Turkish breakfast was served to the family on the weekend as I was so tempted to try making this Simit bread which was always at the back of my mind since I visited Istanbul few years back. You will see those street vendors standing or rolling up their carts through the streets or bazaars to sell this amazing looking bread which is their livelihood.
Simit is a twisted circular bread, typically dunked in molasses and encrusted with sesame seeds or, less commonly, poppy, flax or sunflower seeds. This is found across the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, and the Middle East. Its also known as Gevrek, Bokeh, or Koulouri. The size of the bread, its crunch, chewiness, and other characteristics vary slightly by region. They are typically served in the breakfast with lebnah, salad, fresh fruit jams, honey, olives etc.
I made the classical version of this bread, encrusted with toasted sesame seeds. Served the Simit with the Turkish lebnah which was dabbed with chilli infused burnt butter. Alongside that was the shakshuka made by my daughter. Man the whole combo was delicious!
Saffron, rose petal and camomile infused tea was also served in the Turkish tea glasses. Bought these beautiful hour glass shaped tea cups(very typical to Turkey) back in Sydney from a Turkish grocery cum crockery shop. Had them with me over 2 decades, still pretty intact after number of transits and so many years of traveling to different continents and countries, but as soon as I finished shooting for the spread, one of the saucers broke. It was heart breaking! 😔
Follow the step by step recipe below and try making these interesting looking delicious breads at home which is pretty simple and easy to make. Bake your own bread at home during these interesting times. Stay home, stay safe!
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
BAKE TIME: 25 minutes
PASSIVE TIME: 1 hour
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp instant yeast
5 cups all purpose flour plus 2 tbsp extra for dusting and kneading
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
250g/ 1 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2/3 cup water, extra
In a stand mixer bowl, fitted with the hook attachment, pour 1 cup of warm water, add sugar and yeast, let it rest for 10 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy.
Add olive oil and the second cup of warm water to the foamy yeast water and add 2 cups of flour. On a medium low speed, mix the dough until no dry bits of flour are visible. Let it stand for 20 minutes.
Now gradually add rest of the flour in increments along with salt until a dough ball is formed wrapped around the hook. If required, add bit more flour to the dough if your dough is bit loose and sticky.
Remove it on a lightly floured surface, knead it for 5 minutes to smoothen it. Tucking the seam side down, place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with damp kitchen towel or lightly oiled cling film. Leave it for an hour at a warm place in kitchen and let it rise double in size.
Once the dough is fermented, transfer it to the lightly floured surface, divide the dough in 10 equal parts. Cover them with a kitchen towel to prevent them from drying.
Take a piece of dough, drop it on a non-floured surface. Now roll it back and forth with your hands and make a long thin rope, about 2 feet long. Bend it in half from the center and hold the two loose ends together in one hand and twist the rope with your other hand to make the twisted rope. Now join the two ends together, slightly overlapping each other and make a circle/ring. To secure the loose ends, hold the dough ring from the top with one hand and with the other hand roll it back and forth to make it tight and secured.
Repeat step 6 with rest of the dough pieces. Cover with kitchen towel and while working on the other pieces of dough.
In a large bowl, mix pomegranate molasses and water to prepare the bath for the bread.
Now dunk the bread in molasses water bath and dip them in toasted sesame seeds on both sides. Place it on the baking tray. Repeat the step for the other breads and let it prove for 30 minutes.
Bake the bread in preheated oven at 180° C for 25-30 minutes.
Serve these with chilli infused burnt butter lebnah, olives, jams, honey and shakshuka for a scrumptious Turkish breakfast.
Make the healthier version of the same bread by replacing the all purpose flour with the wholemeal flour.