I cannot even begin to express how happy I am with this “Simit” or Turkish Bagel as some people call it. It is a very simple recipe, that used basic bread ingredients. In case you care, this bread is dairy free or vegan. No egg, butter or milk. Simply old fashion bread flour, water, oil, salt and a small amount of sugar. It is definitely a bread that you would love to have for breakfast. Spread some cream cheese and I am telling you, this will be your favorite breakfast bread. Or if you want something on the sweet side, jam is highly recommended, or even just plain spread of butter.
Bagel unlike dinner rolls have a chewy texture that sets it apart from regular rolls. It doesn’t use as much fat, basically is uses a “lean dough”. No milk, butter or any high in fat ingredients. Bagels are also baked differently which gives it a chewy texture. It is actually a twice cook/bake bread. The bread is dipped in warm water with honey or baking soda. This extra step prepares the dough before it gets baked in the oven. the soaking process gives the bagel a chewy bread texture and a nice browning on top. Bagels are usually dense bread, quite heavy and compressed. Again, this also makes it different from fluffy bread rolls. Some people dislike it for this reason, and some love it like that. I am more of in between, If i could have a Bagel with a chewy texture but a bread dough that is not to heavy and dense, that would be my preference.
This is the reason why I love, love, love this Simit bread. It has a chewy bread texture, nicely browned top but the dough is not too compact, rather it is quite light. It get crunchy when toasted without being too dense and heavy. I was told that Simit in Turkey is a popular street food/bread. Of course they make it better there, more authentic. For now, I will settle for what I can have here, homemade and made with labor of love.
What is Simit?
Simit is a circular bread usually encrusted with sesame seeds. Some variations uses poppy seed, flax seed and sunflower seeds. This bread is a common bread in Turkey and is called Turkish Bagel. Simit is usually sold in carts in Istanbul and the people who sell them are called simitci.
How is Simit Different from Bagels?
Let’s start with the similarities first. Both bread have circular shape, although Bagels are round and smooth. Simit is circular and braided but in the end , both are circular in shape. Both are dipped in a liquid solution before baking, just a different mix. Bagels uses water with baking soda or water and honey for the case of Montreal bagels. Simit is dipped in water with molasses, a sticky brown syrup that is a product of processing sugar. It has a dark almost black color and really thick consistency.
Now the difference. The main difference between Bagel and Simit is the texture of the bread itself. Bagel have a very heavy dense bread texture, while Simit has a lighter softer bread texture. Simit is also crustier, it has more crunch when you bite or tear on it. It has a nice chew, but the Bagel are chewier.
Shaping the Simit
The most time you would need to do when making Simit is the shaping part. The rest are the usual waiting for the dough to rest. You will need 2 rest period, first is the 1 hour after kneading the dough and the next is 30 minutes after shaping it. To shape the Simit, first roll it into an 18-inch rope, then fold it into half, making it a 9-inch length. Once that is done, twist 2-3 times to create the twist look on the bread. I prefer 3 twist for a more appealing look. The tighter the twist, the more bulges your get with the bread which I personally find attractive.
Molasses + Water Solution
Traditional Simit is dipped in molasses and water mixture. Molasses is xxx. It thick and almost black in color, quite sticky too. Just like when making pretzel, the dipping in the water and molasses will give a nice browning to the bread, plus it produces a more chewy outer crust, not to mention it is key to making the sesame seeds sticks to the surface. If you do not have molasses, you can substitute it with molasses sugar. The last easier resort if you do not have both is to use brown sugar which I tried in this recipe. It worked just fine to my taste, but if you have molasses then go use that instead.
Toasting the Sesame Seed
I find that toasting the sesame brings out the nutty flavor of the sesame seeds, so do an extra effort of toast it. You will only need about 10 – 15 minutes to do that and it does makes a difference.
Why Does Dough Need to Rise Twice?
I’ve made quite a lot of bread recipes, from all around dinner rolls, versatile sandwich bread, easy burgers buns, creamy brioche bread and beautiful cinnamon rolls. Most of these bread have something in common, they are all yeast bread that requires the dough to rest twice. It takes a lot of time, but for me it is really worth it. But why do we need to let the dough rise twice? There is a science behind all this and some confusing terminologies involved, so I will save us all that effort of remembering those words and get straight to the point. Juts remember two words, flavor and texture. Allowing the dough to rest twice produces better flavor, and chewier texture because it allows yeast more time to get to work. But this doesn’t mean the we cannot produce a soft and fluffy bread with just 1 proofing. There are variety of recipe now a days that do not require as much time as traditional bread, like this recipe that I am sharing with you. A 1 proofing/rise bread recipe that produces the ultimate soft and fluffy texture. You will be pleased to see how it looks like when you take it out from the oven. Even more, you will not be able to stop singing praise for yourself when you taste how good they are. Trust me, this 1 proofing bread rolls did not compromise any texture and flavor. It taste as good as twice proof bread, but with less time required to make it.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 105 – 110F, so its important to have the water that you are using to “proof” it in this range. If you go lower or higher, the yeast might not proof properly. That means the bread will not rise as much, resulting to a flat and tough bread.
