Makes 20 taralli
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup water
4 cups Italian organic 0 soft wheat flour, sifted
2 teaspoons fine salt
Combine the oil, wine and water in a bowl and mix together with a fork. Add the organic flour and knead the mixture until it starts to come together.
Add the salt and mix well with your hands until you get a smooth and compact dough. Place the dough in a clean bowl sealed with plastic wrap and leave to rest for at least an hour.
Take the dough from the refrigerator, cut and roll into small strips about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Using your hands roll it into a long cylinder or thick thread shape, then form a circle and close each by pressing the ends together– in Puglia tradition dictates that you use with a key, though you can use only your fingers if you prefer.
If using a key, place one end of the dough strip on top of the other and press with the bit or cylinder of the key (not the bow where you hold the key) and make a small cut on the dough. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and boil/simmer the 4 -5 taralli at a time. As soon as they rise to the surface, drain and put them to dry on a tea towel, taking care to turn them over so that they do not stick. Let them dry for a couple of hours and, once dry, place them on a baking tray and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes.
Taralli are the distinctive, crunchy, savory and dry cracker-like breads, made in the Puglia and Campania regions in Southern Italy. They make a wonderful snack and are at their best with a glass of wine to relax over.
Both Campania and Puglia, though the cracker-like snack is similar, are said to be the result of two separate traditions, one, from a professional baker’s kitchen and one from a home. The first uses lard and second, olive oil.
In Campania, it was the Neapolitan bread-makers, not wanting to throw away any odds and ends of leavened dough from bread-baking, began, at the end of the 1700s, to make salted, twisted rings with the addition of lard and pepper. By the 19th century adding almonds, also became part of the tradition.
In Puglia, however, legend tells of a mother, having nothing to feed her children, prepared small rings of dough with the few ingredients in her pantry, simply kneading flour, olive oil and a pinch of salt, then baking them until crunchy (which also made them longer lasting).