Taralli are an Italian snack food, common all over the southern half of the Italian Peninsula. A cracker similar in texture to a breadstick or a pretzel, taralli can be sweet or savory. Sweet taralli are sometimes glazed with sugar. Savory taralli may be flavored with onion, garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel, pepper or just salt.
Taralli are classically formed into rings or ovals, about four to five inches in circumference. Smaller taralli, called tarallini, with a circumference of 1.5 to 3 inches, are sold commercially. Similar to bagels, they are briefly boiled before being baked, which gives them a very interesting texture. Baked taralli can be kept in an airtight container for several months.
I saw this bread posted on wildyeastblog.com to begin with..and from there, I did some search to find out more about it which consequently,made me keen to give it a try !
To my opinion, this snack is ideal for all occasions, you probably could enjoy it anytime anywhere..now speaking of my taralli, it was so dead good (even it seemed misshapen and might not look attractive which I didn't bother to care!). The fennel and paprika surprisingly made a great duo in it !!
Paprika and Fennel Taralli ( adapted from here )
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
125 ml warm water
1 tsp sugar
285 g bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
30 ml white wine
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 scant tsp paprika
3/4 tsp fennel seed
2 tbsp olive oil; for the boiling water
1. In a small pitcher, sprinkle the yeast and the sugar over the warm water, stir, and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
2. Combine the flour, cayenne pepper and paprika and salt in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, white wine and yeasted mixture. Mix the dough together, then knead this incredibly stiff dough until it smooths out a little.
3. Immediately after mixing, cut the dough in about 25-30 pieces (each 3/4 oz, 20 g). Place a cup of water next to you to help you roll. Dampen your hands with just a few drops of water and roll a piece of dough into a rope about the thickness of a pen. It should be about 7-8 inches long (18-20 cm). Pinch the ends together hard. Hold the rope ring together at the seal and let it drop into an elongated oval shape. Place it on a tray. The seal should be at the top curve. Continue to roll and shape the rest of the taralli.Cover the taralli with plastic wrap and let them rest for 2 hours. They will not appear to rise at all.
4. Preaheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).Fill a wide pot three-quarters full of water, add some salt, bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat so that the water simmers. Add the olive oil to the simmering water. Line a baking sheet with some tea towels. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
5. Boil the taralli in batches small enough to fit comfortably in the pot. They will sink at first then quickly float (if they do not float, let them continue to rest for another hour, then boil them). After they float and puff up a bit, after about a minute of boiling, skim them from the pot and let them drain on the tea towels. Boil the remaining taralli. After each batch has drained, move them to the paper-lined baking sheets.
6. When you have finished boiling the taralli, bake them until they are golden brown and very dry, about 45 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway into the bake. Let them cool on a rack and store them in a sealed container.