Ciambelle are very chewy, fennel flavored bread rings that are wonderful as between meal snacks. Nonna Yolanda was my husband’s Grandmother, and this was the recipe she passed down to her daughter, making this a recipe typical of “la cucina della Nonna“.
This recipe is difficult to describe, but the finished product is well worth it. You end up with very chewy, fennel flavored bread rings. Initially they will be crunchy, but become more chewy after a few days. Store in an airtight container. They are great between meal snacks, or even with a glass of wine before dinner. Don’t worry about trying to get a perfect shaped ciambelle as they are rustic and look fine if they are not.
- 5 Cups of Warm Water
- 9 -10 Cups Flour (Approximately ~ Start With 9 Cups And Add More If Needed)
- 1 Pkg. Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tbs. Sugar
- 4 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 2 Tbs. Salt
- 3 Tbs. Fennel Seeds
- Dissolve the yeast into one cup of the water with the sugar and let sit until bubbly.
- Add the salt, olive oil and fennel seeds.
- Place 9 cups of the flour in a mound on the counter, creating a depression in the center.
- Slowly add the yeast water into the center mixing it into the flour with a fork.
- Continue to add water until you have a workable mixture. (The dough should be fairly firm at this point but still pliable.)
- Knead the dough until smooth, then cover with plastic, and let stand for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut dough into pieces, then roll out each piece into a rope, about the thickness of your finger and about 12 inches long.
- Form into a doughnut like shape, squeezing the ends together.
- Boil water in a wide pot, then drop 2 or 3 ciambelle into the water at a time.
- When they rise to the top, remove and place on towels to dry, about 3 minutes.
- Place on lightly greased baking sheets, and bake 30 to 40 minutes, or till golden brown.
- Remove, and cool.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for 1 month.