Simit is a circular bread topped with molasses and toasted sesame seeds. Make this Turkish bread recipe with just a few simple ingredients!
Traditionally sold as street food by vendors called simitci, this delicious snack might be the most common food in Turkey.
While simit is sometimes called a Turkish sesame bagel because of its ring shape and because it is often served as a breakfast food, that is where the similarities to bagels stop.
Baked and not boiled this simit is light and fluffy inside with a crusty outer layer. And then there’s the dip in molasses and sesame that really sets this one apart.
Often served as a breakfast food with feta cheese, cucumbers, and tomatoes, simit also pairs well with jams and chocolate spreads and works wonderfully as a side for dinner. Try dipping it in Roasted Red Pepper Dip, or Homemade Tahini.
Ingredients for Simit
The nice thing about simit is that you probably have nearly all of the ingredients on hand right now.
For the Dough
You’ll use the basics for almost any bread recipe: flour, sugar, yeast, etc.
*Note; for a complete list of ingredients so the recipe card below.
For the Assembly
This is where the magic happens, where this recipe is taken from tasty to perfect. You’ll need:
- Grape Molasses and Water - These two will be whisked together and after you’ve shaped the dough, each circle will be dipped in this mixture. Grape molasses, or pekmez in Turkey, is thought to be one of the earliest sweeteners used in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It’s made from reduced grape must. You may substitute pomegranate molasses, too.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds - After dipping each piece of dough into the molasses, you’ll coat it thoroughly in toasted seeds before baking. If you don’t have any toasted seeds on hand, utilize the rise time to toast them up yourself.
You can use a dry skillet on medium heat for just 3-5 minutes stirring them occasionally. Or if you prefer, bake the seeds on an ungreased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until toasted.
Video: How to Make Turkish Bread
This is a pretty basic recipe. While any bread can be kneaded by hand, I prefer to use my stand mixer so all of my instructions will include that.
For a detailed look at how this recipe is made, watch the video in the recipe card below.
- Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients
You’ll add your sifted flour and other dry ingredients to your mixer bowl and make a well in the center for the warm water and vegetable oil.
- Mix it Up
Using the hook attachment, allow the dough to mix until well combined. You may need to add more water a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry or do the same with a bit of flour if it’s too sticky.
Let the mixer do its thing for about 8 minutes. It should knead the dough into a smooth ball that pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
- Let it Rise
Once it’s nice and smooth, you’ll cover the dough and let it rise until it doubles in size. This will take about an hour so this is a good time to toast your sesame seeds if needed and prep the molasses and water mixture.
- Shape the Dough
After punching down and dividing the dough, you’re going to take each piece and shape it into a long thin snake. Then, twisting two of these snakes around each other, you’ll join the ends to form a ring.
- Coat with Molasses and Sesame Seeds
Each ring of dough will get dipped in the molasses mixture and carefully rolled in the toasted seeds. After that, you’ll allow them one more chance to rise and then bake.
Grape molasses is a common staple in Turkey, but it can sometimes be hard to find in the US. In a pinch, I have also used Pomegranate Molasses as a substitute.
Simit (Turkish Bread) + Video
- 4 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup warm water plus 1-2 tbsp more if needed
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup grape molasses (See Note 1)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups toasted sesame seeds (See Note 2)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer sift in the flour then add the sugar, yeast and salt. Make a small well in center and add the wet ingredients (warm water and vegetable oil).
- Mix using a dough hook until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water if too wet, add a tablespoon of flour.
- Knead the dough using the dough hook for about 8 minutes until it's no longer sticky. The dough should completely clean the inside of the bowl.
- Cover with linen towel and let it rise for 1 hour (it doubles in size).
- Place sesame seeds in large shallow dish. Whisk together the molasses with water. Set both aside.
- After 1 hour, punch the dough down and divide it into 16 pieces. Roll out 2 pieces into 20 inch tubes (like a breadstick).I first form the dough piece into a rectangle shape and starting from the center using both hands open, press and roll to yourself while spreading fingers to stretch dough. Repeat over and over along the dough to form long pieces.
- Lay them parallel to each other. Pinch each end together to hold and then twist the dough in opposite directions to make spiral twist. Bring both the ends together and pinch them to make a ring. Set aside on parchment lined baking sheet.Repeat with the remaining 14 pieces to make 7 more rings.
- Using one hand dip each ring in molasses mixture, turning to coat then in sesame seeds. Be sure to completely coat in sesame seeds. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining rings.
- Cover loosely with linen towel and let it rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Bake for 14 minutes until golden brown. Best eaten after cooled slightly or allow to cool completely and store in airtight container or wrap in bag and seal.
- Traditionally grape molasses is used, but I have also used pomegranate molasses.
- If you do not have toasted sesame seeds, toast the sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat, until golden, for several minutes.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.