I had never heard of this type of bread before either so don't worry. My dad makes this ALL the time and he gave me the recipe forever ago and I just made it. Took me two attempts to get it, well, let's just say, perfect. It's crusty on the outside and soft in the middle and so great dipped in a combination of olive oil and really good balsamic vinegar.
Filoncino is a classic Italian bread that is long and airy. It is very similar to France's baguette, although I didn't make mine that long. I did mine a little shorter, therefore a little puffier.
It is amazing to me how something so simple can be so good. I don't know if I'll ever buy a baguette at the store again! I'll just make these and keep them in my freezer (there's one in there right now!). It's literally 4 ingredients, about 2 minutes of your time to prepare the dough, then you shape it and bake it!
The result is golden brown, crusty on the outside and soft and airy on the inside!
Don't let the length of the instructions scare you - it's really so simple. There's just a lot of cutting and shaping and resting in between. Take a look - you'll see!
3 and 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for counter
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup cornmeal
In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast and sea salt (you can also use a food processor, just follow the same steps). Turn on the hook for about 5 seconds. Slowly add 1 and 1/4 cups of warm water (110 degrees) while the dough hook is running. The dough should come together, forming a somewhat sticky smooth ball in a couple of minutes (your sides and bottom of the bowl should be clean at this point). Add a little more flour if the dough is wet or a little more water if it is too dry.
Turn the dough out on the counter, shape into a ball, spray your mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in bulk.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut it into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball, making sure you don't press out all the air bubbles that have developed. Place on a plate or baking sheet and cover with a towel for another 15 minutes. Preheat the oven with a baking stone in it to 475 degrees (or a baking sheet if you don't have a baking stone).
On a lightly floured surface, take one of the balls of dough and start to roll it and stretch it to about 12-14 inches. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough. Cover with a towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
Slash each cylinder diagonally at 3-inch intervals with a sharp knife or razor blade. Sprinkle lightly with flour. Place on a baking peel sprinkled with the cornmeal and dust the bread with flour; slide onto the baking stone. Lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown and crisp, misting with water from a spray bottle 3 times during the first 10 minutes (I just used my hands to spritz water from a cup - but I'll probably get a spray bottle for next time). Cool the bread on a wire rack and serve at room temperature. Or freeze up to 2 weeks - reheat for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
(Source: Adapted from Rustico Cooking)