Friselle bread, at times referred to as freselle, frisedde, fresedde, frise, are made from durum wheat. Friselle are baked twice and usually have a rough side and smooth side. Friselle are found throughout all of Italy but especially popular in southern Italy (Apulia, Calabria, Campania, etc.). Friselle have a very long shelf life and were especially popular during difficult, economic, times in Italy. My grandmother often made this type of bread prior to and after immigrating to Italy in the mid 1970’s.
Our Italian aunt, who owns and operates, a bakery (or Panificio) in Calabria still produces friselle and it’s a popular bread served with salumi, tomatoes, cheese, etc. Friselle are often quickly dipped in water and then dressed with salt, red pepper flakes, and lots of extra virgin olive oil. Some friselle are produced via a circular shape with a whole in the middle, though Aunt Giovanna’s friselle are more akin to a small role or rectangle in shape (per the photos). Zia Giovanna uses a whole-grain version of semolina flour, viz., durum flour, and is made from hard wheat (specifically, semolina granules) and is milled using the entire wheat berry. It has typical powder-like, brown-flecked, texture of fine whole wheat flour and a very pronounced wheaty taste.
Friselle are very easy to make at home and are a great product to have around the house for impromptu snacks and leisurely lunches on the weekends.
- 2 pounds of durum wheat flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 1 ounce of live yeast
- Filtered water
- Dissolve the yeast in a bit warm water and combine with flour and a bit of salt. Shape the dough into desired shape and let rise for 30 minutes, then bake them in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.
- When the bread is firm but not hard, remove from the oven and cut them in half horizontally with a clean metal wire. Return them to the oven and let cook until the break is very dry and you begin to see a golden brown color.