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Fried Italian Bread aka Croustoweele, Pane Frita, Fritto

Posted by: Gina  :  Category: Italian Baking, Italian Bread Recipes

There are many types of Italian breads, Ciabatta, Pane carasau, Pane casareccio, Panino, Focaccia, Pane toscano (without salt), Michetta, Rosetta, Ciriola, Pane pugliese, Pane di Altamura, Pane Fritto,  Grissini torinesi, Tigella, Crescentina, Piadina, Pita to name a few. The following is an authentic age old Italian recipe for fried bread Mamma style.

2 cups of warm water
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar to help yeast rise

1 tbsp salt
4 cups of flour

Vegetable oil (for frying pan)

making the dough

cooking the dough


  • Wait for yeast to float on top of the water then add flour and salt
  • Mix till no lumps (not like pancake dough)
  • The dough should stick to your hands and fingers for the consistency to be correct
  • Leave until ready to fry do not handle!
  • If the house is hot/warm the dough will rise faster
  • Fill the frying pan ¾ full with vegetable oil and set burner or stove up as high as 8.
  • On the side fill a little bowl with some oil to dip your fingers in so the dough does not stick too badly to your fingers. Remember to frequently oil your fingers and hands to prevent dough from sticking.
  • Pinch a bit of dough, quickly spread it or stretch it then carefully place it into the oil in the pan (see photo).
  • Can cook quickly so do not leave unattended.
  • Flip when underside is golden brown.

Let cool and enjoy! Mangia!

18 Responses to “Fried Italian Bread aka Croustoweele, Pane Frita, Fritto”

  1. KVZ Says:

    Ciao — I’m delighted to see someone else knows this dish as fried bread DOUGH rather than fried stale-ish bread which seems to be the more common interpretation of this Italian dish title.

    From what region of Italia did you derive this from? My family is from provincia Trapani and this is what my Mother always served as a treat when making bread for the week. If this was at lunchtime, we’d sprinkle it with a little garlic powder for ‘variety’, or as a ‘dessert’ cinnamon sugar would go on top instead. I gotta make some the next time I make bread. I haven’t thought about this in years, but I do recall waiting for it to cool enough so you didn’t burn your mouth was always the hardest part of eating this!

    Grazie e buon mangiare!

  2. Mamma Says:

    Thank you for your comments. Our family is from the province Cosenza and Rogliano. This is the best treat and they do not last long at our house. Mamma also adds raisins to her dough. The cinnamon addition sounds great….tks for the suggestion.

  3. Shanika Longo Says:

    Good stuff! I traveled to Britain this summer and had my first ever afternoon tea with scones , and it was absolutely delicious I thought I’d try and make my own last week. My friends were so happy when I invited them round for tea and scones. Terrific fun!

  4. Joann Says:

    Thanks for posting this! We called them “gruspedi” when my Nana made them. Sometimes she would add a hot red pepper to the center or anchovy (scilian) style. My mom said as kids they would make joke ones and put cotton in some!

  5. Chris Says:

    My grandmother used to make something called quidispiels (I have no idea how it is spelled). Is this the same thing?

  6. Mamma Says:

    Hi Chris…Mamma says that quidispiels is the same thing but from another region of Italy … each area has a different name for this recipe but they are all great.

  7. Jackie Says:

    My grandma was from Sicily, province of Trapani.
    My mom said they grew up having pane frita as a treat~~sometimes with sugar and cinnamon and sometimes with sugar and jam. Anytime Grandma made bread or pizza dough, she would save some for pane fita. I think it’s great!

  8. Dave Says:

    My grandmother made something similar, called “pitaced”, although I have no idea of the correct spelling.

  9. Gina Says:

    Hi Dave…yes there are many variations and names depending on what region of Italy you are from. All good thanks for visiting.

  10. Emily Says:

    We call this raised dough pancakes. Our whole family is from a French background. My Dad made this for the morning of my wedding. It was what I asked for a wedding present from my dad. My Nana always made them for us as well. My kids love them now as well. It is now a tradition for our family at Easter and Christmas.

  11. Gina Says:

    Hi Emily this recipe is a site favorite for sure and great to hear it is a tradition in your family as well…thanks for visiting

  12. annalisa Says:

    Oh! Thank you for posting! My Nanni passed this year and she would make this every Christmas. I can’t wait to make it in her honor. our family is from Reggio Calabria. Grazie e Buon Natale!

  13. Gina Says:

    Annalisa you are welcome and nothing makes Mamma happier than hearing comments like this. Buon Natale and Buono Ano!!

  14. Diane Says:

    My mother’s family – with Italian roots pre 1900s in Piemonte – eat something sounding like “pon kookie”. Basically it’s usually made for the kids at lunchtime from the bread dough you’ve started in the morning. This dough is basically flour, water & yeast, no sugar or anything fancy.
    By noon it’s rising and you can gently pull off chunks and fry them in oil. Drain and then dip in sugar or jam, whatever. It’s something my middle age kids enjoy when they come home. Basically it’s a quick and easy thing that’s made from what’s already started.

  15. Carole Masciantonio Says:

    Every March my mother-in-law made a sweet treat for us that she fondly called “St. Josephs Pantaloon’s. It consisted of chic peas, honey and placed in a sweet dough that she would fry. If anyone knows what I’m talking about I would be very gateful to hear from you.

  16. Gina Says:

    Hi Carole,
    Sounds yummy. Will ask Mamma if she has a recipe for this or maybe one of our readers can help….Mario for Mamma

  17. Carol Morsey Says:

    St. Joseph was a time to eat pantaloons. I love them! My mom just used chick peas (mashed with milk and sugar in a turnover crust YUM! My mom passed away three years ago and I will try to contact my sisters for this recipe and share it with you.

  18. Gina Says:

    Hi Carol thank you for visiting and sharing.

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