For years that I lived in Turkey, simit was my everyday breakfast when I was running to school or to work. Street vendors sell it in every corner of the cities or they walk through street by yelling “simiiiiit, sicak taze simiiit, gevrek simiit” meaning freshly baked, crunchy simits. I loved to wake up early in the morning by their simit selling chanting. When you hear it, you run to the window or balcony and yell him to stop and tell him how many you want. Either you jump on the street with still your pj’s on or he comes to door to bring your simits. Roasted sesames on the simit smells so good that gives you even more appetite. First thing is put the kettle on to make turkish tea, then slice a tomato, put the feta cheese, kasseri cheese and olives on the table and devour everything with warm, crunchy outside but soft and chewy inside simit. Oh, great memories!
It sounds like simit is eaten mostly for breakfast but we grab it anytime of the day as a snack when we are passing through simit bakeries or street vendors even if it’s second or third one for the same day.
Simit’s name, size, crunch and chewiness vary by region. In Izmir, where I’m from, we call it “Gevrek”, it means crunchy (because what it is!). Simit for us is a softer version of it. I believe, it makes a lot of sense…
Today, I’m making simit at home, hopefully it will be available at Su soon. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
- 2 tsp dried yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 300 g (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup grape molasses
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven 500F degrees. Place an ovenproof pan filled with water in the oven. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the middle rack.
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar in lukewarm water for few minutes until frothy.
- Put the flour, yeast mixture, salt and lukewarm in a heavy-duty mixer bowl. Knead for about 10 minutes with the dough hook. If you are kneading by hand it takes about 20 minutes. Transfer the dough in greased bowl, cover and let rise 2 hours.
- Knead the dough on lightly floured surface to make a log and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, place them on a baking sheet, cover and let rise 30 minutes.
- Roll each ball into 10inch long rope. Hold one end while twisting it with the other end. Form this twisted rope into a ring. Return the rings on the baking sheet and let rest 30 minutes.
- Dissolve the molasses with ½ cup water in a bowl. Place sesame seeds in a baking sheet. Dip each simit in molasses mixture and then in sesame seed, making sure each simit is completely coated with the seeds. Let rest another 30 minutes.
- When ready to cook, take each ring to enlarge it about 6-7inc circle by rotating gently with your hands. Place them carefully on the pizza stone, it must be dangerously hot at this point. If you don’t have pizza stone, heated pastry sheet can do too. Cook about 20-25 minutes until rich brown color. Let rest to cool about 20-30 minutes before eating.