Did you know that simit is one of the most popular foods in Turkey? It is traditionally sold on the street. Just take a walk on any major avenue, and you will encounter a simit seller with a special food cart literally in five minutes or so. It is a delicious snack that you can also use to skip a meal when you are in hurry. And that’s what most students do anyway. It is true that most people consume simit in the morning, but it is also eaten all day long. Bakeries make several batches to serve fresh ones during the day. One way or another, these ring-shaped sesame bagels are indispensable in Turkish cuisine.
You can make simit dough right in your bread maker machine. Select the dough preparation cycle and follow the recipe below. Once the dough is ready to roll, you can divide, shape, and dip them first in molasses syrup and then in sesame seeds. The rest is as easy as pie!
What is Simit?
Simit is similar to a bagel in shape but almost twice the size. Nevertheless, its dough is a bit stronger. Additionally, the cooking method is different; simits are not boiled like bagels. They are baked in the oven, preferably with lots of steam to make them crunchier. Although there is some variety (rarely) with different toppings and fillings (cheese), the classic version with toasted sesame seeds is the most preferred type. If you fancy crunchy crust bread, chances are you are going to fall in love with this savory sesame encrusted snack.
There are no official records, but it is believed that simit was invented during the 1500s in Ottoman palaces. According to Evliya Celebi (famous Ottoman explorer), there were hundreds of bakeries producing simit in Istanbul during the 1600s.
What you will need:
The good news is that you do not need any special equipment. Just use your regular oven trays. Basic all-purpose flour will be sufficient. However, bread flour would yield stronger and crunchier simit rings. As I mentioned earlier, you can prepare this dough in your bread maker machine. If you still haven’t bought one yet, I highly recommend the top-seller bread machine by Hamilton Beach.
Homemade Turkish Simit Recipe
MAKING HOMEMADE TURKISH SIMIT WITH BREAD MACHINECourse: MainDifficulty: Easy
- Simit Dough
325 g all-purpose flour (use bread flour if you have for better results)
200 ml lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried yeast
150 g Sesame seeds
1/4 cup molasses syrup
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon wheat flour (all-purpose)
- Simit Dough
- Combine water and yeast in the bread maker’s bowl.
- Wait a minute until it becomes bubbly.
- Sift the flour to another bowl.
- Add in the sugar and salt, blend well with a whisk or spatula.
- Place the bread maker’s bowl in the machine.
- Add the flour mixture.
- Select the dough only cycle and press start.
- Remove the dough from the machine once the cycle is over.
- Transfer on to flour dusted surface.
- First divide the dough into five equal portions.
- Shape them into balls.
- Let them rest for ten minutes.
- Now, divide them into ten equal portions as pairs.And shape them into dough balls.
- Let them rest for another 10 minutes.
- Roll each dough ball into 40 – 45 cm length (about 17 inches).
- Tie and twist each pair as shown in below photo.
- Make sure you combine both ends to form a ring shape.
- Let the simit rings rest for 30 minutes.
- Toast the Sesame Seeds
- Add the untoasted sesame seeds to a pan.
- Roast over low heat until they all turn golden color.
- Make sure you stir with a spoon continuously.
- Transfer the toasted sesame seeds to a large plate.
- Add one tablespoon of wheat flour and blend well.
- Combine 1/4 cup of molasses syrup and 3/4 cup of water in a medium bowl.
- Stir well until they are uniformly mixed.
- Bringing it all together
- Dip the simit dough rings first into molasses mixture for about five seconds, and then dip them into toasted sesame seeds.
- Transfer the rings on to baking paper covered oven tray.
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
- Place an empty tray below and fill with warm water to create steam.
- Bake the simit rings for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they turn golden color crust.
- Be careful when opening the oven door as steam may be harmful if directly exposed. Stay away from the oven door when opening.
- You can also use untoasted sesame seeds. The original version is made with toasted seeds which give a nutty flavor.
- Serve simit with sliced feta cheese, black olives, and tomato along with freshly brewed black tea for the perfect traditional experience.
Making simit at home is not difficult if you pay attention to a few details. You can use regular sesame seeds, but they taste even better if you toast them in a skillet or pan. I added detailed directions below for that method. Note that this recipe is very straightforward. Plus, there are no overnight proofing or long fermentation periods. We prepare the dough and then divide and shape. All you need is 30 minutes once you are done shaping. Note that we dip the simit dough into molasses syrup and then into sesame seeds. The molasses syrup keeps the sesames on simit. Otherwise, they would fall off easily.
How do you reheat frozen simit?
Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Remove the simit from fridge and place on to baking tray. Reheat for about 7 to 8 minutes.
Is Simit Vegan?
Traditional simit is vegan. There are no eggs or other dairy products in the recipe. Almost all simit sold on streets are made with vegetable based ingredients.
How do you serve simit?
Simit is served with Turkish breakfast staples such as feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and black olives. You can also consume simit with sweets such as various jams and hazelnut-cocoa spreads.