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 15 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
Latest posts by Patricia Bergen (see all)
Grazie for sharing!
Posted in Fai da te — Recipes & Projects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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!


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 !

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 5 stars
    I was born in Casalvieri, a few kms south of Sora, now live in Canada. I recently bought some freshly baked from a vendor at the market in Sora.

  11. 5 stars
    Thanks for the great recipe. I made these for a good friend who lost her Mother recently. She never did get a recipe as her Mom made them free hand. My friend was so happy and said they looked and tasted just like her Mom used to make.
    What I do is from your recipe I make 24 individual ciamellas, boil them and then bake 6 at a time at 435 degrees for about 20 minutes on the rack above the middle rack until nice and golden. I also bless my dough whether ciamellas, bread or pizza. We have much to be grateful for.
    These ciamellas are amazing. I am now totally hooked on them and make them frequently. Thanks again.

  12. 5 stars
    I am also from Lazio. The recipe I make is similar but without water. I use a cup of oil and a cup of white wine 7 eggs and about 14 cups of flour. Everyone loves them. I make them regular doughnut size. The wine gives them extra flavour

  13. 5 stars
    Thank you so much Patricia, I have been wanting to tackle this recipe for years. I’m from Calabria and we make taralli, The spicy ones are so good, but I love caimelle. Will definitely be making these very soon. Looking at your pictures I could just smell that beautiful fennel and bread smell. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. 5 stars
    My ciambelle turned out good but some of them opened up as soon as I put them in the boiling water. How do I avoid this from happening?

    • Ciao, Teresa! I am so glad they came out yummy! To keep them from opening up, after twisting the ciambella and bringing together the ends, pull the tips at one end through the loop at the other end and then tuck each end into the twist by separating or opening the twist just a bit and pulling each tip through, one to the right and one to the left. Hopefully that makes sense!! I have been wanting to make a video of the whole process… I promise to soon!

  15. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe a few times, much to my family’s delight! My Mom is the most appreciative of it as ciamella is one of her all time favourite breads and is quite the workout! We joke that she eats them like vitamins, once a day! As many of you know trying to figure out a recipe from a Nonna who never writes anything down and doesn’t use measuring cups can lead to many disasters in the kitchen. My family also comes from the Lazio region of Italy, in particular Frosinone. I was wondering if your family is from there also, as I have cousins with the same surname of DiCarlo? Thank you so much for sharing,

    • Ciao Patty,
      Thank you for your kind message; it made my day! I am so glad you and your loved ones are enjoying the recipe! We love ciamella too- and I’m so glad my nonna insisted that I make it with her so that I could continue to share the process with others. And, yes- all of my dad’s side of the family is from Frosinone, specifically Posta Fibreno and Sora. What a lovely connection! Where is your family from in Lazio?

  16. 5 stars
    Ciao my name is Santa Mauti , I make the ciammelle to .
    I’m going to try yours . My Mother she is from Sora ,
    Thank for your recipe .

  17. 5 stars
    My Grandmother came from the Lazio region – Saint’Elia Fiume Rapido. She used to make what she called Ciamelles. This is the first time I’ve seen the recipe, thank you. She also made ‘Tuttarelles’ which were the same shape but fried and the most, most delicious ‘Tomato Cake’ which was a thick generously olive oiled bread base with sliced tomatoes and shavings of garlic over the top.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.