Ciamella all’anice // Ciambella Sorana

Ciamella finished product,

A delicious braided bread that has the consistency of a bagel and a hint of anise flavor— perfect as a snack or with a simple arugula salad for lunch or dinner!

5 from 4 votes

Ciamella all'anice

This bread recipe comes from the Lazio region of Italy and has been passed down from my paternal grandmother, Cesidia Di Carlo. My cousins and I loved making this bread with her. She was a perfectionist who often corrected our ciamella* making style; but thanks to her commitment to excellence, we are able to proudly carry on this special bread making tradition and enjoy its yumminess today 

*You may have heard of “Ciambella” and are wondering if this is a mistake. My nonna pronounced it distinctly as “Ciamella” [CHA-MEL-LA] without the b— something that in addition to the technique itself has been passed down the generations in my family. My calling it “Ciamella” is just another way of preserving the family tradition!

Servings 12 ciamelle
Author Nonna Cesidia Di Carlo


  • 5 lbs all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups heated water (approximately)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 package anise seed rub between hands to gently bring out the flavor
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 4 "nonna scoops" kosher salt the amount of salt that fits a gently cupped hand.


  1. Sift flour into an extra large mixing bowl.

  2. Mix yeast with approximately ½ cup warm water in a cup.

  3. Make a “well” in the middle of the flour and add the salt, eggs, anise, and yeast mixture.
  4. Start mixing in your ingredients from the “well” in the center of the flour.
  5. Start the mixing process with the ingredients in the middle, then gradually mix in the flour from the sides and slowly add in the heated (warm) water.

  6. Once everything is mixed together, sprinkle some flour on a wooden board and begin kneading the dough using rolling and punching motions; the dough should be fairly soft. If you need to add any dry bits of dough or water, always add it to the middle of the dough, so that you won’t make the working surface sticky! It’s a good arm workout, too!

  7. Place dough back into a clean mixing bowl and bless; then cover and place in the oven to rise for 3 hours or so. If dough has risen and you are not ready to begin the next step you can place the dough in the refrigerator for a ½ hour.

  8. Heat oven to 450-475 degrees (convection/higher heat is better).

  9. Coat pie tins with approximately 1 tsp corn oil.

  10. Boil water in large (pasta size) pot.

  11. Sprinkle flour onto wooden board, if needed.

  12. Cut off a piece of dough.

  13. Roll out into a "long snake".

  14. Once at about 4 ft long, fold in half and hold the folded edge in place while you twist the loose ends to form a rope or braid.

  15. Form a circle.

  16. Place ciamella in boiling water; after 30 seconds, cover and cook for approximately 2 minutes.
  17. Remove from the water and place on pie tin.
  18. Bake in the oven on the tin until you need the pan for another ciamella, then transfer the ciamella to the top oven rack and bake until golden brown.
  19. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt before they cool.
  20. Want to save them for later? Just store in plastic bags and freeze, then pop them in the oven when you're ready to eat!

Recipe Notes

© 2017 CASAGIOVE California,

Buon Appetito!

Ciamella finished product,

Serving Ideas:

Works great with a simple arugula salad dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and parmigiano reggiano cheese; dip ciamella in the dressing for an extra yummy treat!

Ciamella Recipe, Serve with Arugula Salad

You might also like: {Family  gathering… Ciamella Party!}

Patricia Bergen
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Grazie for sharing!
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Patricia Bergen

Patricia Bergen

Shopping for and preparing meals with family in Italy was a beautiful experience— one that I dreamed about sharing with my community in Dana Point, California. CASAGIOVE, an Italian market experience, is the expression of that dream and I'm so happy to share it with you!


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  2. Pingback: A family gathering...Ciamella Party! - CASAGIOVE

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for the recipe! I am planning On making them soon. I was wondering about the salt though! Isn’t four nonna scoops as you call it a bit too much? Or did I misunderstand? Being Italian I am used to making bread and other recipes by using my hand as a little scoop to measure the salt.
    Thanks again

    • Ciao Gina,

      I am so happy that you will be trying out our recipe for Ciamella. My nonna used her hand as the scoop (just like you thought) and with four of her scoops, the ciamella never tasted salty to me; however, you could use slightly less if you are concerned about it being salty. Please keep me posted on how it goes. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

  4. 5 stars
    My family and I were from the Lazio area too and we also call them ciamella or ciamelle. Recently went to an Italian deli and for them the ciambella is a cookie. And that’s what they sold me.

  5. We are originally from the Lazio region – Veroli to be precise(though I was born and live in Canada).
    We also call them ciamelle without the ‘b’.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. 5 stars
    amazing… I’m Italian as well from Arpino near Sora and you’re not wrong about the pronunciation. The local dialect omits the letter B and just uses 2 m’s… Ciammella 🙂

    Salute e Saluti!

  7. Can anyone give me an approximate amount of salt? Also, what is a package of anise seed? These sound like taralli, but prettier with the braided shape.

  8. My family is from sora as well….and ironically (or actually not) my last name is dicarlo also. My grandmother and her sister made the best ciamella in the world and i truly miss it. Im gonna put the bug in my moms ear to make some as she is the current worlds best living cook as far as im concerned….thx for the article.

  9. Ma grand-mère habite un petit village près de Sora, Santopadre. J’ai mangé des ciamella (sans le b) tous les étés de mon enfance et adolescence. Lire cette recette me fait remonter les odeurs et sensations. J’ai envie de retrousser les manches pour cette recette. Merci d’avoir partagé. Ciao !

  10. My 99 year-old mother-in-law is from Frosinone in Lazio. Until she was 90, she kept our freezer well-stocked with ciamella – no b. My husband copied down her recipe while she was making it one time and you can hear her accent in the instructions.
    She now lives in a retirement home and my husband occasionally makes ciamella and brings her some. According to her, he hasn’t gotten it right yet but she doesn’t send it back home with him.
    I have painful arthritis in my wrists and can no longer knead the dough so I was looking for a bread machine version to try to get to the prepared dough stage when I came across your recipe, spelled the right way.

  11. I’m planning on making these for Easter. I’m just curious as to how much yeast since my yeast is in a jar not in a packet. Please let me know what it is in teaspoons. Thank you.

      • 5 stars
        My husband is form Sora and we have recently started making ciamella from his moms recipe however there are no eggs in this recipe. All the other ingredients are the same with variations in quantities. The cooking technique is also the same. Our family is really enjoying them. We are keeping my mother-in -laws tradition going and keeping everyone’s freezer stocked.

    • Hi. My mother is from S.Elia Fiume Rapido (FR).
      My aunt is the queen of ciamelle. But she lives far from us, so I get them during visits to my mother’s house and some from the freezer to take home.
      This is one of my most favorite foods.

      Question: as you boil one, you are cooking another–apprx 2.5minutes. As you move up the rack you are cooking for next one. Therefore the top rack is cooking for another 2.5 minutes.
      Total cook per ciamella?
      2.5 minutes in water.
      2.5minutes in pan
      and 2.5minutes oven rack.
      Total 2.5 min water and 5 mins in oven?

      • Hello Nick,
        It’s one of my favorites too! Your process is correct; that is exactly how my nonna taught me to do it. Regarding times, however, I have found it depends on the oven. For me, I base it on when the ciammelle are golden brown, then I know they are ready. I hope that helps. Enjoy!

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