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taralli barese
Taralli Baresi No. II (pretzel-shaped, bite-sized taralli di olio e vino, using fresh yeast and olive oil; boiled and baked)
Originated from: Palo del Colle, Bari, Puglia
Occasion: Any time & special times
Contributed by: Mrs. Portzia Vessia (Traditional family recipe with exact proportions)

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Taralli Barese No. II
1 kilo (about 2 pounds) flour
about an "1 inch" square block of "fresh" or "live" yeast
200 grams (about 7 ounces) olive oil
200 grams (about 7 ounces) white wine
25 grams(about 4/5 of an ounce) salt
25 grams (about 4/5 of an ounce) sugar

A pot of water for boiling taralli
A large baking pan, greased


Using the flour, fresh yeast, olive oil, white wine, salt and sugar work into a malleable dough.

Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic.

Shape the the dough into a long log.

The taralli can be made in 3 different shapes.

Shape # 1

The "traditional" shape of the "Taralli Baresi" is that of a miniature pretzel. To do this shape cut a small piece of dough and using the palm of your hands make a small tarallini-style log -- about 6 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. Fold the log so that forms a circle, then take one end and pinch to one side, and then take the other end and pinch it close by (Looks like the number 8 but there is a space in the center.).

Shape # 2

Nowadays many Italian home cooks in the Bari area are often making the "taralli Baresi" in the shape of a half bow as this is much easier to do than the "traditional" pretzel shape. To make this shape simply make a thin tarallini-style log, about 5 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, and make the half bow shape, pinching the ends together.

Shape # 3

Apparently many Italian home cooks in the Bari area are also opting to make the "traditional" taralli Barese as a tiny bread stick. This is the easiest to do. Simply make a tarallin-style long -- about 4 inches long, and 1/2 inch wide.

Place the taralli on a linen cloth on top of a table and let them rest while a pot of water is put to boil.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Place a few taralli in at a time and remove as soon as they come up (about 1 minute).

Using a slotted spoon remove the taralli from the water and place on large plate (Remove excess water).

When all the taralli have been processed, place them on a large greased baking pan.

Bake in a preheated 425 F. degree oven until golden or golden brown (depending on one's preference) -- about 20 minutes.


Recently Mrs. Portzia Vessia, an 80 year old woman from Palo del Colle, Bari, came to visit her brother, Jerry Vessia, in Montreal, Quebec and to her family's delight was able to provide the exact recipe on how to make "taralli Barese." She remembered the exact proportions (For the amount of yeast she indicated that it was about half of her thumb, having never measured it.), and indicated that when she was growing up this recipe was known as "taralli di olio e vino." Even though these Puglian taralli are small in size and look more like tarallini, they are not referred to as tarallini in the Bari area. Also, even though "taralli Barese" have sugar in them they are not thought of as taralli dolce as the amount of sugar is rather insignificant. Mrs. Vessia indicated that nowadays fewer and fewer home cooks in the Bari area are making their own taralli, and those that do them don't make the "traditional" pretzel shape anymore. They shape their "taralli Barese" into half bows or present them as bread sticks.... Personal comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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