Soft simit

Soft simit

By
From
Turquoise
Makes
22
Photographer
Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

‘Simiiiit!’ The sight and sound of the simitçi – simit vendor – will be familiar to nearly all visitors to Turkey. His first round is in the morning, as he weaves his way through the streets pushing his simit cart or carrying a tray of the warm, sesame-encrusted bread rings on the top of his head. He’ll be out again later in the day with a freshly baked batch, tempting shoppers with an afternoon snack.

No Turk in their right mind would ever dream of making their own simit at home. For a start they’re just too readily available, and they take many long hours of proving. So instead, here’s a recipe for a simpler version. These are almost scone-like, with a crisp shell and a slightly sweet, soft and moist interior. Simit are quite irresistible hot from the oven, spread liberally with butter and jam and enjoyed as an afternoon tea treat.

Simit are often distinctively flavoured with mahleb (ground cherry kernels), but you can omit this if you can’t find it in your closest Middle Eastern food store.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
120ml warm water
3 free-range eggs
490g strong bread flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
250g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
2 teaspoons ground mahleb, (optional)
1 cup sesame seeds

Method

  1. Dissolve the yeast and a generous pinch of the sugar in 60 ml of the warm water and set aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Lightly beat one of the eggs. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and stir in the remaining sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg with the butter, mahleb (if using) and yeast mixture. Use your fingers to work in the flour and enough of the remaining water to make a fairly stiff dough.
  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until just smooth, being careful not to overwork it. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, then cover with a tea towel and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Divide the dough into 22 portions, each around 40 g. Roll each portion into a little log about 18 cm long. Shape the logs into rings, pressing the overlapping ends together to join. Lightly beat the remaining eggs in a shallow bowl, and put the sesame seeds into another shallow bowl. Dip one side of each simit into the egg mixture, then into the sesame seeds. Transfer each simit as you finish to two baking sheets lined with baking paper. When all the simits are ready, bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. The simits will keep for 2–3 days in a sealed container.
Tags:
Turquoise
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Turkish
Turkey
Mediterranean
European
Middle Eastern
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