Simit & Poppy Seed Rolls

Simit or “Turkish bagels”

Simit, a Turkish sesame seed bread, is very popular in those parts of Germany where you can find many Turkish grocery stores and bakeries. In the past, whenever I bought a large loaf of Turkish flatbread I picked up one or two simit breads as well. There are vegan version of this bread but it really depends on the bakery, so always make sure to ask first…or make your own, as they are so easy to make and very delicious. They have a great crust, lots of flavour from the sesame seeds and a chewy and soft crumb. Simit breads are great with hummus but a smear of peanut butter is also a wonderful topping for these. And yes, they look similar to bagels. Usually they are bigger though with bigger holes too. And when it comes to texture, they are not as chewy as bagels.
I made my version with sourdough, but I added notes for those of you who haven’t got a starter.

Simit (makes 10)

The day before:

Combine 1 tablespoon of sourdough starter with 100 ml water and 100 g flour in a large bowl. Stir well and cover. Let sit in a warm place for 16 hours. Your starter should have risen quite a bit with large bubbles on the surface.

To make the bread:

The starter from above
400 g all purpose flour
50 g refined coconut oil or margarine, softened
200 ml water
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
10 g salt (1 1/2 teaspoons)

sesame for sprinkling

Note for those who don’t have a starter: Use 500 g flour, 300 g water, and 1 teaspoon instant yeast for the dough. Let the dough rise for 1 hour only.

Combine all the ingredients except for the sesame. Knead until a dough forms, transfer to a working surface and knead for ten minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let rise for 90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Have a large pot ready (You’ll need to fill it with hot water later.)

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Form into balls. Roll each ball into a long log and shape into rings. Make sure to seal the edges properly.

Fill a large pot with 1 litre (4 cups) of boiling water. Drop the shaped dough rings into the water. You don’t have to boil them, just put them in for a couple of seconds and take them out again. This step will give them an awesome crispy brown crust and it makes the sesame stick very well.

Place 5 simit breads on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame very generously. Place into the oven immediately (no additional rising time necessary) and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining breads. Serve still warm.

Poppy Seed Rolls

Poppy Seed Rolls:

I used exactly the same dough for these. The only thing I changed was to shape them into 10 Kaiser rolls and sprinkle them with poppy seeds. I did drop them into water as well. The baking time was the same. I experimented with the Kaiser roll shaping method when I made the Coconut Rolls for Celine. The shaping method is really not very difficult but the bread looks impressive! If you want to shape Kaiser rolls, there are two methods. I used this one, but this one is the “correct” method.

Note: For traditional Kaiser rolls (Kaisersemmeln) skip the boiling water part, don’t sprinke with poppy seeds, and let the shaped rolls rise covered for 30 minutes.

This entry was submitted to YeastSpotting.


  • 8 years ago

    They look absolutely perfect, must taste wonderful as well.

  • 8 years ago

    Oh my goodness, those look AWESOME!

  • 8 years ago

    Oh I always always pick up a few when I do my grocery shopping in a turkish shop! I love them plain but they are great with some butter and cheese as well!

    • 8 years ago

      Thanks, but I think they are just fine without cheese and butter. Unless you mean the vegan version. :)

  • 8 years ago

    The perfect looking roll!

  • twoveganboys
    8 years ago

    This looks so good. I am going to try this recipe after Passover. ;)

  • 8 years ago

    Those look really great! I love sesame seeds in bread, they just give it such a nice texture.

  • 8 years ago

    They remind me of the sesame baguettes we can sometimes find in some shops in Mauritius. They look really yummy!

  • 8 years ago

    you’ve got the touch, my bread always sucks.

    • 8 years ago

      No, I don’t believe that. It’s just a little practice. :)

  • 8 years ago

    Yet another terrific bread recipe from you! I hadn’t heard of simit before. I’m always glad to be learning something new, especially when it looks so yummy!

  • 8 years ago

    i know i always say this, Mihl – but i always, always, ALWAYS learn something new from your posts. simit was totally unknown to me before now – thank you. your simit bagels look perfect, and the poppy seed rolls…..oooooh my gosh, they’re so beautiful! you always rock out with the best breads ‘n baked goods, Mihl – i can’t get enough of all the awesomeness you create!

  • 8 years ago

    Woohoo! I loved having a tea and simit in the morning in Istanbul, and I always wondered whether they were vegan. Thanks for the recipe, I will be making these pronto!

  • 8 years ago

    The Turkish bread looks amazing, especially since I’ve been craving some homemade bagels!

  • 8 years ago

    These are stunning! The first pic looks very much like bagels. . . do they have a different texture? Both would be gone in minutes over here (the HH is a huge bread/roll fan)!

  • 8 years ago

    Wow, these rools look terrific :D And it doesn’t sound like a very difficult recipe. For a long time the presence of fresh yeast in a recipe was enough to back me out. Now I even subtitute baking powder with it when I have the time :)

    The closer I have been to a bagel was in a second hand English books shop, in Krakow (they served american baking goods and hot drinks. Very cozy :D) but we didn’t buy any.

    So maybe I will give your recipe a try: I don’t have sesame seeds, but I still have poppy seeds from my last travel to the Russian grocery shop (most of Spanish people ignore its existence u.u)

  • 8 years ago

    I love those bagels! They look great!

  • 8 years ago

    So beautiful as usual! So glad you tweeted this, because it didn’t come up in my reader! Grr, evil reader!
    I love poppy seed anything but I’m the only one so I don’t go too heavy on them, otherwise I eat them all!

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