Simit is popular street food in Turkey and you can find many selling it in the streets of Istanbul. It looks like the American bagel except it’s not boiled before baking, it’s sesame-crusted bread, and is softer in texture from the inside. This simit recipe is egg-free. Having a simit with feta cheese and slices of olives transforms your breakfast into a sophisticated and royal-like breakfast. Preparing simit will not take much of your time, and there is no rolling pin involved! Watch the video tutorial to see how easy it is to make this amazing bread!
What Is Simit?
Simit is a Turkish loop-shaped bread, encrusted with sesame seeds, and you can find it encrusted with sunflower seeds. It is also called Cracknel and Gevrek and served for breakfast. Some simit recipes call for the simit to be boiled before baking, but in today’s recipe, we are skipping that step.
Although the shape of the simit doesn’t change, however, the thickness changes, you can find thick simit, which is good for making sandwiches and is usually softer in texture from the inside. The thin version is crispier and darker in color.
You can buy simit from bakeries and carts located in most of Turkey’s streets.
Ingredients to Make Simit
Find below the simple ingredients you will need to make this Turkish bread. These ingredients could be in your kitchen already.
All-purpose flour: You can use a combination of all-purpose and bread flour, but since simit is lighter in texture than American bagels it is best to stick with all-purpose flour.
Yeast: I have used active dry yeast. There is no need to prove the yeast which saves time, and the taste of the yeast is mild. You can use the yeast you have available at home, use the same measurement as the active yeast.
Vegetable oil: When baking bread, I like to add a little oil even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. Oil makes the bread softer in texture with tender crumbs.
Molasses: If you don’t have molasses-like (grape molasses and pomegranate molasses) read the notes section in the recipe card below to learn how to make a substitute, I have included the making of the molasses substitute in the video tutorial as well.
What is the Difference Between Simit and the American Bagel?
American bagel is firmer in texture, and at times spices like cinnamon are added to the dough and the bagel is boiled before baking and is smaller yet thicker than traditional Turkish simit. While simit is plain from the inside, the American bagel can raisins.
How to Make Simit?
I always say that homemade bread is much better than store-bought, and it is true in making simit too. Store leftover simits to enjoy a delicious breakfast whenever you crave it.
- Making simit starts by adding the water, yeast, and sugar to a mixing bowl and mixing it well. We are not proofing the yeast here since I am using active dry yeast, but it is to make sure that the yeast has dissolved.
- In a different bowl, we will add the flour, salt, and oil. Make sure to mix the ingredients well.
- Gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour and knead. The dough will be sticky at first but will turn into a smooth dough after a few minutes of kneading. You can also use a stand mixer.
- Cover the dough and let it rise for one hour to one and a half-hour. Proofing time may be longer if your kitchen is cold.
- Now that you are waiting for the dough to rise, go ahead and toast the sesame seeds if you didn’t buy a toasted sesame seed. Toasting sesame seeds brings out more flavor and amazing aroma.
- This recipe will make 4 medium size simits. Form 4 equal-sized balls; roll out the balls into a 20 to 22-inch rope. Fold the rope in half, braid both halves of the rope, join two ends together to form a circle, press the ends firmly to seal.
Dipping the simit
- Mix the molasses with water, and on another plate, add the sesame seeds. Dip the simit from both sides in the molasses first and then in the sesame seeds, then place the bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover the simit with a damp cloth and let it proof and rise again for 30 minutes, of course, if your kitchen is cold then you will need to proof it longer.
- Bake the bread for 15 to 17 minutes in a preheated oven.
- Enjoy it with delicious Turkish tea.
How to Store Simit?
To keep the simit on the kitchen counter, place it in a Ziplock bag, and make sure to take out as much air from the bag as you can. The simit will stay fresh for up to three days.
To freeze, place the bread in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
When you are ready to have the simit, place it on the countertop and let it thaw or you can place it in a preheated oven 400F/200C for 10 – 15 minutes without thawing.
What to Serve with Simit?
Usually, it is served with feta cheese; most people have it in the morning therefore it can be served with eggs, different types of cheese, butter, or jam. Some cut this bread in half, spread the feta cheese on one half, and top it with slices of cucumber, olives, and tomato.
But this bread is so delicious; you can have it plain with milk or tea.
Other Bread Recipes You Must Try:
Simit Turkish Bagels Recipe
TO MAKE THE SIMIT
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour Spooned and leveled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup of warm water
TO DIP THE SIMIT
- 2 tablespoon molasses mixed with 3 tablespoon water.
- ¾ cup sesame seeds
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon water
MAKING MOLASSES SUBSTITUTE
- In a saucepan, add the dark brown sugar, water, and mix well. Cook over medium heat until the syrup is thicker in texture. The texture should be as thick as honey.
- Let the syrup cool; it will get thicker is it cools.
- Add three tablespoon water to the dark brown sugar syrup and dip the simit in it and then in the toasted sesame seeds.
TO TOAST THE SESAME SEEDS
- In a pan, add the sesame seeds and toast on medium heat until golden in color. Turn off heat and place the sesame seeds in a plate to cool.
MAKING THE SIMIT
- In a bowl, add the sugar, yeast, and warm water, mix and keep aside for 3 minutes.
- In a different bowl, add the flour, salt, and vegetable oil. Mix well with your hand or a wooden spoon. Add the water and yeast mixture gradually to the flour and knead.
- The dough will be sticky the first 2 minutes of kneading, but gradually the dough will get firmer and smoother. Knead the dough for at least 7 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave in warm place to double in size, this will take 1 hour to one hour and a half.
- To make medium size simit, form 4 equal size balls from the dough.
- Dust the working surface with flour, using your hands form a long rope from the previous balls. Roll out the balls into a 20 to 22-inch rope. Fold the rope in half, braid both halves of the rope, join two ends together to form a circle, press the ends firmly to seal.
- Dip both sides of the simit in the molasses mixture first, then in the sesame seeds, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise again for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Bake the simit for 15 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven.
- Serve warm with jam, honey, or feta cheese.