Taralli pugliesi

Taralli pugliesi

How to Cook Bread
Peter Cassidy

These are a favourite snack throughout Southern Italy. They are shaped and cooked a little like bagels, but with a much more rustic and free-form shape. They make a lovely accompaniment to a meal. The ‘00’ flour used here (though more commonly in pasta) is high in gluten, but is milled much more finely than strong white bread flour, so it gives a finer texture.


Quantity Ingredient
250g ‘00’ flour, plus extra to dust
1/2 teaspoon salt
3g fast-action dried yeast
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
100ml white wine
65ml olive oil
a little tepid water, to mix (optional)


  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast.
  2. In a small, dry frying pan, lightly toast the fennel seeds over a low heat for 2 minutes until fragrant, then remove from the pan and gently bruise with a rolling pin or pestle and mortar, without crushing them.
  3. Add the toasted fennel seeds to the flour and pour in the wine and oil. Mix to a soft but not sticky dough; it should be a little firmer than a normal bread dough, but you may still need to add a few tbsp of tepid water.
  4. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise for 45–60 minutes, or until increased in size by at least a third.
  5. Heat the oven to 200°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Fill a medium pan two thirds full with water and bring to the boil. Place a clean, dry tea towel on a tray next to the pan.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 8–10 equal portions. Roll each into a baton, about 15cm long. Loop each one into a ring with the ends slightly overlapping, then press your thumb firmly on the overlapping edge to seal.
  7. Lower 2 taralli into the boiling water at a time. Wait for them to almost come to the surface, then remove to the tea towel to dry, using a slotted spoon, and repeat with the rest.
  8. Once all the taralli are poached, place on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool before serving.
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