Simit (Turkish Bagels) for #BreadBakers

This month’s #BreadBakers event was hosted by Heather of Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, who chose bagels as our theme.  I’ve made bagels several times before and tried a few styles (traditional New York bagels, thinner crispy ones) so I wanted to use this as an opportunity to try something different.  If you’re interested you can read my previous bagel posts where I made Peter Reinhart’s bagels and pumpkin bagels.

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Simit are sort of a Turkish variation of a bagel that is braided and covered in sesame seeds.  After I took the baguette class at Zingerman’s I made baguettes non-stop for weeks,and I have a feeling these are going to be the same way.  This recipe made 10 and after shipping 5 off to a friend the remaining 5 didn’t last very long.  This is also an exceptionally simple and relatively quick recipe if you are looking for something to try without having to dedicate an entire day.

These had a wonderfully crisp outside with a very soft and chewy inside.  They are thinner than a bagel you would normally have and are not boiled, just baked.  The crisp outside and unique taste comes from soaking the dough in pekmez, a molasses made from fruit juice, before coating with sesame seeds. The fruit molasses I was able to find in the stores I went to was made with pomegranates.

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One of my favorite things about these was the look that twisting the dough before shaping gave to the simit.  I’ve made a few braided loaves before and think it is a relatively simple thing to do that adds a great deal visually to the finished product.  I had most of these plain, and made a sandwich with the last one of the batch.  It seems that typically they are accompanied with something savory, but you may find other things that pair well.

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Thanks again to Heather for doing the work to host the event and put it together, scroll past the recipe to see what the other #BreadBakers were up to this month!

Simit (Makes 10)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp dried yeast
  • 3 1/4 C (500 g) AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 C pekmez
  • 1 1/2 C + 1/3 C water, divided
  • 1 C sesame seeds

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl combine yeast, flour, salt, and 1 1/2 C of water.  Mix on medium speed in a stand mixer with the dough hook for 4-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  This will take 7-8 minutes if kneading by hand.

Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Preheat over to 425 F.  In a bowl combine pekmez and remaining 1/3 C of water and mix until well combined.  Pour out onto a medium sized plate.  Pour sesame seeds out onto another plate and spread to create a thin layer.

Turn the dough out onto an unfloured surface and divide 10 pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball.   Working one at a time, roll out each ball of dough to a long rope about 20 inches long.  Fold the rope in half so that both ends touch, then twist in opposite directions from each end to create a braided rope.

Join the two ends of the rope together and press firmly to seal.  Dip the ring into the pekmez/water mixture then toss in the sesame seeds, coating on both sides.  Transfer to the baking sheet and set aside.  Repeat for the remaining balls of dough.

When finished let the shaped simit rise for 20 minutes uncovered.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing if you would like to eat them warm.  Otherwise let cool for 2 hours.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your hands to roll the dough out to make 55 cm (22″) long ropes. Fold in half so two ends align, then lift off the board and use your hands to twist each rectangle into a two stranded “rope”. Place back on the work surface and join the ends together to make a circle, pressing the ends firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 10 rope circles.

Recipe courtesy of Ozlem’s Turkish Table.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the delicious bagels:

BreadBakers

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com

25 thoughts on “Simit (Turkish Bagels) for #BreadBakers

  1. Yes! I’ve been looking forward to this post! I had no idea about the pomegranate molasses being used in making these. Very cool. I’ve had simit before from a Mediterranean bakery. Theirs were not braided and looked like ring toss rings with a really huge hole in the center. I like the look of these braided guys very much. Nice, Adam!

    • Yeah I watched a few videos online of people making them and it seemed that more often than not they were much bigger (exactly like ring toss rings). I think next time I make these I might try that, but I would have to halve the recipe since it would take up so much more space on the baking sheets.

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  3. I just happen to have not one, but two, bottles of pomegranate molasses in my cupboard. Well, I do live in the Middle East after all. I can’t wait to try these, Adam. I love the texture the braiding adds to the simit. Whatever compliment I could add about their appearance would be superfluous to Ozlem’s “Your simit look wonderful!” But I concur.

  4. I think I should have braided mine instead. They look really cool. I will do that next time. I put these on my to do list very soon.

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    • It was a really great experience, Wendy. If you ever find yourself in the area they have classes that are about 4 hours (like my baguette one) that are easier to fit into a full day drip. For right now it’s harder for me to get closer to the deli, I’m about a block away!

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  8. So how do I send you my address so that I can get simit shipped to me? You’re an awesome friend to have! I’ve only heard of simit before and thought of making them for next month’s challenge. But mine would never hold a candle to yours.

  9. I’ve never heard of simit before, thought you had just done a twist (literally!) on a bagel! These look awesome – I’d love to try making them now that I’ve heard of it.

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