Thursday, December 16, 2010

Italian Snacks for December Babes

Welcome to the December Bread Baking Babes challenge as baked by Elle. The babes are lucky this month. Ilva of Lucullian Delights, our kitchen on the month, has challenged us to replicate a delicious Italian snack, the Taralli Pugliesi. The savory little ovals are boiled and then baked like bagels and taste a bit like bagels and a bit like pretzels and a bit like breadsticks. I warn you, they are addictive, especially if you pair them with a glass of wine and, in my case, a handsome husband who was willing to let me eat the last one!

These are really simple to make. I’m going to make them again for Christmas Day nibbling, probably with some added black pepper and some Parmesan cheese. They would probably also be good with some herbs added or a bit of dried lavender and some sweet wine. I used a combination of egg and white wine when I made them which worked well. I did find that I had to bake them longer and at a higher temperature once I found out that even 30 minutes at 200 degrees F wasn’t sufficient. Then I looked at the recipe and saw that I was supposed to use 390 degrees F! No wonder they didn’t brown at the lower temperature. Another 15 minutes at 400 degrees F did the trick.

Taralli Pugliesi
adapted from Anna Marie Gostti Della Salda’s monumental food bible Le ricette regionali italiane.

tepid water
12.5 g /.45 oz fresh yeast (I used a packet of rapid rise dry yeast and it seemed to be fine)200 g / 7 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
¼ cup dry white wine
1 kg/ 2.2 lb flour (I used all-purpose and it was fine)
1 tsp salt

Dissolve the yeast in 2 tablespoons of tepid water.

Whisk together the olive oil, egg, and dry white wine.

In a bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add the liquid. Start working the dough (I stirred with a wooden spoon) and add small amounts of tepid water until you have a firm but pliable dough. (I turned the dough out onto a lightly floured board and kneaded it once the dough came together in the bowl.)

Start rolling 10 – 12 cm long ropes that are as thick as your little finger and pinch the ends together to make an oval. Put the taralli on a parchment paper. Cover with a towel and leave them to rest about 20 minutes.

Turn on the oven to 200 degrees C / 390 degrees F.

While the taralli are resting, bring water to a boil in a large pot.

Once taralli have rested 20 minutes or so, drop 3 - 4 into simmering water. When they surface, scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon and let dry on a kitchen towel or a rack.

Once all of the taralli have been boiled and dried, put them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Try them to see if they are baked. They should be golden brown and crusty and not soft in the middle.

Cool on a rack, pile into a bowl or basket and enjoy.

This wonderful little bread is going to Susan of Wild Yeast's wonderful weekly Yeastspotting event. If you want to find the perfect yeasted bread to bake or to get ideas of recipes using yeasted breads, do check out has great archives, too!

Speaking of inspiration, do use the links at right to visit the other Babes to see their renditions of these cute snacks. Some used the fennel that was optional...I'm afraid I'm not a big fennel fan except in sausages. Lots of cute taralli out there!

Last, but NOT least, for the Babes THIRD anniversary in February we will be baking a bread suggested by a reader. Dear reader, this means you. Just send me an e-mail at elle (dot)lachman (at)gmail (dot)com and, if at all possible, include the recipe in the body of the e-mail or as an attachment. The bread YOU suggest might be our Anniversary recipe!!


  1. Wonderful Taralli, love the way how smooth they look. With cheese.... yes great idea!

  2. These look lovely! Interesting that you used egg AND white wine, Elle.

  3. I used fennel in all of them but I'm not so sure if I like it. I do like fennel in bread but in this one.. not sure. Maybe I have to sample a couple more hehe.

    I love the way yours look Elle, much better than mine.

  4. Those look just perfect!

  5. Your'l loos so perfect - and perfectly delicious!

  6. Beautiful! I love the photo at the end with them all tumbling out. ☺

  7. I'm late, I'm late but I love your taralli anytime!