This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Mar 11, 2019

Simit - Turkish Sesame "Bagels"

Simit are a delicious Turkish street bread that is twisted and then shaped into a ring similar to a bagel. It's then dipped into a molasses sweetened liquid and encrusted with sesame seeds. 

Simit, Turkish Sesame rings

I've wanted to try making Simit forever! So much bread, so little time!

I've seen Simit rings of various sizes, from traditional bagel-sized to larger rings similar to Jerusalem bagels, only round instead of oblong. They are dipped in a fruit (often grape/pekmez) molasses and water mixture and then dredged in toasted sesame seeds before baking.

In Istanbul, there are Simit stands all over the city, and recently, they are also being featured as a bakery item in storefronts.

If you order Simit as part of a breakfast plate, it might come with feta style cheese, cucumbers, salami, olives, tomatoes, and perhaps some sliced hard boiled eggs.

Simit, Turkish Sesame bagels

That doesn't mean you can't enjoy these toasted with butter and jam.

Here's what I tried:

First, I mixed up some smoked salmon and cream cheese with some chopped red onion and used it as a spread on these.

Second, I simply split the Simit, toasted them, and spread them with butter.

Finally, I split one, toasted it, and made an egg salad sandwich topped with baby spinach. Delicious.

Nobody actually makes these at home in Turkey because Simit are so readily available as a street food, but if you are a Turkish expat, or if you love exploring international breads, definitely try this recipe!

Turkish Simit

To get the twisty effect of this bread, roll out your dough pieces into long ropes and then fold them in half and twist them so that you have a two-stranded rope. Next, join the ends of the rope together to form a ring.

Note: Simit is typically dipped in pekmez, a molasses made from reduced grapes. If you can't find it, you can use cane molasses or pomegranate molasses, or a mixture of both. You can also use diluted honey or dark corn syrup.

This recipe is really easy to make. Don't be intimidated by dipping your shaped dough in the molasses mixture. It's pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

Simit are a delicious Turkish street bread that is twisted and then shaped into a ring similar to a bagel. It's then dipped into a molasses sweetened liquid and encrusted with sesame seeds. #simit #bread #bagels #Turkishbread

This recipe calls for a lot of yeast, so pay close attention to the dough. In fact, you will feel the warmth of the dough once you punch it down after the first rise. Work quickly when shaping the dough for the second rise.

Simit -Turkish street bread that is twisted and then shaped into a ring #simit #bread #bagels #Turkishbread

Simit is most often coated with toasted sesame seeds. They are a lot like Jerusalem bagels, the difference being that Jerusalem bagels include milk in the recipe.... plus, these are twisty.

If you're not a fan of sesame seeds (why not?), you can use poppy seeds or flax seeds.

Note 2: If you have one, use a baking stone in your oven for extra oven spring. I also recommend setting up a steam pan under the baking stone. See the instructions in this post.

This month, the Baking Bloggers are baking Greek, Cypriot, and Turkish recipes.

simit, bagels, bread, Turkey, sesame seeds, pekmez
Yield: 12 bagels

Simit - Turkish Sesame "Bagels"


  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 10 grams (3 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 4 grams (pinch) sugar
  • 10 grams (2 teaspoons) salt
  • 350 grams (ml) lukewarm (100 degrees F) water
  • 1/4 cup pekmez or other molasses (see note)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and sea salt. 
  2. Add the 350 grams of warm water and mix with a wooden spoon or dough whisk. 
  3. Knead the dough with the dough hook for about seven minutes. 
  4. Form the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour. 
  5. Mix the molasses with the 1/4 cup of additional water and place it into a shallow bowl. Place the sesame seeds in another shallow bowl. 
  6. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. and line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. 
  7. Punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or a damp towel. 
  8. Roll each piece of dough into a 24 inch long strand. Fold each strand in half and then twist to form a "rope." 
  9. Join the ends together and seal. 
  10. Dip the rings into the molasses mixture on both sides. Next, dip into the sesame seeds to coat both sides. 
  11. Place the shaped simit onto the parchment lined baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap. 
  12. Once you have six simits on a baking sheet, let the breads rise for 20 to 30 minutes. while you continue to shape the rest of the dough for the second baking sheet. 
  13. See note two regarding using a baking stone and setting up a steam oven. 
  14. Bake the first baking sheet for about 18 minutes. Repeat with the second baking sheet. 
  15. Transfer the simit to a wire rack to cool. 
Created using The Recipes Generator
This recipe was adapted from the book, Turkey: More than 100 Recipes with Tales from the Road. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. I don't know how you have all those delicious breads in your house without eating all of it. I am a carb junkie and if there is good bread around I can't quit eating it.

    1. I'm okay with bread around. It's a different story with chocolate!

  2. How gorgeous! I love those twists.

  3. These look amazing! I've had them on my list to bake, partly as I think they are very similar to Jerusalem bagels which I had and loved, plus they just sound so tasty. Must give your recipe a try!

    1. I actually have some Jerusalem bagels on this blog too! They are very similar in flavor, but Jerusalem bagels have some dairy in them.

  4. pekmez, you said???? OMG. Karen these are so gorgeous, they reminded a little bit of your ka'katz which I made in the past after your post.

    I need to make these too - miss my kitchen, but I only have a few more days to Saturday when I'll be baaaaaack!

  5. These are so pretty! And the fact that they are dipped in a molasses and water mixture sounds really unique! I may just have to conquer my fear of yeast!

    1. You definitely must! Baking bread is now an obsession for me.

  6. These look amazing - I sometimes buy these when I go to the Middle Eastern section of town here where I live in Brooklyn and yours looks just as good if not better than theirs :)

  7. Wow! These look awesome,they are on my to do list.

  8. I remember eating these simits when my family and I lived in Istanbul back in the 60’s. Vendors would wander around carrying glass cases around their necks selling to one and all. They were my first bagels!


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.