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
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)
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.