Whole-Wheat Cracker Rings with Black Pepper and Fennel Seeds (Taralli Integrali con Pepe e Finocchio)

Whole-Wheat Cracker Rings with Black Pepper and Fennel Seeds (Taralli Integrali con Pepe e Finocchio)
Recipe photo may include foods and ingredients that are not a part of this recipe and not included in the nutrition analysis.
Source: The Italian Diabetes Cookbook. Recipe Credit: . Photo Credit: Renee Comet.

The southern Italian provinces of Lazio, Molise, Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, Abruzzo, and Calabria all share the tradition of serving taralli—crunchy, cracker-like breads—with appetizers. In the old days, drying out these crackers was a way of preserving them. Today, they are a matter of taste and tradition. In Calabria, these crackers are prepared for the feast of St. Anthony. Traditional shapes for these crackers include rings, ropes, braids, sticks, and horseshoes. Wrapped in clear cellophane bags with a pretty tie, taralli make elegant gifts.

  • Prep time
    15 min
  • Cook time
    20 min
  • Servings
  • Serving size
    3 bread rings
Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts


  • Serving Size
    3 bread rings
  • Amount per serving Calories 160

  • Total Fat 6g
    • Saturated Fat 0.8g
    • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 160mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 23g
    • Dietary Fiber 4g
    • Total Sugars 0g
  • Protein 5g
  • Potassium 160mg
  • Phosphorus 115mg

Choices/Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch, 1 Fat



  • active dry yeast
    2 1/2 tsp
  • lukewarm water (divided)
    3/4 cup
  • whole-wheat flour or gluten-free baking mix, plus extra for work surface
    2 cup
  • freshly ground black pepper
    1 tbsp
  • fennel seeds
    2 tsp
  • crushed red chile flakes
    1/4 tsp
  • unrefined sea salt
    1/2 tsp
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
    3 1/2 tbsp
  • egg white, lightly beaten


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast with 1/4 cup lukewarm water.

  2. Place the flour, pepper, fennel seeds, chile flakes, and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, an additional 1/2 cup lukewarm water, and 3 tablespoons. olive oil. Mix well to combine and form a dough.

  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead energetically, adding a little more flour if needed, for about 8–10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  4. Oil a large bowl with remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and place the dough inside. Turn dough to coat with oil, and cover with plastic wrap and clean kitchen towels. Allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

  5. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  6. Remove dough from bowl and break off a small chunk. Roll into a 6-inch rope that is approximately the width of a pencil, and form into a circle. Pinch the ends together tightly, and place ring on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover rings with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.

  7. Brush tops of the rings with the egg white and bake until light golden, 15–20 minutes. Remove, cool on a rack, and store in a tightly covered container for up to a month.