Italian taralli fennel seed crackers

    2 hours 35 min

    This is an old Italian recipe for the traditional hard, ring-shaped crackers. Yes, it makes a lot but you can give them away as gifts (or make half the recipe but use the same amount of yeast and eggs). They are excellent with wine and cheese, and make good teething biscuits if you leave out the fennel seeds. Ciao!

    18 people made this

    Makes: 8 dozen crackers

    • 1 heaped tespoon (about 7g) dried active baking yeast
    • 350ml water
    • 50g butter or cooking margarine
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 egg
    • 2.25kg plain flour, divided
    • 45g fennel seed
    • 4 tablespoons water

    Prep:35min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Extra time:1hr30min rising  ›  Ready in:2hr35min 

    1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
    2. In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, salt and egg. Add yeast mixture and 1/2 of the flour and mix until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour and the seeds. Mix in additional water as needed to make a stiff dough.
    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead well. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and turn once to coat surface. Cover with a damp tea-towel and place in a warm spot to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
    4. Roll dough into short ropes about 1/5cm thick. Join ends to form circle shape. Set aside to rise for a few minutes.
    5. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
    6. Fill a large saucepan half full of water; bring to the boil. Drop dough pieces into water and boil for 1 minute. Remove from water, letting both sides dry on a sheet of greaseproof paper.
    7. Bake at 180 C / Gas 4 on a lightly greased baking tray, turning a few times during baking until medium brown and crisp.

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    Reviews in English (5)


    was unable to find affordable fennel seeds, replaced with caraway seeds. wonderful aroma and taste. will never buy bagels again. my daughter takes one to school for lunch every day.  -  06 Apr 2000  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    very good. Brush the top with a little egg wash for a nice glazed look.  -  22 May 2000  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    These didn't taste like the ones I had in Calabria many years ago, nor did they taste like the ones my mom used to make. The dough tasted more like sweet buns rather than a tarallo. Luckily, I made only a 1/4 of the recipe keeping the egg and yeast the same. When I told my mom how I was making them, she said in calabrese that this is the authentic and original way of making taralli "a l'antica". The exception is that the margarine was substituted with pig fat back in the day when my mom was growing up. But I must say that the technique still works like a charm! I really had fun making these. I just wish that they tasted a bit more like I remember. It's too bad my mom's recipe got lost of over the years. They were so good. My search still continues but these are worth trying at least once to get the feeling of authenticity. I just love the method. Thanks for sharing, IDAJ!  -  05 Apr 2011  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)