Turkish Simit Recipe - Give Recipe (2024)

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Simit, also known as Turkish bagel, is the most famous street food in Turkey. It is crunchy and nutty on the outside and soft and a little chewy on the inside. Freshly baked simits make the best breakfast bread in this world!

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Simit is one of our favorite Turkish bread recipes. We’ve shared several other breads so far. If you love baking breads, check out our pide bread recipe, lavash recipe and flatbread bazlama!

Jump to:
  • What Is Simit?
  • More Turkish Savory Pastries
  • Ingredients
  • What Type of Molasses?
  • Step-By-Step Instructions
  • Serving Suggestions
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Bread Recipes
  • More Turkish Recipes

What Is Simit?

Simit is a very popular Turkish food mostly eaten as a breakfast food. It is known as the meal of the busy people or poor people because it is the cheapest street food in Turkey. We pair it with a glass of Turkish tea for breakfast and with yogurt drink ayran for lunch.

As for the meaning; the Turkish word simit got an entry in Oxford dictionary in 2019 and is described as follows: A type of ring-shaped bread roll originating in Turkey, typically coated with molasses and encrusted with sesame seeds before baking.

It's often described as Turkish bagel due to its circular shape and sesame seed coating. However, the comparison mostly ends there.

Simit has a unique taste and texture that distinguishes it from a bagel. It is generally lighter, crispier, and flakier on the outside, while remaining soft on the inside. The dough is sweetened with grape molasses and coated in toasted sesame seeds, giving it a distinctly sweet and nutty flavor.

Oh and if you don't have time to learn how to make simit, look for a store called Simit Sarayı around you. It is a chain store selling various types of simit all around the world. If you can't find it, then you have to give this simit recipe a try at home!

Bread For Breakfast

Simit bread is the best grab-and-go breakfast for many working people and students during weekdays in Turkey. They mostly buy simit and cheese together either on the way to work/school or at their workplace/school.

There is always a simit vendor you can find nearby. They sell fresh sesame simits and small packages of cream cheese together in their small carts. And you buy a simit and a cheese together for the quickest breakfast ever.

Simits are also a staple for a traditional Turkish breakfast. Make the world-famous menemen or Turkish eggs çilbir and serve with some crispy simits. You will feel in heaven!

More Turkish Savory Pastries

  • Cheese Borek
  • Pogacha Recipe
  • Sigara Borek Recipe
  • Kusbasili Pide Recipe Homemade

Ingredients

You need a simple dough and a sweet nutty coating for a tasty simit recipe. Here is a breakdown of the ingredients needed:

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For the Dough:

  1. Flour:The type of flour you choose can affect the texture of your simit. All-purpose flour is commonly used in this recipe, but you could also use bread flour for a chewier texture. The amount ofprotein in flouris important to have the right flavor in simit,it should be 13 or more.
  2. Dry Instant Yeast:It's designed to be mixeddirectly into dry ingredientswithout needing to be dissolved in water first. This yeast becomes active more quickly, and it allows dough to rise faster compared to other yeast types.If you prefer using active dry yeast, on the other hand, you should dissolve it in warm water (usually about 110-115°F or 43-46°C) before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Salt:Salt enhances the flavor of the simit and strengthens the gluten structure of the dough, leading to a better texture.
  4. Lukewarm Water:Water is needed to combine the dry ingredients into a dough, and the warmth helps to activate the yeast.

For the Coating:

  1. Molasses:This is used to stick the sesame seeds onto the simit. It also imparts a slightly sweet, complex flavor. Try to findgrape or date molasses. Read our note below to learn more about the molasses used in simit recipes.
  2. Water:This is used to thin the molasses a bit, making it easier to coat the simit.
  3. Flour:A little flour is added to the molasses mixture to create a thicker coating that adheres better to the dough. There isn't really a good substitute for this.
  4. Toasted Sesame Seeds:These are what give the simit its distinctive appearance and flavor. Toasting the seeds beforehand enhances their flavor. If you can't find them toasted, you can toast sesame seeds in a large non-stick pan over medium heat until golden. Make sure to stir constantly. It should take about 20 minutes.

