Simit is truly a quintessential Turkish street food. Coated in sesame seeds and baked until golden brown, it is crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. These sesame bread rings are perfectly delicious on their own, but you can also slice them in half for making sandwiches.
½cupgrape molasses,date, fig or carob molasses can also be used
4tablespoonswater,combined with the grape molasses
2cups(5 ounces) golden sesame seeds
Bloom the yeast: Into a medium bowl, combine ¼ teaspoon sugar and 1 ½ cups lukewarm water (between 90-110°F). Add the yeast, mix with a small spoon and set aside for 5 to 8 minutes, until the yeast becomes foamy.
Make the dough: Into a large bowl, add the flour and salt. Stir to combine then make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture and stir to form a coarse dough.
Knead the dough: Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in size. A sunny spot on your countertop is perfect.
Preheat the oven, prepare the baking sheets and dipping station: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line 2 large size baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the grape molasses, with the remaining ¼ water in a large bowl, and whisk together. Pour the sesame seeds onto a large plate. Set it next to the bowl of molasses water.
Deflate and shape the dough: Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and stick your fist in the center of it to deflate or knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball and divide into 8 even sized pieces.
Cut and Stretch the dough: Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your hands to roll each dough segment into a long rope about 24-inches long. The dough is sturdy so you can apply gentle pressure as you roll and stretch the rope. I tend to work with my hands side by side in the center of the dough, rolling the dough back and forth and separating my hands as the dough lengthens.
Twist the dough: Fold each rope in half so two ends align and use your hands to twist it into a two stranded “rope.” Join the ends together to make a circle, and press them firmly together to seal the circle. Gently shape the area where you pressed the ends together to make it rounded and not flat. Repeat with the remaining dough. In the end you should have 8 twisted rope circles.
Dip each ring: Dip each ring, first into the molasses mixture, submerging it completely. If you don’t have enough liquid to submerge it, flip it over so both sides are coated. Remove it from the molasses mixture, gently shaking off any excess. Set the bread ring in the sesame seeds, turn gently to coat both sides. Transfer to the prepared tray and set aside at room temperature for about 15 minutes, to puff slightly. Repeat with the remaining ropes.
Bake: Place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until deep golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Substitutions for the grape molasses, pekmez: Grape molasses, üzüm pekmezi is traditionally used in making simit. Pekmez is a molasses-like syrup made from the juice and must of certain fruits, usually grapes or figs. If you can’t get grape molasses, then date, fig or carob molasses would work too. You can usually find these in Turkish, Greek, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean specialty stores.
Savory flavors are great with Simit, but sweet is too. Make a batch of simit then try it with our jam and honey.