Simits are my favorite breakfast food. They are one of the most widely consumed breakfast food products in the Balkans and Turkey. Paired with a glass of plain yogurt and it is a start to a really good day for me. BUT! The bakeries around here do not make this type of bread, which looks like a bagel covered with sesame seeds. So in order for me to have it I have to either wait until my next trip to Macedonia or make my own at home. Let me tell you, that is not an easy task.
First, I want to give praise to all the bakers out there; You guys are amazing! Baking is a science and we are not all equipped to understand it, even yours truly. I have been struggling with these simits for over two weeks now; too much flour, not enough yeast, too flat, too bubbly, on and on and on… I finally gave up on doing it my way and I turned to the pros.
When it comes to Simits, the buzz around the web is to consult Ayla E. Algar, author of the cookbook, “Classical Turkish Cooking”. I followed her recipe to the “T”, and people are not lying; these are one of the best Simits I have ever tasted. Even my one year old had TWO of them…with sesame seeds and all. I was shocked.
- 3½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- Pinch of sugar
- ¼ cup warm water
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- About 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 cups sesame seeds
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in ¼ cup warm water and let stand 10 minutes in a warm place until frothy.
- Mix flour, yeast mixture, salt and water. Knead at least 15 minutes by hand, or 10 minutes by heavy-duty mixer, until the dough is very smooth and springy. Put the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 2 hours.
- Knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured work surface, roll into a log, and divide into equal pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball and let rest under a slightly damp towel about 30 minutes.
- Roll each ball into a 14 inch long rope. Then form this rope into a ring, pressing and rolling the overlapping ends together on the work surface with one hand to seal. Place on a greased baking sheet and let rest 1 hour.
- Dissolve the molasses in 1 cup water in a bowl. Put the sesame seeds in another bowl and set it next to the molasses water. Dip each “simit” in molasses water first, then in the sesame seeds, making sure the “simit” is completely and thickly coated with the seeds on all sides. Put it back on the baking sheet and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 550 degrees 30 minutes before baking.
- Take each ring and rotate it gently through your hands, enlarging it into a 7 inch circle. Place the rings back on the baking sheet and let rest for 15 minutes or until well puffed.
- Bake about 15-20 minutes until rich golden brown in color.
- They are their best eaten fresh out of the oven. They will be good all day. You can also reheat them wrapped in foil to freshen them.
You can have simits with a glass of plain yogurt or with a cup of tea. You can also slice it like a bagel and spread your favorite topping; jam, cream cheese, jelly, etc…