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Friselle Pugliesi

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Friselle are ring-shaped Puglian rolls (for want of a better size indicator). They're half baked, removed from the oven and divided into two halves, which are returned to the oven and allowed to bake until done, then dried completely. The result is something that one could crack a tooth on. So what do you do with them?

Prep Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/3 cups (400 g) durum wheat flour
  • 3/4 ounce (20 g) live yeast cake
  • A pinch of salt
  • A thin wire

Preparation:

Got Friselle? Finely chop a bowl of plump, sun-ripened tomatoes and set them on the table with salt, pepper, olive oil, hot pepper paste (what one finds in Puglia consists of shredded hot peppers packed in oil, and it packs a delightful wallop), freshly picked basil, and a large bowl of water.

Take a frisella and dip it in the bowl of water, holding it for a second or two before putting it on your plate. Slather it with the chopped tomatoes, and season them to taste with the various condiments and herbs. Enjoy, with a hearty, rustic white wine.

Making them from scratch? Assemble the ingredients listed above. Dissolve the yeast in a little warm water, then combine it with the flour and a pinch of salt to obtain bread dough. Shape the dough into 6-inch diameter rings and let them rise for a half hour, then bake them in a preheated 400 degree oven. When they're half done (firm but not hard), remove them from the oven and cut them in half horizontally with the wire, then return them to the oven to let them finish baking. When they're done whey should be quite dry.

A note to Seahurst, who wonders if there are more ingredients in Friselle:
I have checked a number of cookbooks and online sources, and friselle are made from just durum wheat flour, salt, live yeast cake and water. Another recipe that yields more calls for:
  • 1 k (2.2 pounds, or about 8 1/3 cups) flour, ideally durum wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 ounces (50 g) live yeast cake
  • Water
  • A pinch of salt
In this case, begin by combining the yeast with a 1 2/3 cups (about 200 g) flour, warm water, and a pinch of salt, to make smooth soft starter loaf. Cover it and let it rise in a warm place for a half hour.

After a half hour, make a well of the rest of your flour on your work surface, and work the starter loaf into it, adding enough water to make a dough. Roll the dough into finger-thick 8-inch long (20 cm) snakes, make them into rings and set them to rise on a baking tin. Let them rise for 2 hours, and then bake them in a 400 degree (200C) oven for about a half hour. Remove them from the oven, Split them down the middle to obtain 2 rings from each frisella, and return them to the baking tin cut side up. Bake them for another 20-30 minutes, or until they are quite dry.

That's it!
Kyle Phillips, Your Guide to Italian Cooking

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