In Turkey simit are often sold on the street from a trolley or you see them stacked on a tray balanced on the sellers head – the ultimate takeaway! They are usually eaten for breakfast with jams and cheeses but I decided to make some to serve with homemade hummus. Served warm they are soft and have a sweet taste, a little like brioche or the old English milk roll. We are lucky as the International supermarket in E17 usually has a fresh supply of simit but I wanted to have a go myself.
600g plain flour, sieved
200ml lukewarm (hand hot) water
200ml lukewarm milk
15g dried fast acting instant yeast (2 sachets)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 eggs, beaten (keep one separate for the coating)
lots of sesame seeds
Add the yeast to the water and milk and leave for 5 minutes.
Put the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, one egg and sugar and then gradually pour in the liquid bringing the mixture together into a sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Return the dough to a clean bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Split the dough ball in half, and then halve the balls again and again until you have 12 balls.
Make a long sausage shape out of each ball and join the ends to form a circle the size of a standard bagel or ring doughnut.
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment and place the simit rings onto the tray. Leave them in a warm place to rise again for 20 minutes.
Brush each simit with the beaten egg and coat generously with sesame seeds. Cook in a moderate oven for 30 minutes until they are golden brown. The smell of warm milk cooking in the bread is very comforting.
Serve warm and fresh with soup or hummus or have them in a Turkish-style breakfast with jams, cheeses, olives and sliced cucumber and tomatoes.