No More Turkish Bagel: Simit Enters the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

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The Turkish word “simit” has finally entered the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The dictionary defined simit as a type of bread often coated with molasses and covered in sesame seeds. And so, it is originating in Turkey.

The Turkish word "simit" has finally entered the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
The Turkish word “simit” has finally entered the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Simit is widely famous as “Turkish bagels” in the world. These skinny rings of sesame-seed-covered dough are a ubiquitous sight on streets across Turkey. You encounter them in piles behind glassed-in pushcarts in streets, sitting out with “krem peynir” (cream cheese).

Simit is generally served plain, or for breakfast with tea, fruit preserves, or cheese or ayran. Drinking tea with simit is a very traditional thing. Traditionally, the dough consists of flour, water, yeast, and salt; then they’re dipped in water and “pekmez” (grape molasses) and rolled in sesame seeds before baking.

Simit is widely famous as "Turkish bagels" in the world
Simit is widely famous as “Turkish bagels” in the world

If you love bread as much as Turkish people do or if you enjoy bread baking as much as Turkish people do, you’re going to love today’s recipe. And you are in the right address. This traditional Turkish bread is a little bit of a project but it’s so fun to make. And it’s so tasty with all the toasted sesame seeds.

A Bit More Details on Simit!

Simit is a sesame crusted, circular bread from Turkey. Also, famous as Turkish bagel, Gevrek or Koulouri, this crusty bread is probably the most common bread in Turkey. Turkish people usually have it for breakfast and it always has a ring shape. You can usually buy simit in carts in Istanbul and the people who call simit sellers as simitci. There is a popular chain in Turkey and its name is Simit Sarayı which sells simit and other baked goods. They even have a branch in NYC on 5th avenue. It is very cool, isn’t it?

People in Turkey usually have simit for breakfast and it always has a ring shape.
People in Turkey usually have simit for breakfast and it always has a ring shape.

Here Are The Ingredients of Traditional Simit

Like many other bread recipes out there, a classic simit recipe calls for flour, yeast, salt, flour, sugar, water and vegetable oil. What makes this Turkish bread different than any other bread out there is that it’s dipped in a molasses and water mixture before being rolled in a pool of sesame seeds. The molasses and water combination gives this circular bread that unique brown colour. Thus, it compliments a very slight sweetness.

This Is How To Make Simit At Home

What makes this Turkish bread different than any other is molasses and water mixture
What makes this Turkish bread different than any other is molasses and water mixture

⇒ The process of making simit at home is so fun and rewarding. Start by placing 4 cups of flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Add in warm water and vegetable oil. Start mixing using the dough hook until the dough comes together and is a little sticky. If the dough is too sticky and sticks to the bowl, start adding the 5th cup of flour one tablespoon at a time. You will probably need only 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour.

⇒ Once the dough has come together and is a little sticky, it’s time to knead the dough. Knead the simit dough using a dough hook for about 8 minutes until it’s not sticky anymore. Cover the bowl and let it rise for 1.5 hours until it doubles in size.

Simit also famous as Turkish bagel, Gevrek or Koulouri
Simit also famous as Turkish bagel, Gevrek or Koulouri

⇒ Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds and in a shallow and wide dish (like a pie dish) whisk together the molasses and water. After 1.5 hours, check on the simit dough which must have double by now. Carefully punch in down and knead it for a few seconds. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll out two of the dough pieces into 25-inch tubes each. Place them parallel to each other and roll in opposite directions to make a twist (you can check out the step-by-step photos). Meet and pinch the ends on both sides together to form a circle. Repeat with the remaining 14 pieces to make 7 more simits.

Making Simit at Home Is Lots of Fun!

⇒ Dip each twisted dough in the molasses and water combination and make sure it’s covered on both sides. Then dip them in toasted sesame seeds and ensure they are fully coated.

Simit is one of the top flavours in Turkey that you should not miss
Simit is one of the top flavours in Turkey that you should not miss

⇒ Let the dough circles rest for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake the simits in the oven for 12-15 minutes until they are brown and fully baked.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH HOMEMADE SIMIT  

Simit is traditionally serving for breakfast with white (feta) cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes. Sometimes, you can find Simit sandwiches with cheese such as mozzarella plus some tomatoes. It’s also common to have simit on its own as a snack.

Carts selling simit and tram of Istiklal Avenue offers a perfect panorama of Turkey
Carts selling simit and tram of Istiklal Avenue offers a perfect panorama of Turkey

In short, you can serve this round sesame bread with almost any kind of cheese you like. Turkish people also love having it with jam or chocolate spreads, needless to say, that tahini and molasses are another favourites spread that compliments this Turkish bread very nicely.

Buon appetite!

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