I could’ve sworn it was The Great British Bake Off that introduced simit to me. But now that I’m writing this post, I can’t seem to find any reference to simit being on the show! Was I hallucinating? Welp, it doesn’t matter because I made some delicious simit… with a twist (pun intended).
Simit are Turkish bagels that are twisted into a ring. They’re known as many different names: simit, koulouri, gevrek, bokegh, and Turkish bagels as we call them in the US. These Turkish bagels are made from a yeasted dough dipped in molasses water and covered in sesame seeds. Simit are baked to a golden brown and the inside is pillowy soft. The word “simit” comes from Arabic meaning “white bread” and are an important food staple in Turkey. The main difference between simit and a regular bagel is that bagels are poached in boiling water prior to baking whereas simit do not get poached. Instead, they are dipped in molasses water.
So what’s so special about my Turkish bagels? First off, I make mine half the size of a normal one. The classic ones found in Turkey are typically at least 6″ in diameter. I purposely made mine smaller to eat them like a bagel. Second, while I kept the dough very traditional, I mixed things up a bit with the coating and molasses dip. For the coating, I also added aonori to the tops of the bagels. I love the savory/sweet taste of the aonori against the toasty flavor of the sesame seeds. The next thing I did was add shoyu to the molasses dip to add a bit of salinity and umami. While these changes were subtle, I feel the change up makes it something more suited to what I want to eat these Turkish bagels with…
LOX! I bought a pound of salmon this weekend and cured it just to go with these bagels. I’m just going to point out that I have breakfast to last me for a few days now. You can eat the simit with anything you want – not just with lox. A classic combination to to eat it with eggs or yogurt.
Overall, I feel Turkish bagels are pretty easy to make, but there are a few pitfalls to watch out for:
- Overheating the milk/water and killing the yeast. In the past, I’VE ALWAYS KILLED MY YEAST. I don’t know what is wrong with me but I kept using milk that was too hot. The milk should be warm to the touch. If you can put your finger in it and leave it there, then it’s a good temperature.
- Proofing in a cold room. Try to find somewhere warm to proof the dough; even an unheated oven could work!
Turkish Bagels with Seaweed
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 package (0.75g) active dry yeast
- 1 medium egg, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup shoyu
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- Aonori flakes
- Step 1 Mix milk, water, sugar, and active dry yeast in a large bowl with a whisk. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- Step 2 Add egg, oil, and salt and whisk together.
- Step 3 Add flour and mix with a spatula until dough is shaggy. Knead dough with hands until it forms a ball and comes off the edges of the bowl cleanly.
- Step 4 Lightly coat the sides of the bowl with oil and place dough inside the bowl. Wrap with saran wrap and cover with a towel. Set aside and allow to proof for 30 minutes.
- Step 5 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Step 6 Mix the warm water, shoyu, and molasses in a shallow bowl.
- Step 7 Add sesame seeds to a plate.
- Step 8 The dough should have doubled in size. Push down on the dough to release the air and divide into 10 equal pieces (I do this by weight but eyeballing the size is fine).
- Step 9 Cover the dough with saran wrap as you work on each piece.
- Step 10 Taking one piece of dough, use hands to roll into a 20″ log. Fold the log in half and twist the dough (I like to have about 6 twists) and pinch the ends together to form a circle.
- Step 11 Dip the newly formed circle into the shoyu/molasses mixture on both sides and then dredge in the sesame seeds to cover entirely.
- Step 12 Place dough onto baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Step 13 Sprinkle a generous helping of aonori on the tops of the bagels.
- Step 14 Cover the baking sheet with saran wrap and proof for another 30 minutes.
- Step 15 Halfway through the proof, preheat the oven to 425F.
- Step 16 Before baking, you can reshape each bagel.
- Step 17 Bake for 12 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 10 minutes. The bagels should be golden brown.