- Check Yeast Expiry a Date – you might be wondering how come the bread did not rise when you followed exactly the recipe. Well, first thing first, make sure the yeast is not yet expired. Expired yeast is the common reason for flat and dense bread. If your bread did not expand or rise during the rest period, it is most likely that the yeast is not fresh or the water temperature is too hot or cold.
- Amount of Yeast – Just because you want a tall bread doesn’t mean you have to put as much yeast in the mixture. Sometimes adding too much yeast can cause the bread to collapse during the rest period. Just imagine putting more air than what is needed in a balloon, the balloon will explode. The same case with bread.
- Right Type of Yeast – Make sure to use the right one for your recipe, and make necessary adjustments if you want to swap one from another.
- Rest Period – Yeast bread needs time to rise. There are bread that uses less yeast but requires more rest time, the likes of No Knead Bread or Artisan Bread which usually require 8- 16 hours rest period to get the volume and to develop the flavor. There are 1 hour bread like my Rosemary Dinner Rolls which used this same bread dough, and there is 1 proofing only bread like this one. The point is, give it time to rest, don’t touch it just leave it in a warm place. The first rest period (if doing double rest) will normally tell you if your dough is good or not. If it rise and almost double in size, then your on the right track. If working on 1 proofing bread like this, your bread should be puff up after the first and only rest period.
- Expiration and Quality of the Flour – The quality of the flour greatly affect the texture of the bread. All-purpose flour could differ from country to country although they are all called as all-purpose flour. Sometimes it depends on the brand too. The closer the flour to expiration date or if it is already expired, the flour could tend to be drier, which means it would require more liquid than mentioned in the recipe. This is a common issue of way sometimes the dough tend to be tough and dry. This is why sometimes you have to add few more tablespoon from the suggested flour measurement to get the right texture. The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour until it is no longer to sticky to handle. If it is too dry, a small amount of liquid helps provide moisture to the dough. A clean side of the bowl, with the dough slightly sticking at the bottom, a soft, smooth and elastic dough is what You are aiming for.
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Warm Water (110F)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon granulated Sugar (Divided: 1/2 teaspoon for the yeast, the rest for the flour mixture)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- 1 3/4 cup Bread Flour
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoon Flavorless Oil
- 1/2 cup warm Water
- 2 tablespoon Molasses (can be substituted with Dark Brown Sugar)
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup toasted Sesame Seed
- Activate the Yeast: Pour the warm water in the bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Stir then add the active dry yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy. This is a VERY important stage, if your yeast did not activate, do NOT continue. Try it again. Yeast not activating could be caused by expired yeast, to hot or too cold water.
- Dry Ingredients: Add the bread flour, sugar and salt. Knead the mixture for 15 minutes (speed 2 kitchenAid). At 3 minutes, add the oil. Continue kneading until it forms into a dough. If the dough is too dry, add 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time until you get to a smooth ball of dough. This is going to be a heavy dense dough compared to dinner rolls.
- First Rest Period: Spary a bowl with oil and transfer the dough. Cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough will more than double in size if your yeast is in good condition.
- Toast the Sesame Seed: In a heated pan, toast the sesame seed in low heat for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside.
- Alternatively, you can use a pre-toasted sesame seeds
- Portion the Dough: Take the dough out of the bowl, and form it into a ball. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. I used kitchen weighing scale, you can also estimate it if you do not have a kitchen scale. Shape each portion into a ball. Cover and let rest for another 15 minutes. Resting lets dough relax for better gluten formation.
- Shape the Dough: Work on each portion one at a time, covering the rest that you are not using. Shape the piece into a 18-inch rope. Fold into half then twist 3 times. Pinch the end with the 2 loose ends, then fold to create a circle. Tuck the end into the hole in the other end. Roll with your palm to seal the connection. Do the same thing for the rest of the portions.
- Dip and Coat with Sesame Seed: In a deep bowl, pour the water and add the Molasses sugar or brown sugar. In a separate bowl, transfer the toasted sesame seed. Dip each piece to the water and molasses mixture to wet the surface, then roll in the toasted sesame seed. Transfer in a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave about 2-inches space between each piece.
- Second Rest Period: Let sit for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Preheat your oven to 390F in the last 10 minutes of second rest period
- Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until the top turns brown. Turn the tray half way the baking time. Place close attention and check at 12 minutes as sesame seeds browns fast.
Makes 6 pieces
- Bread can be made without stand mixer. Use a large bowl to mix the ingredients and manually knead the dough in a floured surface until it comes together.
Enjoy! If you make this, share and tag me in Instagram #SweetNSpicyLiving. I would like to see your creations too.
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Categories: Baking, Breads, Recipe, Small Batch Recipes, Video, Video Recipes
These look really delicious. I’ve never seen them before.
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They have a different texture than regular bagel, I think I like it better
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