This delicious simit recipe, also called a Turkish bagel or sesame bagel, is a fantastic bread chock full of sesame seeds.
The step-by-step tutorial (with photos) will help you make a great simit - even if you've never tried it before.
This popular street food is crunchy, crispy exterior, and soft and chewy in the center.
Simit is similar in shape to a bagel, but it has a different, less dense texture. You can serve this homemade bread for breakfast or a snack - it's great paired with cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a cup of Turkish tea or coffee.
What is simit?
Simit is a circular bread that's dipped in molasses and sesame seeds and then baked till golden brown on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Traditional Turkish simit bread (also called Gevrek in some regions of Turkey or Koulouri in Greek) has a rich history that dates back to the Ottoman Empire.
If you've ever been to Instanbul you'll be familiar with the many street vendors selling simit on almost every street corner.
Unlike bagels, simit is not boiled but is rather baked till it develops a crispy exterior. The sesame seeds toast as well and become delicious little crunchy bits. I know you'll love this famous Turkish recipe!
You don't need many ingredients to make an authentic simit recipe. Because we aren't using any dairy, this is a vegan simit bread.
- Instant Yeast
- Room Temperature Water
- Fine Sea Salt
- Vegetable Oil
- Bread Flour
- Molasses (Preferably grape or pomegranate molasses)
- Roasted Sesame Seeds
See the recipe card for quantities.
Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Stir till combined.
Add the oil, flour, and salt to the mixing bowl.
Stir with a spoon till the flour and water are combined and form a craggy dough.
Wipe out the mixing bowl and add place the dough ball back into the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes while the dough rises.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Remove the dough ball from the bowl and roll it into a large cylinder. Use a knife or a pastry cutter to divide into 6 equal pieces.
Roll the dough pieces into balls, dust with additional flour if they are sticky.
Roll a dough ball into a long thin strand, about 24 inches long. Flip in half so the ends meet.
Twist the dough onto itself, in opposite directions, to form a spiraled rope.
Pinch the ends together and roll slightly, if necessary, to keep the ends together.
Repeat till all the dough is formed into circular shapes. Allow the dough circles to rest on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Combine the molasses and warm water in a shallow bowl and whisk till combined. Spread the sesame seeds in a shallow bowl.
Dip the dough circles into the molasses mixture, flipping them to coat both sides.
Then place the dough circles in the sesame seeds and flip again to coat both sides. Place them back on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Repeat till all the pieces are coated in sesame seeds.
Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Substitutions & Variations
If you don't have some of the ingredients listed above you can make these changes.
- Flour - you can use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour. You may need an additional ½ cup if the dough is too sticky.
- Molasses - if you can't find pomegranate or grape molasses, regular molasses will work just fine!
- Instant Yeast - if you don't have instant yeast, you can use active dry yeast. Just allow the water, sugar, and yeast to sit for 30 minutes before adding the flour, oil, and salt.
- Sesame Seeds - some recipes call for coating simit in sunflower seeds. Try it if you'd like a larger seed!
Using a Stand Mixer - You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook instead of kneading the dough for 5 minutes if you'd prefer.
What to Serve with Simit
You can serve simit as breakfast, brunch, or a snack. It pairs well with many flavors.
- Cheese - simit is delicious when paired with cheese. I like to serve it with a few triangles of laughing cow cheese, but it's great with feta cheese or cream cheese as well.
- Vegetables - pair your simit with some sliced cucumbers, radishes, carrots, or tomatoes.
- Chocolate Spread - slather the simit with a little Nutella for a real treat!
- Egg - you can add the simit to a frying pan and crack an egg in the center, sprinkle with a little Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes and some fresh herbs. Cook till the egg has set and serve.
More Turkish Recipes
If you love Turkish food, try some of our other favorite recipes.
- Menemen (Turkish Eggs Recipe)
- Turkish Potato Salad (Patates Salatasi)
- Turkish Lentil Soup (Mercimek Corbasi)
- Cilbir (Turkish Eggs in Yogurt)
Store simit in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or in a frying pan on the stovetop.
You can freeze simit for up to 6 months in a ziptop freezer bag. Reheat in the oven from frozen or allow to defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.
Tips for Making this Recipe
Cooking Tips - Check your simit after 15 minutes in the oven to make sure the sesame seeds aren't burning. It usually takes 18 minutes for the simit to be done in my oven, but it may take you up to 20 minutes.
Specialty Ingredients - My favorite simit recipes use bread flour and I highly recommend using it if you can. Bread flour has a higher gluten amount making for a chewier simit.
Recommended Tools - I highly recommend lining your sheet pan with parchment paper. This will stop the sesame seeds from sticking to your pan when they get crispy.
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Turkish Simit Recipe
This delicious Turkish simit bread is a fantastic breakfast or brunch recipe.
- 1 ¼ cup room temperature water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 cups bread flour (or all purpose flour)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¼ cup molasses (preferably grape or pomegranate)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup roasted sesame seeds
- Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir till combined.
- Add the oil, flour, and salt to the mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon till the flour and water are combined and form a craggy dough.
- Flip the dough onto a hard surface. Dust with additional flour if it’s too sticky. Knead for 5 to 6 minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Wipe out the mixing bowl and add place the dough ball back into the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes while the dough rises.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Remove the dough ball from the bowl and roll it into a large cylinder. Use a knife or a pastry cutter to divide into 6 even pieces.
- Roll the dough pieces into balls, and dust with additional flour if they are sticky.
- Roll a dough ball into a long thin strand, about 24 inches long. Flip in half so the ends meet.
- Twist the dough onto itself to form a spiraled rope.
- Pinch the ends together and roll slightly, if necessary, to keep the ends together.
- Repeat till all the dough is formed into circular shapes. Allow the dough circles to rest on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Combine the molasses and water in a shallow bowl and whisk till combined. Spread the sesame seeds in a shallow bowl.
- Dip the dough circles into the molasses, flipping them to coat both sides.
- Then place the dough circles in the sesame seeds and flip again to coat both sides. Place them back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat till all the pieces are coated in sesame seeds.
- Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 715mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 10g