The frisella, also known as frisedda, friso, friseddha, spaccatella or spaccatedd, depending on where in Puglia one has it, is a durum wheat, barley, or a combination of both, tarallo.
It is baked once then cut in half, horizontally, and then baked again. The result is a bagel with one side that’s porous and the other a more compact one.
Very important: the frisa is not a type of bread, since it is cooked twice (bis-cooked).
The frisella can be stored for a long time and therefore it was the perfect alternative to bread, in times when the flour was scarce.
In Puglia, it is also known as the Crusaders bread since it was used by the Christian troops in their journeys.
In the past, they used to soak friselle directly into sea water and eat them with just fresh tomatoes, squeezed to get its juice over it.
The shape is not the outcome of chance, nor of an aesthetic research, it meets defined needs of transportation and storage.
They used to be tucked in a lanyard whose ends were knotted to form a necklace. That meant easy to hang, easy and convenient to transport and to store dry. The frisella was in fact a travelling bread; hence why the habit of soaking it into seawater by fishermen, who also used it as a base for fish soup or mussels, their habitual food during their fishing trips that lasted for several days.