Simit is a Turkish small, dry bread roll with sesame seeds on it. It is usually shaped in a ring, like a bagel, about 6 inches (15 cm) wide and about 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) thick. Occasionally, though, you may see it as a small, rounded loaf.
It can vary in how crunchy or chewy it is, based on the region. In Istanbul and Izmir, the Simit tends to be crunchy.
Simit are sold on the street by vendors called “simitci.” The sellers don’t make them; they buy them from the bakeries to resell on the street.
They are made of flour, water, milk, sugar, salt, and yeast. Some recipes may have butter and egg yolk added and yet other recipes now use baking powder instead of yeast.
The dough is shaped into rings, dipped into a mixture of cold water and grape molasses, then pressed into sesame seeds and baked.
Sometimes Simit are sold in cafes without the hole, and filled with cheese, sausage and olives.
Simit can be eaten plain, with a fruit preserve or with cheese.
Simit are also made in Armenia. In Armenia, the dough is sweetened with a greater quantity of sugar added vs. the Turkish version.
Simit is similar to Greek “koulouri” bread.
It is recorded that by the second half of the 1600s, there were 70 bakeries making Simit in Istanbul.
“Simit” means “semolina” in Turkish.
In İzmir, Turkey, a Simit is called “gevrek,” (meaning “crisp”.)