How To Make Turkish Simit Bread

by | Bread Muffins & Crackers

Turkish bread rings, encrusted in sesame seeds and made from simple bread dough or sweetened spongy dough. 

How To Make Turkish Simit Bread
Turkish Simit Bread

What Is Simit?

Turkey’s most loved twisted dough, ring-shaped bread, coated with molasses and encrusted with sesame seeds, is often eaten for breakfast, perfect for a home cooked meze/Tapas spread also sold as street food on nearly every street in Turkey.  

Bread

Nearly every culture has its favorite bread, no matter the shape or flavor. Simit is the most loved bread of Turkey, and now we can make this fabulous bread right in our own kitchens!

Many cultures also have what is considered ‘street food’, something easy to grab while on the go, on a busy city street. Simit, in Turkey, is a favorite street food most often eaten for breakfast, though any meal would be my favorite time to eat it!

How To Make Turkish Simit Bread
Molasses and Seeds

While Simit is round, like a donut, it is most often sold as a bread and not a dessert. While it also gives the illusion of a bagel, it is way more than a bagel.

Simit is dense with seeds practically glued to the outside by dipping the dough in a molasses and water mix then rolling the dough in seeds, lots and lots of sesame seeds.

The molasses leaves very little flavor. It is used mostly to impart the golden color when the bread is baked as well as aiding as the glue to keep the seeds stuck to the bread. Oh… the lovely nutty flavor those seeds impart!

How To Make Turkish Simit Bread
Simit For Tapas

Simit Is Bread!

Bread is my absolute favorite thing in the world to eat! I love making bread at home and I always make it by hand, never a mixer, so I’m always looking for new bread recipes from around the world that are easy to mix, knead and bake. 

While I found contradicting versions of simit recipes, I went into the kitchen instead and created my own, based on the most attractive aspects of the recipes I came across. And anyway… doesn’t every cook put their own twist on the most traditional of family recipes passed down to them!

My Twist On Simit

While my first batch of Simit was made the traditional way; flour, yeast, molasses for dipping and lots of sesame seeds to encrust the bread.

I couldn’t help but to try a different flour, one that is more rustic. I swapped out white wheat flour for spelt flour and I swapped out sesame seeds for hemp heart seeds. Both of these versions are my absolute favorite!

While Pita Bread is what I grew up making and eating with Mediterranean Food, Simit has become my favorite bread of recent years because is turns out beautifully being made with both all purpose flour and spelt flour.

How To Make Turkish Simit Bread
Tapas Dinner At Home

How To Make And Shape Simit

Like any homemade bread recipe, the dough is mixed and folded again and again until the dough is no longer sticking to your fingers. Then it has to rise, covered in a warm, not hot, place. Usually an hour or more. Once the first rise is done, the real fun with these twisted rings begins. 

A traditional flavor enhancer in Simit, as well as in many other Mediterranean breads, is Mahlab, also known as Mahlepi.

It has a lovely, delicate, sort of nutty flavor, from the wild cherry pits and are usually sold already ground into a powder. It isn’t necessary to use in the bread though it does add a lovely extra flavor not easily substituted for. 

While this recipe is intended to make about 8 rings of simit, 16 long strips of dough will be needed to cut from the risen dough.

Laying 2 strips, that have been stretched to about a foot each, side by side, pinch one end together, pick them up holding the pinched end and twirl the 2 strips round and round so that they wrap around each other. (Picture below examples). 

How To Make Turkish Simit Bread
Shaping Simit

These beautiful rounds get dipped in a molasses and water mixture, placed in a bowl of sesame seeds to coat both sides, then baked on a baking tray until golden.

Ingredients Needed

  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Oil or melted butter
  • Mahlab – an optional spice
  • Molasses
  • Sesame seeds

Equipment Needed

  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Basting brush
  • Kitchen towel to cover dough while rising
  • Baking sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven

How To Make Turkish Simit Bread

Recipe by Robin DaumitCourse: Bread Muffins u0026amp; CrackersCuisine: Turkish
Servings

8

servings

Turkish bread rings, encrusted in sesame seeds and made from simple bread dough or sweetened spongy dough. 

Ingredients

  • Instant Yeast – 1 tablespoon

  • Sugar – 2 teaspoon, to proof the yeast

  • Salt – 1 tablespoon

  • Water – 1 1/2 cups, lukewarm

  • Flour – 3 3/4 cups, give or take plus extra for shaping

  • Oil or Melted butter – 2 tablespoon

  • Mahlab/Mahlepi – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

  • Molasses – 1/4 cup

  • Water – 1/2 cup

  • Sesame seeds – 1 1/2 cups, lightly toasted

Directions

  • Pour water in a bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar on top. Let sit 5 minutes to form a foam. Sprinkle salt, mahlab (if using) and add a little flour. Stir. Slowly add flour and stir until it becomes difficult to stir. Now it’s time to get a little messy. With your hands, begin to press added flour into the dough, add more flour, and keep pressing and folding, adding flour until it forms a lovely plump ball. There is no need for strenuous kneading, just a simple press, fold, flour, press, fold, flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your fingers.
  • In a clean large bowl, pour a little oil to glaze the bowl. Place dough ball in the oiled bowl, cover and let it sit in a warm (not hot) place to rise. It will rise in about one hour. A little longer in cooler climate.
  • Once it rises, sprinkle a little flour on top, and punch it down. On a floured surface, roll into a long log and cut 16 sections. Lay 2 strips, that have been rolled and stretched to about a foot each, side by side, pinch one end together. Pick them up holding the pinched end and twirl the 2 strips round and round so that they wrap around each other. Bring the long twisted roll into a circle and press the ends together. Do the same to all the sections until you have 8 rings.
  • In one bowl, wide enough to dip the dough rings in, whisk the molasses with 1/2 cup of water. In another bowl of similar size, place the toasted sesame seeds. Dip one twisted dough ring into the molasses mix quickly, both sides, then dip into the sesame seeds to coat both sides. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do the same for the other 7.
  • Preheat oven to 400 and allow the dough to sit on the counter for 30 minutes to rise a little more.
  • Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until golden on top.

Notes

  • If a spelt dough is desired instead of the wheat flour, simply swap out the wheat flour for spelt flour but also add 1 tablespoon of potato starch to the flour. Spelt flour is a more rustic flour and can be heavy so it needs a little help in the rising process. I find potato starch the perfect assistance. 
  • If hemp heart seeds are desired instead of toasted sesame seeds (lots more protein in using these little seeds), no toasting is needed. Simply dip the molasses coated dough rings into a bowl of hemp seeds and follow the same instructions for the wheat flour Simit. 
How To Make Turkish Simit Bread
Turkish Simit Bread
 

My Muffin Madness

 

In my family, I’ve always been known as the ‘Muffin Queen’. Out of necessity, I created muffins for breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks, sometimes dinner and a sweet yet healthyish treat for dessert!

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