What Type of Molasses?

Traditional Turkish simit uses grape molasses (üzüm pekmezi), which is a thick, sweet syrup. This gives the simit its unique flavor and helps sesame seeds adhere to the dough.

Alternatives:

If grape molasses isn't available, date molasses can serve as a good substitute, providing a slightly different but still enjoyable flavor.

Outside Turkey, regular molasses, made typically from sugar cane or sugar beet, is more common and can be used as an alternative, although it will alter the traditional taste of your simit.

Avoid using pomegranate molasses, as its sour taste doesn't suit this recipe. It is a sour condiment used in salad dressings.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Here's a step-by-step guide to making traditional Turkish simit:

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Making the Dough:

  1. Start by whisking together the flour, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Gradually add in the warm water, mixing with your hand as you go. Continue to knead the mixture for about 5 minutes, until it forms a smooth, elastic, and non-sticky dough.
  3. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can also use it for this step to save some effort.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm place. This should take about 1 hour, and the dough should roughly double in size.

Preparing the Coating:

  1. While the dough is rising, prepare the coating. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the molasses, water, and flour until well combined. Set this aside for later use.
  2. Put the sesame seeds in another separate bowl. If the sesame seeds are raw, make sure to toast them lightly in a dry pan beforehand to bring out their flavor. Set this bowl aside as well.
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Shaping the Simit Dough:

  1. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to release the gas. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface.
  2. Shape the dough into a log and cut it into 6 equal pieces. Then cut each of these pieces in half, giving you a total of 12 pieces.
  3. Take two pieces of dough and roll them out into ropes, each about 20 inches (50 cm) long.
  4. Lay these two ropes side by side, and pinch the ends together to secure them.
  5. Twist the two ropes in opposite directions to create a braided effect.
  6. Once the ropes are fully twisted, connect the two ends by pinching them together to form a ring shape. This is your basic simit shape.
  7. Repeat this process with the remaining dough pieces.
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Coating the Simit Dough and Baking:

  1. Preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. One by one, soak each simit ring in the molasses mixture, making sure it's fully coated. Then, transfer it to the bowl of sesame seeds and turn it to cover all sides.
  3. After coating, place each simit on the lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake the simits in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they turn a beautiful golden brown color. Keep an eye on them to avoid over-browning.
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Note: You can use whole wheat flour in this simit recipe as we have done before. Please see the images below. They turn out a bit harder and crunchier but still tastes good.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use toasted sesame seeds for a good simit taste. If you can’t find them toasted at the market, toast them yourself beforehand. To do this, heat a non-stick pan and toast the sesame seeds by stirring occasionally until light brown and you feel that nutty flavor.
  • In the coating mixture, don’t leave the flour out. It gives a consistency and helps the mixture stick on the dough ring.
  • For a crunchier result, just like we do when baking bread, spray some water into the oven right after you put the prepared dough rings in the oven.
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Serving Suggestions

You can eat simits in several ways:

  1. Eat them as they are, just pairing with a drink like tea or ayran.
  2. You can prepare a sandwich. Cut it into two lengthwise. Place cheese, tomatoes and lettuce leaves in between. Or you can even make a chocolate sandwich with it. Just spread some nutella between two halves and enjoy!
  3. You can use chopped simit as a topping on your soups like Turkish lentil soup. You can even make croutons. Just heat simit pieces in a pan over the stove or in a baking sheet in the oven until crunchy. Sprinkle some on your soup, you will love it.
  4. Just like crackers or tortilla chips, you can eat simit with your dips. Get a piece and dip it into spicy acuka sauce, hummus or haydari meze! YUM!

Storing & Reheating

Storing:

Freshly baked simit can be kept at room temperature for up to two days. Wrap them in a clean cloth or store them in a bread box to keep them from drying out.

