made them, actually. You have me craving them- they look wonderful.

  3. Funny, Heather. I feel the same way about your posts!

  4. Mmmm...they sound delicious Camilla, and I always enjoy reading about your travels.

    I'm not surprised to see (above) how well you and Heather jive -- you're two of my favorite culinary inspirations!


  5. Thanks, Jenn. Yes, I think Heather and I are definitely kindred kitchen spirits. So glad I met her through your linky party!


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