I’m pretty sure you know about Turkish Simits – those big round bread rings with sesame seeds on top. Sometimes they are crispy and delicious, other times a bit chewy.
I like it when they’re chewy … you know, so you really have to pull it apart. And this is exactly how these Simit, which I baked last Sunday, became. SO nice …
Yes, I have baked them before. And also posted the recipe in here (you can see it right here). Those Simits were the more softer version. These simits here, are the slightly darker, slightly more chewy ones – also called Istanbul Simit.
The taste, crispness and size vary in different places in the country (as well as throughout the Middle East, where the Ottomans dominated and took their food with them). Istanbul is known for the simits , that are smaller in size and a more chewy texture, difficult to be pulled apart. Izmir has a very crispy simit (also called “Gevrek” = crispy) and Ankara has an even smaller, more soft and darker simit end of other cities.
Turkish simits for breakfast:
Turkish simits are often used for breakfast along with various jams, fresh cheese, tomatoes, peppers and fruit. And for me, it’s simply one of the best breakfasts you can have. So yes, I like to go to the bakery, when I visit my father-in-law in the village and come home with everything whatever I can find. And always freshly baked simits.
But for afternoon tea, it’s also easy, with a quick little simit to.
And it must be said, that dear child has many names. In the United States, simit is known as the “Turkish bagel“, in some places in Turkey it is called “Gevrek” and other places “Susam Kebab“. It can also be served with and without sesame, with sunflower seeds, flax seeds, with filling etc.
Always just as popular:
Turkish Simit has a long history in Istanbul and has been produced here since 1525. In the 1700s, there were as many as 70 simit bakeries spread throughout Istanbul, where people queued to get the freshly baked, hot delicacies. Something that apparently hasn’t changed.
Simit is still just as popular and you may still be lucky to see salespeople walking around town with their big round dishes on their heads and loudly offering fresh simit / “Taze simit”. Something I’ve always been a little intrigued by.
Here’s how to bake Turkish simits:
It’s actually quite easy to bake Turkish simit – easier than you might think. But there are just a few tips, that are good to know.
Although I have a mixer, which I am very happy with, I knead this dough in my hand – in fact, with a fork like when you make pasta. When all the liquid in the middle is absorbed, then knead the dough, but not too much. It just has to be a little hard in the texture.
Put plastic over every time it is set to raise. Then you keep the moisture inside the dough and the breads does not dry.
And just a few more tips:
Each simit should weigh approx. 60 grams (dough) and the dough may be a bit sticky. Roll it tightly into a long index-finger -thin tube (so that not much air comes in), put it together with another “tube”. Hold on each end of the two long sausages/tubes and roll your hands away from each other (ie one hand toward your stomach and one away from it). Then you get some nice twists on the dough. Put the ends together and roll the joint slightly, so that it looks nice and natural too.
And then just the ultimate advice… da da daaaa… are you ready ?? Mix a tablespoon of flour into the molasses-water mixture (it will make the rings chewy in the crust). Bum – wasn’t it a nice-to-know advice ?? Dip the rings into the molasses mixture and then into the sesame seeds and press them slightly flat.
And yes, then it’s just about baking them in the oven with a bit of water and then otherwise letting them cool down a bit, so they’re ready to be eaten.
It was ok easy, wasn’t it? 😉
Turkish Simits – breadrings with sesame seeds
- 1,25 cup water, lukewarm
- 1½ tsp dries yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp bake powder
- 5 gram salt
- 500 gram normal flour, (you can take 150 mg and replace it with a finer flour (ex. Manitoba flour) if you want). I used 150 mg Baklava flour
- 1 dl üzümü pekmez (liquid molasses made of grapes – or an other molasses). Available from ethnic green grocerys
- 0,1 cup water
- 1 spsk flour
- sesame seeds
- 1: Mix the water with the yeast and let it dissolve2: If you use 2 types of flour, mix them with sugar, salt and baking powder, pour on the table and form a circle with wide edges3: Pour a little of the water into the circle and slowly mix it with the flour from the sides. Use a fork. Gradually add some water until it is all used up4: Knead the whole dough together to a uniform mass. The dough is a bit hard and should not be kneaded too much.5: Let the dough rise under plastic for about 30-40 minutes6: Turn on the oven at 250 °, not hot air, but preferably a moisture program if you have it on the oven. 7: Divide the dough into 12 small buns of 60 grams each8: The dough may be a bit sticky, but the air must be squeezed out, while rolling the buns to long sausages of about 30 cm (each sausage should be about the thickness of one index finger)9: The sausages are assembled two and two (so you get 6 in total). Place the sausages side by side on the table. Hold a hand in each end and roll the hands apart (one hand toward the stomach and one away from the stomach). At that point you get some nice twists on the bread10: Gather the ends / merge the ends into each other and roll them together11: Stir the mixture of pekmez / molasses + water + flour into a deep dish, fill another plate with sesame seeds. Now turn each simit first into the molasses and cover it completely and then the sesame seeds.12: Place on a baking tray (max. 3 at a time) and lightly press flat13: turn the oven down to 230 ° and insert the 1. tray for about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Pur some water at the bottom of the oven, so it wil damp a bit. Bake the breads. Afterwards take the 1. tray out and put the second one in. Remember to pur some water in the bottom again. If necessary, press the bread again a single time during baking14: Cool simit on a rack and serve…
2: If you have a bakingstone or metal tray, insert it when you turn on the stove, so it can heat up. Then reduce the baking time with 1/3 of the time.