For longer storage, they can be stored in the refrigerator. Place them in a plastic bag or wrap them in plastic wrap to prevent them from absorbing other flavors in the fridge. They can last for about a week this way.

For the longest shelf life, simits can be frozen. Wrap each individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe bag. They can last up to three months in the freezer.

Reheating:

When you're ready to eat your stored simit, it's best to reheat them to recreate the fresh-out-of-the-oven experience. Here's how:

Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F). Place the simit directly on the oven rack and heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until warm and slightly crispy.

If the simit is frozen, there's no need to thaw it first. Just extend the reheating time to about 15-20 minutes.

Alternatively, you can reheat them in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a simit taste?

It tastes nutty with a subtle sweetness, so it is considered as a savory food and mostly paired with other savory foods.

Are simits vegan?

Yes they are. No eggs or dairy products are used in the recipe. Never.

Is simit a bagel?

No it isn’t. Although they look similar in shape, the taste is different because of two reasons. 1)Simits are not boiled like bagels, they are only baked in a very hot oven. 2)Unlike bagels, simits are coated with a generous amount of toasted sesame seeds. This is what makes them unique.

How do you reheat simits?

You can reheat them either in the oven or in a pan over medium low heat.

Can I freeze them?

Yes, you can freeze simits for several months and reheat them whenever you want to eat.

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More Bread Recipes

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  • Bread Without Yeast

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  • Chicken Doner Kebab
  • Imambayildi Recipe
  • Kumpir

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Turkish Simit Recipe

Turkish Simit Recipe - Give Recipe (11)

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4.9 from 10 reviews

Simit is a crunchy, ring shaped, braided street bread with an amazing nutty flavor of toasted sesame seeds.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Turkish

Ingredients

Scale

For the Dough:

  • 500g (3 + ¼ cup) flour
  • 2 teaspoon dry instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300ml warm water

For The Coating:

  • ½ cup molasses (grape or date)

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 tablespoon flour

  • 300g (about 1 and ½ cups) toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

Make the dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt.
  2. Gradually pour in the water and mix it with your hand. Knead it for 5 minutes or until you get a smooth and non-sticky, elastic dough.
  3. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook for this step.
  4. Cover it and let it rise for about 1 hour, until it doubles in size.

Prepare the coating:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the molasses, water and flour. Set it aside.
  2. Put the sesame seeds in another bowl. Put it aside. If the sesame seeds are raw, toast them in a pan beforehand.

Shape the simit dough:

  1. When the dough doubles in size after 1 hour, punch it down and transfer on a floured surface. Shape it into a log and cut it into 6 equal pieces. And then cut each piece into two. You will have 12 pieces in total.
  2. Grab two pieces and roll them into a rope, 20 inches/50cm in length.
  3. Put these side by side and stick the ends by pinching.
  4. Twist in opposite directions to make a braid.
  5. Combine the two ends by pinching them together and make a ring.
  6. Repeat this for the remaining dough balls.

Coat the simit dough and bake:

  1. Preheat the oven at 425C/220C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it aside.
  2. Soak the simit ring into the molasses mixture first and then put it into the sesame seed bowl. Transfer onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Notes

  1. The amount of protein in flour is important to have the right flavor in simit, it must be 13 or more. We searched for the right flour at the market, but it wasn’t very easy, so we had to visit a few markets and finally found one with 14. Check out its label before buying!
  2. Use toasted sesame seeds for a good simit taste. If you can’t find them toasted at the market, toast them yourself beforehand. To do this, heat a non-stick pan and toast the sesame seeds by stirring occasionally until light brown and you feel that nutty flavor.
  3. In the coating mixture, don’t leave the flour out. It gives a consistency and helps the mixture stick on the dough ring.For a crunchier result, just like we do when baking bread, spray some water into the oven right after you put the prepared dough rings in the oven.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 680
  • Sugar: 21.4 g
  • Sodium: 465.4 mg
  • Fat: 25.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 97.8 g
  • Protein: 18.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

You might also like:

  • Best Turkish Desserts
  • Menemen Recipe
  • Turkish Pogaca Recipe
  • Turkish Gozleme Recipe

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Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Reply

  1. Meredith says

    Has anyone ever tried with gluten free flour?

