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Simit is a delicious sesame bread sold in bakeries all over Turkey. It’s not difficult to make them with this recipe for Homemade Simit!
Simit are rings of bread that are coated with toasted sesame seeds then baked until crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Sometimes known as gevrek, simit are ubiquitous in Turkey, where they are found at roadside vendors and eaten at restaurants alike. You can make a quick meal out of a crunchy simit—with a hot cup of tea, of course.
You can also find similar breads in the surrounding countries. In the Middle East for example, a bread similar to simit called ka’ak, is very popular. Sometimes they are sweeter than typical simit and even include things like ground fennel, anise, or mahlab kneaded in the dough. Other varieties are not sweet at all.
Simit are kind of like a bagel, but they don’t include the boiling step that bagels require. Instead, you dip them into a thin molasses solution to adhere the sesame seeds before baking. This imparts a hint of sweetness but the resulting bread maintains its savoriness. The sesame seeds are traditional but can be substituted with poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, or flax seeds. Simit are eaten at anytime as a snack but my favorite is to have them for breakfast in the typical Turkish/Eastern Mediterranean fashion: with lots of olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, preserves, and cheese. My vegan almond cheese is the perfect pairing with these. It’s what you see in the stuffed simit pictures in this post!
- 2½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup warm water (around 110°F / 43°C)
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (or sweetener of choice)
- 2 Tablespoons oil (olive, sunflower, grapeseed, etc.)
- 2 Tablespoons molasses (grape, mulberry, or date) or maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, sugar, and oil. Pour this mixture into the flour and let the mixer knead the dough together for around 3-4 minutes. The dough should be thoroughly combined, elastic, and slightly tacky.Put a little extra oil on your hands to be able to transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Let the dough proof for 1 hour.
- While proofing, whisk together the molasses and water in a shallow bowl. Also, have the toasted sesame seeds ready in a dish nearby.
- After 1 hour, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Turn out the dough onto a large, lightly floured surface and divide into five equal pieces. Keep the pieces you are not working with under a towel or plastic wrap.
- Use the pictures in the post above as a guide to the three steps to forming the simit. First, you want a rope that is at least 24 inch (60cm). Use a minimal amount of flour on your surface while rolling and pushing out any large air bubbles that may have formed in the dough with your hands. Then catch the middle of the rope with one hand while twirling together the two loose ends until the whole piece, up to the middle has twisted. Finally bring the two ends together by slightly looping the free end into the looped end. Pinch the dough together at that point and roll the seam firmly once or twice with your palm.
- Form them all, then dip each one into the molasses mix, shake off any excess, then plop into the sesame seeds. Coat each ring with as much sesame as possible then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them sit for 5 minutes before baking, then gently stretch them into large, evenly-shaped rings.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes or until they are golden browned. You will need a few more minutes in the oven if you prefer a crunchier simit. If you are baking two baking sheets at once, they may need a bit longer in the oven (28-30 minutes). Also, if you are baking two sheets, be sure to switch their positions in the oven at the halfway point (after 15 minutes or so).
- Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Enjoy hot or room temperature.
-You can use any kind of fruit molasses for these, just don't use regular sugar cane molasses. Its flavor is too strong here. Maple syrup or agave nectar are both fine substitutes.
-I like to toast my own sesame seeds. Buy raw sesame seeds and put them into a large, dry pot over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the seeds swell and brown. Remove from the pan into a large dish to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container. They're nice to have on hand because you can use them in many other things like stir-fries, cookies, or sprinkling onto dips.
-For darker, crunchier simit, leave them to bake in the oven for a few minutes longer.
-These can be frozen after you've baked and cooled them down. Put them into an airtight zip bag and when you want to eat one, leave it on the counter to thaw. Then toast in the oven to revive the texture.