The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SIMIT - TURKISH SESAME BREAD

hanseata's picture
hanseata

SIMIT - TURKISH SESAME BREAD


Ring shaped sesame simit is very common in Turkey, as well as in other Middle Eastern countries and the Balkans. It comes in larger and smaller sizes, and, also varies in crunchiness and chewiness, depending on the region. Some are softer, made with apple syrup and olive oil, and some are crisp and lean.

After having my first simit from a fabulous Turkish bakery in Delmenhorst/Germany (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25706/turkish-delight), I was eager to try my hand in it.

I studied a lot of recipes - fortunately many Turkish women post in German cooking websites. Some of those descriptions were a bit too vague for a newbie (like Grandmother's: "Take a handful of flour, some olive oil, and then put in some eggs"), and others more specific. They varied greatly, so I decided on a lean version, like the simit I had in Delmenhorst, but I made it a little smaller, bagel size. 

The result was really nice - my husband and I loved the sesame crunch!

Dough:
500 g Italian 00 flour (or unbleached pastry flour)
4 g instant yeast
165-190 g water, lukewarm

19 g olive oil (optional)

125 g yogurt, lukewarm

7 g salt

Topping:
1 egg white, mixed with 1 tbsp. water, for brushing
sesame seeds, for sprinkling

DAY 1:
Mix together yogurt and water, and stir in instant yeast, until dissolved. Add all other dough ingredients, and mix at low speed (or with wooden spoon) until all flour is hydrated. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Knead at medium-low speed (or with hands) for 2 more minutes, adjusting with a little more water or flour, if needed. Dough should be supple and very tacky, bordering on sticky. Resume kneading for another 4 minutes. Dough should still be quite tacky.

Transfer to a lightly floured work surface. With wet or oiled hands, gently extend into a rough square. Stretch and fold back and front side like a business envelope, then, also left and right side.

Pick up dough package, tuck sides under to form a ball, and place, seam-side down, into an oiled bowl. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Repeat these stretches and folds 3 more times, at 10 minute intervals. After last fold, place dough into oiled container with lid, and refrigerate overnight.


DAY 2:
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. First shape into rolls, then, with your hands, roll into 12"-14/30-35 cm strands. Or divide into 16 pieces to make braids. If dough resists, let rest for 5 minutes, before continuing. Shape strands (or braids) into rings, pressing ends together well to seal. Place rings on parchment lined baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 490 F/255 C, including steam pan. Brush dough rings with egg white, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Spray with oil spray, cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for ca. 1 hour, or until they have grown to almost double in size.

Bake simits for 7 minutes, steaming with 1 cup boiling water. Rotate baking sheet 180 degrees, remove steam pan, and continue baking for another 8 minutes, until breads are golden brown.

Let cool on wire rack.



It is necessary to use a low protein flour, like the German type 450 or Italian 00. Unbleached pastry flour is a good substitute - all-purpose flour has too much gluten. Even though this bread can be made in one day, the taste definitely improves with overnight cold fermentation.

(Recipe adapted from Merosh's recipe in www.kochbar.de)

Updated 1/24/2015

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Let's see overnight retard and lots of sesame, yogurt (I got flavored and/or buttermilk?)  ok ready to roll!

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I actually used Greek yogurt because I figured Turkish would be similar. But I don't think it matters if you get the hydration right. Let me know how it turned out, Mini.

Happy baking,

Karin

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Karin,

I read your blog and then followed it here...Looks like this week will be spent baking your creations :-)  

I sat down at my computer to double check your Friesan Rye loaf.  I began the leaven tonight and just wanted to make sure I had all the figures correct as there is a lot of water in the formula...

Your blog piece popped up so, naturally, I got side tracked....These look great and lately I have been experimenting with rolls/buns so these will fit right in....will have to wait at least a day before I do it though....maybe even two....the 'to bake' line moves at irregular speeds..

Friesian formula checked out fine with what I have written down.  A first for me baking something with soooo much water. For the leaven I ground my rye up almost like steel cut oats....I am hoping they won't be too chunky.  Took awhile to soak up the water but I kept stirring and separation problem has gone away.  Curious to see how it looks in the morning.  :-)

I will let you know the results on both of these recipes.

Thanks for the posts and the mouth watering photo on your blog.  Loved the write up....boy do I miss those small shops that I grew up with in San Francisco....here all is large supermarkets....just not the same - NOWHERE near the same.....:-/

Take Care,

Janet

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

The good thing about the Friesian Rye is that you don't have to shape it. The whole wet dough blob is just emptied into the loaf pan, and smoothed with a spatula. Don't take a loaf pan that's too small, since you have to remove the loaf to finish baking, and if it builds "a muffin top" over the rim, that is difficult to do. It has a wonderful taste, and is one of my favorites.

The knotted pumpkin rolls needed a bit of exercise, my second batch looked much nicer and didn't unravel in the oven.