    Reply

  2. AK says

    The recipe has some ingredients' units of measurements in grams and ml, which is great (a whole lot easier to measure everything), but others are cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons - I tried converting the grams and ml to US and also Imp cups so I could equate them, but they don't match - 3 + 1/4 US cups of flour is about 400g (you need 4 US cups to be 500g of flour), and the same with the sesame seeds. So, how do I get the correct ratio for the dry instant yeast and the salt in the dough, and for everything else in the coating?

    Reply

  3. Kathy Kostuk says

    First time trying these. Challenging but I baked on a gas bbq grill. Turned out good

    Reply

    • Zerrin & Yusuf says

      Sooo happy to hear this! Thank you Kathy for letting us know 🙂

      Reply

  4. Susanne says

    Do you completely soak the dough in the molasses before baking?

    Reply

    • Zerrin & Yusuf says

      Hi Susanne,

      After giving the dough a simit shape, dip it into the molasses. Make sure it is fully coated with the molasses. Then put it into a bowl of sesame seeds. And then place it onto the baking sheet. You might find the video in the recipe card helpful.

      Reply

  5. Tara says

    Are you suppose to use bread flour or all purpose? If you say either do you have to adjust the amount of salt?

    Reply

    • Zerrin & Yusuf says

      Hi Tara,

      You can use either but bread flour is much better as the amount of protein in it is higher than all purpose flour. No need to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe. Hope this helps.

      Reply

  6. Andrew says

    Hello! I am new to baking and I am a bit confused on what you mean by "at least 13 flour". Does this mean 13%, 13 grams per serving, or something else? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Zerrin & Yusuf says

      Hi Andrew, it is the amount of protein in flour. You can read the label on the package and see the amount of protein in the flour brand you are using.
      It is recommended that the protein is 13 or above for the best texture. But if you can't find a high protein flour, use any bread flour or all purpose flour you find. Your simit will still taste so good. Hope this helps.

      Reply

  7. Grace says

    Turned out delicious! Recipe was so easy and straightforward. I had to use pomegranate molasses as I couldn't get date or grape molasses but nevertheless it turned out delicious! I can't post photos here but they look stunning too! Thank you for this fantastic recipe!

    Reply

  8. Grace Choi says

    Merhaba Zerrin and Yusuf. Thanks for this amazing recipe . I am actually waiting for my dough to rise as I write this. As I don't have grape or date molasses (not as easily found dough in general gocery stores in Australia)I am using pomegranate. I will let you know how it turns out. Love that this is oil free and dairy free! Will update very soon.

    Reply

    • Zerrin & Yusuf says

      Hi Grace,

      So happy to hear that you are making simit, our favorite snack! Never used pomegranate molasses for simit. Is it sweet or sour? What we call pomegranate molasses is sour, that's why we are asking. As long as it gives a nice color and subtle sweetness, it must be okay. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the result!

      Reply

      • Grace Choi says

        Hello again!

        So I made it with the pomegranate molasses and it is slightly Sour but overall sweet so I'm very happy with the result.
        The simit is so soft inside inside nutty on the outside. They also look so beautiful!
        I love your recipe and I'll be sure to make it again as it was so easy.
        Thank you for sharing the recipe.

      • Zerrin & Yusuf says

        Hi Grace,
        Glad you are happy with the result. So pomegranate molasses worked for you. Great! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Enjoy your simits!

  9. Ruby says

    Hello can we use pomegranate molasses? Thank you

    Reply

    • Yusuf says

      Hi Ruby,
      The pomegranate molasses we use in Turkish cuisine is quite tangy unlike date molasses or grape molasses. So we never use it when making simit. It is a salad dressing for us. However, if the one you have is as sweet as date/grape molasses, you can use it. Hope this helps.

      Reply

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Turkish Simit Recipe - Give Recipe (2024)

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