Have you tried Taralli yet? (BBB December 2010)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Taralli; information about Bread Baking Babes; submission for YeastSpotting; link to Advent Calendar; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) December 2010

taralli (bbb) Yay!!!

I was so happy that December’s bread was not specifically “Christmas” bread. I was terrified that it was going to be Panettone. (I know the Babes are crazy enough to suggest making it.)

So I couldn’t have been happier to be making these. I LOVE savoury bread!!

Of course, these are more like bread sticks than bread. And they ARE delicious!

The other great thing about taralli is that they are not remotely like Panettone in terms of the labour required. They can be baked the same day as they are made (in fact, not long after they’ve been mixed).

The only difficulty I had was to know just how much water to add. I might have erred on the overly wet side. The dough I ended up with wasn’t exactly stiff. (There is a recipe for Taralli in Maggie Glezer’s “Artisan Bread Across America” and she describes the dough as being incredibly stiff) Hmmm, the dough I ended up with could hardly be described as incredibly stiff. It was more like a firmish pizza dough.

The recipe we followed suggested using eggs OR white wine. I really liked the idea of using white wine rather than the eggs. (I wonder if this made the taralli crispier?)

Also, the recipe called for 12.5 gm fresh yeast. Ah, the yeast equivalent: yet another one of my pet peeves… but don’t let me go on about that again; I’ve ranted about yeast equivalents quite enough already.

Using my ridiculous calculator that takes into account the various formulae I came across in my books and on the internet, the amount of active dry yeast is anywhere between 2 and 8.13gms.

Because there is no sugar in the dough to stall the yeast, I decided to go with Carol Field’s formula and use 5 gm active dry yeast in this recipe.

2+1/2 tsp (one package 8gm) active dry yeast = 18 gm cake fresh yeast

-Carol Field, “The Italian Baker”

So into the kitchen I skipped to get started. I happily mixed flour, olive oil and wine, then added the rehydrated yeast, then sloshed in extra water (oops!! did I add too much???) and happily kneaded the dough until it was smooth.

Only then did I notice that I was supposed to shape the taralli right away and bake them in about 30 minutes.

Oh oh. T needed the kitchen. And there I was using up ALL the counter space. And then some.

I begged for 15 minutes reprieve and frantically rolled out rope after rope. The dough kept springing back on itself. It seemed to take forever.

But of course, it didn’t. The rings were made in no time. I covered them, cleared the counters and raked the kitchen to make space for T.

He, of course, was completely calm and efficient and was finished preparations for that night’s dinner just in time for me to start parboiling the taralli.

Yes!!! Taralli are parboiled like bagels before being baked.

I LOVE the way they sink like stones in the simmering water then suddenly pop up to the top. My bagels have NEVER done this.

Haha! I want to make taralli all the time now, just to see them pop up to the top of the water!

And into the oven they went. Wow!! How quick and easy was that?

taralli (bbb) And how do they taste? Mmmmm!!! They could use a little more salt maybe but they’re lovely. I can certainly see why Ilva and her family are addicted to them.

Who says that taralli aren’t Christmas bread? :hohoho: :-) :hohoho: They will be fabulous with predinner drinks and various pates on Christmas Eve! (If we don’t finish them first… I’d better put them in the freezer right away!)

Of course, I know that you will want to make taralli too! Here’s the recipe we were to have followed.

And here is what I did to it:

based on ‘Taralli Pugliesi’ in “Le ricette regionali italiane” by Anna Maria Gostti Della Salda

makes two cookie trays

  • ¾ tsp (~2.5 gm) active dry yeast
  • 60 gm (~¼ c) lukewarm water
  • 60 gm (~¼ c) white wine ¹
  • 100 gm (~7 Tbsp) olive oil
  • ~125 gm (~½ c) additional lukewarm water, more or less ²
  • 400 gm (~3¼ c) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 100 gm (~¾ c) atta (durum flour), (use whole wheat flour if you don’t have atta)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt³
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, optional 4
  1. Mixing Pour lukewarm water into a small bowl; add yeast and whisk well. Set aside.
  2. In a largish bowl, stir flours and salt together. Add wine, oil and yeast mixture and using a wooden spoon stir it together. Gradually add more water until the flour is encorporated and the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. The dough should be on the stiff side.
  3. Kneading Dump the rough dough on a board. Knead the dough by hand 5 to 10 minutes til it is smooth. Use your dough scraper to keep the board clean. Because of the oil content, you shouldn’t have to add extra flour. If you are adding the fennel seeds, knead them in during the last minute or so of kneading.
  4. Shaping: Roll the dough into pencil sized ropes that are about 4 inches (~10cm) long. Loop each rope and press to seal the join. Lay the rings on parchment papered cookie trays.
  5. Proofing: Cover the trays with a damp tea towel and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. (Yes, really. It’s that short a time. You’re not really looking for much change in size.)
  6. Turn the oven to 400F
  7. Par-boiling: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to a smiling simmer. Drop the rings into the pot. They will sink like stones to the bottom. And suddenly a minute or so later, they will pop up to the top. Use a slotted spoon to remove the floating rings back to the parchment papered cookie sheets.
  8. Baking Put the trays on the top shelf of the oven to bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the taralli are crisp and golden brown. Turn the trays half way through the baking to account for uneven oven heat.
  9. When the taralli are done, remove to cool onto a footed rack. Wait until they are completely cool (they are still baking when hot out of the oven).

