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Friday, December 31, 2010

Baking Taralli Pugliesi ...and a happy New Year!

I have a penchant for doing things backwards.  A quality I prefer to believe is endearing.  For example, when I dreamed of the glory that becoming a Bread Baking Buddy would bring me...and subsequently found out that I still had time to jump in on a December challenge...and to top it all off, realized that the challenge consisted of Italian bread...I dove in head first.  Have I ever mentioned that I was born to be Italian?  Of course I have.  Tuscany, take me away....  So, I made bedroom eyes with the photo and recipe...broke out my mammoth mixing bowl and my semi- trusty scale...and got down to business.  At risk of losing some of the romance, I'll tell you that they looked like little bagel bites.  Totally not as enchanting as taralli pugliesi sounds say it with me now...taraaaalli puglieeeeesi, but true never the less.  They do end up tasting vaguely reminiscent of a bagel, but more like a cracker scented with fennel.  Which brings back to the beginning (where I should have started...backwards, remember?)...after they were cooling and being monched on (everybody liked them, by the way), I decided to do a quick search to find out what Taralli Pugliesi were exactly.  Oh.  They're an Italian snack cracker.  No wonder.  Reminiscent of a breadstick or a pretzel or a bagel. I also read that sometimes they're made sweet and drizzled with a sugary glaze.  And often they're dunked in wine.  Ah, Italy...I love you so....

adapted from Food Bible Le Ricette Regionali Italiane by Anna Maria Gostii Della Salda 
via Lucullian Delights
makes ~90

1 kg (1000 g / 2.2 lb)  AP flour
200 g extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. (+ more) tepid water
11 g fennel seeds,bruised a bit (optional)
7 g instant yeast
1 tsp salt
2 eggs (or the equivalent of dry white wine)

Dissolve the yeast in 2 Tbs. of tepid water. Mix the yeast water with the lightly whisked eggs and the olive oil.

Mix flour, fennel seeds and salt and then add the liquid. Start working the dough and continue to add small amounts of tepid water until you have a firm but pliable dough (used 1¼ c. total).

Start rolling 2 - 2½" 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 ~20 minutes.

Turn on the oven to 392° F (converted from 200° just get it there-abouts, I suppose).

While the taralli rest, bring a fairly large pot of water to a boil.

Lower 15 taralli at a time (this really depends on the size of your pot...mine was big...don't over crowd or it will lower the heat) into the simmering water and as they surface, take them out and put them to dry on a kitchen towel or rack.

Transfer to baking sheets covered with parchment paper or a silpat.
 Bake until golden and cooked through, ~20 minutes.

Eating Italian crackers in a spattering of cool perfectly melancholy.
We have some surprising weather here in Northwestern Indiana on New Year's Eve...rainy and 48° 55° F!  I love it!  It feels cleansing instead of frozen... 

*This post is linked to:
*Bread Baking Buddies (in conjunction w/ Bread Baking Babes)

Would you like to comment?

  1. Looks delish! Wouldn't it have been great to be born Italian?! ;) Happy New Year to you as well.

  2. Anything you can dunk into wine is a good thing! They look great, glad to have you baking with us.

  3. Happy New Year Girlichef Sweetie...
    I sure do wish we were neighbors, I would be visiting you at least every other day. I just know your home smells wonderful with rich cooking all the time.

    These look delish and I can only imagine the great taste that these have. Thank you for sharing with me today.

    Happy New Year sweetie, and here is wishing the best for you and your family in 2011 ahead of us.

    Many hugs and much love, Sherry

  4. I'm not Italian either, but I sure do love the food! These look like they would be perfect little munchies. :) I hope you have a wonderful new year!

  5. I just saw this on facebook! Yum...can you say Phat? Yes, I would be so phat hanging out with such a great bread maker and from eating too much of it LOL

    Happy New Year Girlie, to you and yours!

  6. Thank you for the invite, N!! So glad to be baking with you 2 :)

    Aw Sherry...thank you...and the same to you!

    Well, my darling do know that PHAT stand for Pretty Hot And Tempting, right!? ;)

  7. I wanted to be a Bread Baking Buddy (Babe?)too but I missed the deadline..I am hoping to at least keep track of what's baked and bake along when I can..even if it's not posted...maybe next time.

  8. These look perfect! Looks perfect! Have a wonderful new year!

  9. They do look a bit like bagels. I am sure the flavor is great with the fennel seeds. Just lovely. Thank you so much for sharing with me, week after week. I feel blessed to have found you this year!

  10. They look delish Heather, but then again everything you cook or bake looks so good. Just stopped in to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Enjoy.

  11. i WISH i had had more time to make this because I know my family would have LOVED it! These seem like they turned out perfectly...especially dunked in some red wine. Isn't it amazing how romantic everything sounds in Italian? Happy New Year Heather!

  12. They looks so good I wish I had some here now! Thanks for baking with us!

  13. Heather, your Taralli look wonderful - what a great way to finish off the year. I definitely have to give these a try. Hope you had a lovely Christmas, and a million best wishes for the new year.
    Sue :-)

  14. My Mom loves these with all her heart and soul! I've never seen ones looking so good - will have to make them for her. Thanks for stopping by my new event! Wishing you and your family a blessed and Happy New Year!

  15. You have me laughing with the 392f.

  16. A very happy new year to you too. wow, they look very very cute. great outcome.

  17. I'll have my taralli dunked in wine please! Love the Italians.

  18. WHAT on earth was I doing that I missed seeing your lovely taralli? And they are indeed lovely. I can hear the rolled R when I see them.

    Interesting that they are sometimes glazed with sugar to make them sweet. But I still think the chili oil ones sound more thrilling. Did you try making them that way? (I keep forgetting but I'm betting that they'd be even more brilliant.)

  19. YUMMY!! Thanks so much for linking these up to my Italian Fest week - perfect! This week is a Mardi Gras party. Hope to see you there but nothing healthy allowed ;-)

  20. Hi, I am Aria from Italy, i love taralli..... and i am used to eat them on holiday, in Puglia. Now, with this easy recipe, I have no more excuse....... I will try to prepare them.....

  21. These are a lot like pretzels but not as complicated. :)

  22. Wow those look good!  I don't know if I was born to be Italian...but I was definitely born to EAT Italian!  Can't wait to try this, I've been trying to learn more Italian is pasta!


  23. Do the fennel seeds make a huge difference in flavor?  I don't think I'll add them...they kind of have a weird taste if I remember...though I think I've only tried fennel pollen....