Simit

How do you keep 3 small children entertained when traipsing around Istanbul catching up with friends (and when those 3 small children don’t speak Turkish)? Well, according to my parents c1980 you give them some simit and they’ll be happy. Available absolutely everywhere from street stalls and sellers that wander about touting their wares, these sesame circular breads are a staple for breakfast and lunch, and are like a time machine for me – suddenly I’m 7 years old. This recipe makes 8.

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour

2 tsp fast action dried yeast

2 tsp free flowing salt

2 tsp caster sugar

200g sesame seeds

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Method

  1. Put the flour, sugar & salt in a big bowl & mix them together.
  2. Mix in the yeast.
  3. Make a well in the centre, then stir in 300ml warm water until the whole lot is combined.
  4. Either knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes or so, or use a freestanding mixer with the dough hook for 10 minutes.
  5. Whichever method you choose, when the dough feels smooth and stretchy, pop it in a lightly oiled clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm to prove for a couple of hours until doubled in size.
  6. Grab 2 bowls – put the sesame seeds in one, and mix the pomegranate molasses with 100ml water in the other.
  7. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  8. Tip out the dough onto a floured surface, knock the air out of it, then cut into 8 equal pieces.
  9. Take each piece in turn and roll / stretch it out into a 45cm or so long sausage. Bend it in half so that the ends are together, hold the loose ends in one hand and the bent end in your other hand, and twist in opposite directions until the entire length is twisted together.
  10. Form a circle with the two ends and pinch together – it’ll look like a twisty bagel.
  11. Dip in the molasses on both sides, then the sesame seeds to coat completely and place on the baking tray.
  12. Repeat until all 8 simit are formed and coated.
  13. Cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm to prove for a further 45 minutes.
  14. Heat the oven to 180C Fan and bake for 15 minutes until golden.
  15. Munch away.

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