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Recipe Traditional Turkish Simit

Is it a pretzel? Is it a bagel? No, it's simit! A Turkish bread, dense, chewy, and crusty all at once... A great snack when you're craving some fresh-out-the-oven bread, or when you want to fill your house with the scent of rustic comfort.

You will need

Serves 6

  • 300g water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 450g bread flour
  • 50g wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt

Glaze

  • 200ml grape molasses
  • 100ml water
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 200–300g toasted sesame seeds

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Directions

10 mins to prep

60 mins to bake

  1. Step 1

    Place a baking or pizza stone in the oven (if you have one) and preheat the oven to 250°C.

  2. Step 2

    Mix the yeast and water. Leave for a few minutes for the yeast to activate.

  3. Step 3

    Mix the flour and salt. Add the water and yeast mixture. Mix well and knead until the dough keeps together well, 5–6 minutes. The dough should be smooth, but not as soft as a regular bread dough. Cover and set aside to proof for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

  4. Step 4

    Mix the grape molasses, water and 2 tablespoons white flour in a large, flat bowl.

  5. Step 5

    Prepare a plate of toasted sesame seeds. If you only have white (raw) sesame seeds, toast them in a dry pan until golden, stirring or shaking the pan regularly, taking care not to burn any of the seeds. This only takes a few minutes.

  6. Step 6

    Cut the dough into 12 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece into long sausages. If you find the dough too sticky, sprinkle a thin layer of flour on the surface.

  7. Step 7

    Take two dough sausages and place them alongside one another. Squeeze the ends together and roll the ends in opposite directions, causing the two sausages to braid and intertwine. Squeeze the two ends together to form a ring. Repeat with the remaining dough sausages.

  8. Step 8

    Dip the simits into the grape molasses mixture until covered all over. Cover completely with sesame seeds. Stretch the dough a little as you do this to ensure the simit is as even as possible. Place the ready simits on a piece of baking parchment, or a hot pizza stone.

  9. Step 9

    Flatten the simits ever so slightly before placing them in the hot oven. Turn the oven down to 220C. Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the oven to help drop the temperature from 250C to 220C, be careful of the steam.

  10. Step 10

    Bake in two rounds until cooked through and golden brown on the outside, 12–15 minutes, a little longer if you don't have a baking or pizza stone. Keep watching and turn the heat down if the simit looks like it might burn.

  11. Step 11

    Leave to cool on a cooling rack, but not for too long! Unlike bread, simit is best when eaten while still warm.

Recipe: Coskun Uysal