Saturday, May 31, 2008

the imposter

seen throughout the (eastern) mediterranean, these bagel look-alikes are very popular snack item. vendors in places like israel and turkey sell them fresh from carts, still warm if you're lucky.

simit can be made the simple way, as i show here, or the dough can be twisted to make a more fancy shape. they are, for the most part, double the size of a standard bagel and come in different thicknesses. i guess one could call them a middle eastern/mediterranean bagel :)

the following recipe is simple and quick, with little fussing, so even the most "dough-challenged" person can manage it. it is the way we always made it at home.

(turkish) sesame coated bread rings

wet ingredients:

1 tsp quick rise yeast or 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 c warm water

1/3 c tepid water + 2 tbsp olive oil (plus extra WATER if needed)

dry ingredients:

2 c bread flour* (AP flour works also)
1/2 tsp salt, heaped
1/2 tsp sugar, heaped
1/4 tsp mahlep, optional

2 tsp dibz al rumman (pomegranate syrup)**
1 tsp water

RAW sesame seeds (~ 1/2 cup)

*try to use bread flour as it makes for a better simit.

**if this is unavailable, you can try to approximate it by using only pomegranate juice but the flavour will not be exactly the same. you can also either use an egg white or just plain water. the idea is to make the seeds stick.


this can be made in a food processor or by hand. i am showing how to do with a food processor but follow the same instructions and mix by hand.

add the dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times to thoroughly mix.

place the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup of water together and mix. let sit for about 15 minutes.

add the rest of the water.

turn on the food processor, and with it running, add the water slowly until it forms a ball. depending up your flour, you may need a little less than called for or a little more.

remove the dough from the process and knead for about 5 minutes. you should have a soft and non sticky dough.

place it in an oiled bowl and let sit for about 1 1/2 hours to prove.

when proved, remove the dough in one piece to a work surface (unfloured).

make a square shape and cut into four equal pieces. do not roll them into a ball.

take each square and poke a whole in the center. expand their width a little so they look like bagels. do this slowly so as not to break them. cover them and work with one at a time.

before starting this however, take two plates -- one for the sesame seeds and one for coating the bread.

make sure to have a baking sheet lined with parchment ready. you'll need a large baking sheet to hold all 4 rings.

make the wash from the syrup or use the alternative stated above. try to use the pomegranate syrup.

preheat the oven to 450F.

make a rough bagel shape by placing your fingers in the center and gradually expanding it while turning the dough EVENLY. it should be about an inch thick and approximately 7 to 8 inches wide.

if you want to make them twisted, cut the dough ring after expanding it only slightly and twist it. as you twist it, it will lengthen (or should). then reattach the ends and proceed.

place the expanded ring carefully on the clean plate. coat both sides with the pomegranate syrup.

carefully lift the ring to the dish with the sesame seeds. using a spoon, lift some of the seeds from the center and sprinkle them over the top. turn the ring over lifting it and coat the other side. try to get as many seeds on as possible. it should be fully coated.

lift the coated ring and place it on the baking sheet uncovered.

repeat 3 more times until all the rings are done.

let the simit prove for at least 20 minutes.

place them in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 350 and bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until nicely golden brown. do not overbake them. if they burn, the seeds will turn bitter and the bread won't taste good.

remove them and let cool. you can eat them warm or at room temperature.

freeze them right away (cooled, of course!) if you want them later. they are really only good the day you make them. the recipe can be doubled.



Arabic Bites said...

Perfect simit ;)
Love the idea of using dibs al rumman (pomegranate syrup) for the wash.
How you describe the taste?

zainab :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your Simit look gorgeous and extremely scrumptious! I've never made those bread rings, but after that post, I guess that I'll soon have to try making them...



Anonymous said...

bagels are the imposters, not these cute rings :)
can't wait to taste the pomegranate syrup coating, such a new thing for me!
perfect instructions, as usual.

burekaboy — said...

arabic bites - اهل وشكرً zainab :) it is subtle (mild) but the taste depends on how concentrated the dibs al rumman & water is (if it's watery, you won't taste too much). i have never tried it with only the syrup alone because i think it would be "too much" and may cause the simit to burn while baking. next time though, i may try it on one of them just to see. hope you and meedo are well :)

rosa - well, thank you. i'm surprised you've never had these! the flavour is very similar to bagels but these are very chewy. bagels here vary in terms of their 'chewiness' from city to city. anyway, simit are a standard bread you see all over the place on your side of the ocean! ;p

hi anonymous - LOL! i wouldn't be surprised if you were right. i only meant the title jokingly..... who knows which came first -- simit or bagel. chicken/egg story replayed! anyway, they're good. the pomegranate syrup is really good but as i said to arabic bites, it depends how strong you make the blend. you may have to try different strengths of water and syrup to see what final (baked) flavour you get. thanks for the compliment and comment.

burekaboy — said...

anonymous - forgot to say, I KNOW who you are and i know where you live! LOL LOL LOL.

Callipygia said...

I'd say the simit came first tho I have never had one. Glad you mentioned it was chewy I thought it looked crispy. The recipe looks easy enough to even tempt me to they look like they'd make a nice edible bracelet.

Yaelian said...

Yummy I like these when they are fresh! Thanks for the step by step recipe:)

Jean-Michel said...

"Simit" is the Turkish word, but it is sometimes used also in Greece, where these bread-rings are very popular. I wrtote "sometimes" because the greek word for them is "Koulouri" (singular) or "Koulouria" (plural). The street-vendors hold them on a long stick or a small wooden-cart and sell them as snacks.

burekaboy — said...

sorry, all, for the late replies!

calli - you're right... bagels are more of a recent east european invention.

as for the simit, the outside of it is chewy ; a bit more so than bagels. unfortunately, these have no 'preservation power'; they have to be eaten the day they're made which is why i only make about 4 at a time.

yael - you're welcome. i know YOU can them ready made everywhere where you live!! :)) b'teyavon...

jm - thanks for the info. i forgot what the greek name was. they are popular all over that particular mediterranean region for good reason! :)) thanks for the comment and visit.

Anonymous said...

hi, kaşar cheese (what would be good sustitute for it in Canada?) goes so well with it. plus turkish tea inn slim waisted!!! glasses. once again all the best from Istanbul.

burekaboy — said...

hi anonymous - merhaba! thank you for the visit and commenting. we can get kaşar cheese here also in canada (luckily) -- usually it can be bought at middle eastern or greek stores under the name 'kasseri'. you're right, that, with tea, in çay bardağı -- :))

kaouther said...

Hi, burekaboy!
it's always a pleasure to come and admire your yummy delights. I like your simit recipie, and will soon give it a try but without the mahleb and pommegrenade syrup! hope they will turn up as beautiful as yours!

burekaboy — said...

ahalan kaouther! - they will work without mahleb and the pomegranate syrup. ils sont vraiment facultatifs. j'espere que tout va bien chez vous. ca fait longtemps deja que je t'ai parle. si tu va faire ces pains, il faut les manger le jour qu'ils sont faits. ils ne sont pas bons le lendemain. c'est pour ca je fais seulement 4 a la fois.

merci pour la visite et le commentaire.