Before storing, check that the taralli are crisp. Ilva says they should NOT be soft in the middle. Store the taralli in an air tight container or freeze them until time to serve.


1.) White Wine: The recipe calls for using either white wine or an egg. We chose to use inexpensive Argentinian FuZion chenin/chardonnay.

2.) Water Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated. Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Heat the water in a kettle or microwave and add cold water until it is the correct temperature, (use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – your fingers have no idea of temperature!) Or you can use a thermometer. The temperature should be BELOW 120F because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

Natashya chose to use more white wine instead of additional water. Next time this is what I plan to do as well. I like the idea of the slight acidity the wine will add to the dough.

3.) Kosher Salt The recipe simply called for salt. I used kosher salt and forgot that because it is coarser grind than table salt, I should have added extra. According to Gourmet Sleuth, I should have added 3 gm. (This is another reason that I’m starting to prefer measurements by weight rather than volume.)

4.) Fennel Seeds I used half the amount of fennel seeds in half the dough. I still haven’t decided if I will always do this or if I’ll add fennel seeds to all of the dough.

This is a red letter day!!! I actually managed to make the December bread two days before the BBB deadline AND here I am posting on time! Before midnight even!

Bread Baking Babes
Bread Baking Babes: Taralli Pugliesi

Ilva (Lucullian Delights) is the host of the December 2010’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

I am proposing an Apulian bread that me and my family are crazy about especially when made with peperoncino! Taralli is what we are going to bake in December and I hope you will like them as much as I do. […] [T]his recipe calls for fennel seeds but do try the peperoncino version where you add peperoncino/chili oil to the dough.

Rats!! I completely forgot about using peperoncino! Now I HAVE to make Taralli again!

If you’d like to bake along (of course you do!!) and receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site, bake the taralli and post about them before the 29 December 2010.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBB, please read:

Please take a look at the other Babes’ results:


The BBBabes’ anniversary is coming up in February and we’d like YOU to pick the Anniversary Bread recipe for February 2011.

  • What’s your favorite bread?
  • What bread haven’t you ever been able to get to turn out the way you want?
  • What bread scares you the most?
  • What’s the bread recipe you’ve baked the most?
  • What bread do you dream about baking?
  • What bread do you..?

Scour your bread-baking cookbooks, recipe boxes and bread-baking sites to make your choice. We’re asking you to submit pick the BBB bread we’ll bake for that month.

Please send your recipe suggestions to Tanna – only one per person please

  • send to comments my kitchen at mac dot com (you know to leave out spaces and about the dot :lalala:) with the subject heading February Anniversary Bread by December 29, 2010


Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:


Please remember to look at my annual Advent calendar (don’t even THINK about peeking ahead).


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9 responses to “Have you tried Taralli yet? (BBB December 2010)

  1. Baking Soda

    I had the same, a lovely soft dough to work with… soft? It’s not supposed to be soft.. and that was after I left it to rise and went on to fix dinner. Gah. I need reading skills in my christmas stocking.

    Anyway.. they are so easy to make so I’ll try again. I’m jealous of yours!

  2. Lien

    Wonderful golden brown Taralli! I bet you’re secretly happy that you didn’t remember to try the peperoncino-version. I forsee taralli in your future again hehehe. Merry Christmas to you!

  3. Michelle

    I agree with more salt as well. I also let my dough sit for WAY TOO LONG. This error on my part made the dough incredibly resilient and was nearly impossible to roll out. Opps! The final product suffered a bit but oh well! I love the shape of your little nibbles! Nice work!

  4. ejm Post author

    Yes, I’ll definitely try making them with peperoncino, Ilva. Thank you again for introducing us to this lovely recipe.

    I do know what you mean but no, really, Karen, really; I’m CERTAIN that reading skills are vastly over-rated. ;-)

    Thank you, Susan. We love the fennel version too. But I know that I’m going to be hard pressed to choose between the fennel version and the peperoncino version.

    Elle, they’re so easy to make that it made being on time a little easier. (I would never have made the deadline if they had required proofing.)

    What a good idea to sprinkle with sea salt just after taking them out of the oven, Katie! I wonder if sprinkling them with coarse salt just after parboiling would work too. I must try that next time.

    Natashya, they really do need more salt, don’t they. (Although, the lower salt versions I made are starting to really grow on me.)

    You’re right, Lien. It will be fun to try the peperoncino ones soon. Maybe if I’m clever and we don’t hog too quickly, we’ll be able to do a taste test of all three: plain, fennel and peperoncino. (I froze most of the taralli I made on 16th to bring out on Christmas Eve)

    Ooooh!! THAT’S why I had so much difficulty rolling the dough, Michelle! Talk about springy!! I must have let the dough sit too long too.

    :hohoho: Merry Christmas to all! :hohoho:


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