Take care,

Karin

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Karin,

I just mixed the intermediate dough and it is now doing it's thing.  Thanks for the tip on the pan sizing.  Luckily I do have several sizes of pans I can use.  

I will let you know how it turns out but won't know about crumb or taste for awhile as it is going to a friend I only see every two weeks.  She is a huge rye fan so has loved all of the ones of yours I have baked so far.  The first one I baked was her favorite and now all become her favorite  :-)

I haven't seen your knotted pumpkin rolls yet....sounds like another one for my fall baking list.....I will look later on today.

Take Care,

Janet

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Friesen Rye note...tho I know I am on the incorrect thread but I did mention it here....so I shall continue....

Baked and the bottom stuck to the bottom of the pan despite my greasing it.....so it didn't get to be caramelized all the way around.  Smells wonderful and is tucked into it's bag waiting for delivery tomorrow

Very interesting dough to work with so I am curious as to the flavor once it get's tasted...

Thanks for the post!

Janet

hanseata's picture
hanseata

it is a bit tricky. But it tastes really very good, and is worth the effort.

Karin

rayel's picture
rayel

Your Turkish bread is really nice. The sesame and yogurt play well together, and the soft chewy crust and fluffy interior, contrast beautifully. Are all my guesses close?  That's the best those lovely pictures will allow. I baked buttermilk whole wheat with sesame yesterday, and the smell and flavor of sesame is still in my memory. Or could it be your pictures?

Ray

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Ray, I hope your whole wheat sesame bread turned out as well (recipe?). Sesame is my favorite topping, it gives a great crunch, even if the bread itself is softer.

Happy baking,

Karin

rayel's picture
rayel

I have made this bread quite a few times, and Sunday I was on auto pilot, didn't read the recipe to the end, and forgot to add two tablespoons of butter in cold bits near the end of kneading.  This changed the texture  quite noticeably, but the buttermilk I used was whole milk, and that saved it to some extent.

 In 2010  J. Monkey posted a version of this bread, with recipe, using a biga, comparing it to his straight dough version, and with pictures, showed higher results with his biga method. I have had both results , with either method. I think you might like the Yogurt bread, same book, which is made with an overnight sponge. Check out txfarmer's lovely bake using this recipe.

Regarding delicious crunch, at our local doceria, I still buy very plain Italian cookies that are encrusted with sesame seeds.  They are my favorite. The roasted flavor of sesame  really elevates this cookie.

Ray

linder's picture
linder

Sesame Thins

Ingredients2 cups Flour1/2 tsp. Baking Soda1/2 tsp. Salt1 cup Butter or Margarine (2 sticks)1 cup Sugar1 Egg1 tsp. Vanilla2 pkgs. Sesame Seeds (2 oz. each)Sift:  Flour, baking soda
& salt into small bowl.Cream:  Butter with sugar
until fluffy in a large bowl; beat in egg & vanilla.Stir In:  Flour mixture,
half at a time.  Blend well to make a soft dough. Wrap in waxed paper &
chill seveal hours or until firm enough to handle.Roll:  Roll dough a
teaspoon at a time into small balls & roll sesame seeds in a plate to coat
lightly.  Place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.Bake: in a moderate oven @
350 degrees for 10 minutes or until delicately golden.  Remove and cool
completely.  Makes 8 dozen.
ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Karin,

I'm sure Leader mentions something about this, or, maybe it's Suas talking about the Swiss Mountain bread.   The hole is so you can hang the bread up high to stop it being eaten by unwelcome furry intruders!

The soft flour gives such an inviting crumb.

All good wishes

Andy

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Ray, and thanks for the recipe, Linder, that sounds good. The only flatbread I've tried so far was Peter Reinhart's whole wheat lavash, it was nice, but nothing compared to what our wonderful local vegetarian restaurant Eden serves - that discouraged me a bit.

Andy, that is an interesting idea. I should put up a rack like that to protect my breads from unwelcome attention. Our dog is a great bread fan, and my two kittens are jumping higher every day, and are curious enough to bite into everything that might be edible.

Karin

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Karin,
Your sesame-crusted Simit bread looks really delicious...and the photo, with the Turkish bread set off by the turquoise cloth, very beautiful! Thank you for sharing your formula.
:^) from breadsong

SCruz's picture
SCruz

Karin: It's been a few years since you posted your recipe for simit. My Egyptian aunt put in a request for me to bake some for her. Any updates?

Jerry Leinsamenbrot

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Yes, Jerry, I made a few little changes. I found that I can get by with a little less instant yeast, 4 grams (instead of 5). I also added a bit of olive oil, 19 grams, and upped the water to 190 grams (but that depends on the consistency: it should be like baguette dough).

Last time I baked them I also made the strands a little longer, 35 cm/14 inches, twisting them as I saw in some simits. But those are all not major changes. I still like them a lot!

Karin

 

SCruz's picture
SCruz

You always come through, Karin. Thanks.