Fennel and Pepper Taralli

I have seen taralli variously described as Italian bagels, Italian pretzels, and Italian oval bread sticks. So I guess we can at least safely say they’re Italian. Since I haven’t eaten these in Italy, I don’t know whether the ones I made are anything like the authentic ones, but they did taste good with a glass of red wine. And they’ll keep until your two-year-old is in college.

The recipe is inspired by Royal Crown’s Fennel Taralli from Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer. I added some cracked pepper and made a few other adaptations for the ingredients I had on hand. I used a food processor but the dough can also be kneaded by hand if your upper body needs a good workout. The fennel seeds are worked in by hand at the end in either case.

Fennel and Pepper Taralli

Yield: 24 taralli


  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • Divide and shape: 15 minutes
  • Proof: 2 hours
  • Bake: 40 – 45 minutes

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 340 g flour
  • 90 g high-gluten flour (such as King Arthur’s Sir Lancelot)
  • 0.7 g (1/4 t.) instant yeast
  • 7 g (generous 1 t.) salt
  • 2.5 g (3/4 t.) coarsely-ground black pepper
  • 188 g water at room temperature
  • 30 g olive oil
  • 45 g white wine
  • 7.5 g (generous 1 T.) fennel seeds
  • 2 T. olive oil for boiling


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours, salt, yeast, and pepper with a few pulses.
  2. Combine the water, 30 g olive oil, and wine. With the processor running, add the liquid ingredients in a thin stream.
  3. Process for about a minute, until the dough is smooth and firm.
  4. Knead the fennel seeds into the dough by hand until they are evenly distributed.
  5. Divide the dough into 24 pieces of approximately 30 grams each.
  6. To shape each taralle, roll the dough into a rope about 11 inches long and pinch the ends together. (If the dough is a little dry, a quick spritz of water with a fine spray bottle helps it roll more easily, and the ends stick to each other.) Gently stretch the ring into an oval and lay in on the counter.
  7. Cover the taralli with plastic and proof for 2 hours. They will not look like they have risen.
  8. Meanwhile, place two oven racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
  9. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the 2 T. olive oil.
  10. Place a cooling rack on the counter with a dishtowel underneath it. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Boil the taralli in batches of three or four for about one minute, until they float and puff a little. Remove them to the cooling rack with a slotted spatula. Once drained, arrange them on the paper-lined baking sheets.
  12. Once all the taralli are boiled, bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until very dry, rotating the baking sheets about halfway through the baking.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    God those are addictive. I used to get some of these at a local European store, from Calabria and they made a sweet version too. I have this formula from school for a sort of bagel from Italy will send it in to ya, so funny how so many bread types are found through so many cultures, kind of a map of history?

  2. says

    Hi Susan-
    These have been on my to-do list for a while. Yum! Yours look just like the ones in the book – beautiful! There’s a book of Savory Mediterranean Baking that has a few taralli recipes that are interesting that you might like. Now if only I could remember the exact name of the book….

  3. says

    These look fun and delicious, Susan. (I love to play with my food…lol). Fennel is one of my favorite spices when i’m looking for that little bit of ‘different’ to the ordinary; I find I can incorporate it into sweet or savory dishes with great results.
    I’m making this recipe soon.. Thanks!

  4. says

    They are so cute! I have only seen them in pictures – I want to try them soon. I have this book on my ever growing wish list – I’ll push it towards the top!

  5. says

    I found a YeastSpotting badge on My Kitchen in Half Cups and put it on my blog with your link, but then I just read your comment that you don’t have a badge yet, is that not yours? She had it linked to you too. I’m confused and just wondering…

  6. says

    You find such interesting breads to try! I don’t know how I’d feel about the fennel in these, but I’d like to try them nonetheless.

    Oh, also meant to answer your one question on my blog–no I don’t cross country ski and yes I’d rather stay inside making bread any day. :)

  7. says

    We are going to try these, but we will probably substitute something for the fennel. I’d like it, but no one else would, so what’s the point.

    Enjoying your blog. I’m only a sometimes baker. Mostly I farm, raise goats, milk, make cheese, and home school kids. But… If I had more time I’d bake.

  8. pepsakoy says

    Interesting recipe ! I never heard about this bread before, let alone eating it..and now I’m so tempted to give it a try !! Thanks for the recipe..

  9. says

    I’ve made these as well, using the same recipe. Absolutely loved the end result. The whole batch didn’t last long in our house!

  10. says

    Hi Susan,
    I don’t know how I found my way here in the first place, but when I saw this post it made be a bit embarrassed for the fact that I’ve never tried making them myself, so I tried the recipe, and these are EXACTLY how they taste in Italy…only better! I couldn’t believe how easy they were to make and to make a long story short, you’ve inspired me to create a recipe for tarallucci (the smaller round ones) that my husband fondly remembers from his youth. Thanks for a great post!

  11. Hussain Ali Al-Saber General Manager says

    Visited your website and watch the wonderful recipes and thank you for this effort to provide recipes and services to others and I hope that there will be friendship between us and long relationship and cooperation
    Hope for me at Email
    And you my greetings and appreciation
    Faithful to you

    Hussain Ali Al-Saber
    General Manager

    Al-Qassim Corner for Sweets
    Dirab Road, Al-Shiffa, Al-Marwa
    P.O. Box 37106, Riyadh 11439
    Saudi Arabia
    Tel. # +966 1 4202869 / 4201721
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    Email: alqassimsweets@yahoo.COM


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