Simit

As the Summer is coming to an end, I find myself looking at the World Map, travel guide books, and watching culinary travel shows and planning our family’s next Summer vacation.  I know, crazy, right? I’ve been looking into going to Turkey for a while, but once again, the gas prices have sky  rocketed and it’s affecting the airfares.  For now, we have decided to postpone going to Turkey or any other European countries and instead look into Central/South America.  Japan was a definite option, but the dollar has gone extremely low against Japan, I don’t think it’s worth visiting until dollar goes up a lot!!  Who knows, we still have a long while to decide.  I had a list of places to eat in Turkey.  Yes, you read that right, not a list of places to visit for sightseeing, but to eat.  One Turkish food I really wanted to try in Turkey is their bread called Simit.  It’s been sold on the street, and it can be eaten plain, or with jam and cheese (for breakfast and snacks).  I got this recipe from Classical Turkish Cooking – Ayla E. Algar

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Dough
3½ teaspoon active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
¼ cup warm water
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoon salt
About 1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoon molasses
1 cup water

Topping
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 12 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. Hold down one end of the rope with one hand while twisting it with the other. Then form this twisted rope into 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. (See photo below)
  • 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°F 30 minutes before baking. Put a few cups of water in an ovenproof pan and place it in the oven.
  • 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. (See photo below)
  • 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.

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I served my simit with honey drizzled over farmer’s cheese
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My opinion: This was time consuming, but simple enough.  Don’t be intimidated by using yeast, kneading and letting the dough rise.  After few times you will get a hang of it, and you get to “communicate” with your dough.  Even when you have to roll out the dough to 14 inches long, after once or twice of rolling and measuring the length, you find the most efficient way of rolling (for me I rolled the dough between my two palms, and also did the light jump rope action – is there a term to that? I don’t know).  Don’t be afraid to try it out, because the end result is soooo worth it!!

We fell in love with simit!!  I know I will be asked to bake this often, and I am more than happy to bake this.  Thank you Turkey for creating such wonderful bread!!

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2 thoughts on “Simit

  1. kore honto oishikatta! we have some Turks, but not enough to have Turkish bakery. Unless I go visit Turkey or other European countries with high Turkish population I can't eat this, sigh…

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