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Friselle Salentine

Friselle Salentine

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Frise or friselle are a toasted bread typical of the southern-most part of Puglia, the Salento. In the past, their dry, easy-to-transport, easy-to-store nature made them a favourite of fishermen and farmers, who would need something quick and filling to have at sea or in the fields. To rehydrate them, they would just dip them in sea or well water. They would then season them and smash a tomato on top for flavour and substance.

To this date, friselle are loved for their ability to satiate in a simple yet satisfying way. A perfect representation of the Mediterranean diet, they are make for a lovely, fuss-free summer meal, at the beach – as Pugliesi do – as much as at home.

This is the recipe to make them from scratch.

Ingredients

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Method

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1
First make a starter. Put 50g of the plain flour in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in 50g of water at room temperature. Pour the water and yeast over the flour and stir until fully combined. Wrap the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 2 hours
2
Next, combine the remaining plain flour with the semolina flour in a large bowl. Slowly pour over the remaining water and, using a wooden spoon, work it into the flour until absorbed. Add the starter and begin to knead the dough by hand. Add the salt and work it in
3
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic and it bounces back when lightly pressed. (You can do this in a stand mixer using a dough hook.)
4
Put the dough in a large bowl and cover it with cling film. Leave it to rise for 2 hours at room temperature, or until it has doubled in size
5
Transfer the dough back to a floured work surface and divide it into five pieces. Roll each piece into a 40cm log, then join the ends – press lightly so they stick together – to form a circle
6
Arrange the friselle on a baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving some room between them. Cover them with a kitchen towel and leave them to rise for 1 hour
7
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 8
8
Bake the friselle for 20–25 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly. Meanwhile, lower the oven temperature to 170°C/gas mark 3.5. When the friselle have cooled enough to be handled, cut them in half with a sharp serrated knife
9
Put them back on the baking sheet and bake them for 40 minutes, or until deeply golden on both sides. Then, lower the oven temperature to 160°C/gas mark 3 and finish drying them for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely
10
Quickly dip the friselle in a bowl filled with cold salted water. Drizzle them with a generous dose of olive oil, then top with chopped bull’s heart tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil or oregano to taste. You could also add tuna, anchovies, capers and or olives
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Friselle Salentine

 
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