How to Make Friselle | Authentic Italian Recipe
Friselle are a type of intentionally stale bread, shaped like a bagel or donut, that are dunked in water and topped like bruschette for an incredible snack (or meal, if you love friselle as much as we do). It sounds strange to make stale bread and then re-soak it, but the result is a gooey-yet-firm texture completely unlike a normal bruschetta!
How to Eat Friselle
Knowing how to serve and eat a frisella is just as important as knowing how to make it. Submerge the stale bread in a large bowl of water for just a few seconds—you want to give it just enough time that some water can soak in without the bread becoming mushy. Shake off the excess water, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy! You can always adjust the texture by changing the “dunk time.” Dip for less time if you want a crunchier frisella, longer if you prefer a softer bite.
The toppings can really be anything you might put on a bruschetta. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our video all about bruschetta toppings here.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video here:
Makes: 8 friselle halves
Cook Time: 8 hours, largely unattended
For this recipe, you will need:
2 cups (240g) bread flour, divided
1 ⅔ cups (200g) semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon (2g) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons (10g) salt
1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
In a large mixing bowl, mix 1 ⅔ cups (200g) bread flour with the semolina flour. Gradually add about 1 ¼ cups water while stirring it into the flour with a spatula. The local climate can affect the amount of water needed, so the quantity may need to be adjusted. Stop adding water once you have achieved a very firm dough that isn’t sticky. Cover the bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. (40ml) of water. Add the remaining ⅓ cup (40g) of bread flour and stir it in thoroughly. Cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature, along with the dough you made earlier, for 1 to 1 ½ hours—until the yeast mixture (“poolish”) becomes bubbly and jiggly.
Add the poolish into the larger dough bowl and knead it in by hand, keeping the dough in the bowl. Mix in the salt next. Finally, add the olive oil. To incorporate the oil into the dough, pick the dough up by the middle with one hand and fold it in half, then turn it 90° and repeat. Check out the video above to see the technique in action. Keep folding the dough until the oil is evenly incorporated.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until it roughly doubles in size. Generously dust a work surface and large baking sheet with semolina flour.
Gently pour the dough onto the floured surface and cut it into four equal portions. Take one piece of dough in your hands and gently pull and tuck the sides underneath so that the top of the ball becomes smooth. Place the dough on the baking sheet and repeat with the other three dough portions. Cover the baking sheet with a clean towel and let the dough rise for an additional 40 minutes.
Pour a small pile of semolina flour on a work surface. Gently take a risen dough ball and dip all sides of it in the flour to generously dust it. Next, use your palms to roll it out on the table into a long snake. Do so as gently as possible and avoid pressing down hard on the dough. Once again, we recommend watching the video above to see how it’s done! When the snake is about two fingers wide, bring the two ends together and gently press them to seal them together. The result should look like a bagel. Place the raw frisella on a semolina-dusted baking sheet and repeat to form the remaining friselle.
Cover the friselle in a clean towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 480°F (250°C).
After they’ve rested for 30 minutes, bake the friselle for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked on top. Let them cool to the touch, cut them in half (like a bagel), and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Now you have bread, it’s time to make it stale!
Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Arrange the halved friselle on baking sheets, crust side down, so that they don’t overlap. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven but let the friselle remain inside until the oven has cooled completely. They should now be hard, crispy, and ready to eat (see above for serving suggestions).
Want to try your hand at another Italian bread treat? Why not give the REAL Italian bread sticks recipe a shot?