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Taralli are a delicious Pugliese bread speciality. Little rings (or knots or a number of other shapes) of dough, they can be crunchy and substancial. There are a number of variations such as onion, chilli, sesame and anchovy. All the taralli forming is done by hand.
• 500 grams) flour
• 1 tsp (10 grams) salt
• 2/3 cup (150 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 cup (200 ml) dry white wine
• 1-2 tsp fennel seeds or cracked black pepper
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the oil and wine, and mix with a fork until the dough forms into a rough mass. Dump the dough onto a wooden board and knead it for about 5 minutes, until it is smooth. If you want to add any optional spices, knead them into the dough (or divide the dough and add spice to ½ of the dough) - knead well to distribute the spice. Cover the dough and let it rest, along with your arms, for 15-30 minutes. Pinch walnut-sized pieces of dough, roll first between your hands, and then against the wooden cutting board, so that the dough forms a thin rope, about ½ inch (1 cm) in diameter and 4" long (10 cm).
Shape each rope into a ring, and seal the edges together by pressing lightly, then set aside the taralli rings on a wooden board and cover with a towel. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil. Put 6-10 of the taralli into the boiling water, and when they float to the surface - this will only take 30-60 seconds - remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a cloth to dry and cool. Tip: Try not to plop one tarallo on top of another when dropping them into the pot, and if they stick to the bottom, give them a gentle nudge with the slotted spoon Put the cooled taralli on baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (200°C) for about 25 minutes, until golden. Remove and cool on racks. Store in a closed container to keep them crisp, and serve with an aperitivo – they are the a nice accompaniment for the rest of that dry white wine – or pile them into a breadbasket at dinner.