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Taralli Scaldati Col Finocchio (Taralli with Fennel Seeds)
Makes 30

2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 cup dry white wine, warmed
1/2 cup olive oil
3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds or 2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns

Stir yeast into the warmed wine and let proof for 10 minutes. Stir
in the olive oil and add then add the flour, salt, fennel/pepper.
Mix until the dough comes together, knead on a lightly floured
board for 5 to 7 minutes. Knead until the dough is smooth and
responsive. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise
until puffy but not doubled, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Break off a piece of dough the size of a lime and roll it between
your hands to form a rope 18" long and as thin as a breadstick.
Let each one rest while you roll out the rest (about 12 in all).
Cut each piece into 6" lengths and connect the ends to form rings
about 2" in diameter. Press the ends together very firmly, pinch
as tighly as necessary, the dough will recover. Set the rings on
oiled baking sheets. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F and bring a pot of water to a boil. When
risen, plunge the taralli into the boiling water, a few at a time,
immersing them only until they bob to the surface. Remove with a
slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let them cool slightly.
Bake on oiled baking sheets for about 20 to 24 minutes, until they
are crunchy.


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