Crunchy delights: Turkish simit sesame bagels are perfect for summer picnics and brunch

Turkish simit sesame bagels are a versatile and delicious treat. These crispy delights are a snap to bake in advance and perfect to grab for late breakfast. Join us as we explore how to bring a little crunch to your brunch!

Simit sesame bagels
Crown the most beautiful days of summer with brunch and simits, Turkish bagels! The Svelte cup also makes a great vase. The simits are wrapped in a Ram napkin by HAY and the linen tablecloth is from Iittala.

IN TURKEY and other parts of the Middle East, the popular simit is often enjoyed for breakfast with tea, jams, and cheese or a Turkish Ayran yogurt drink. Simits are a big part of Turkish street food and can be bought throughout the day. Elsewhere in the world, simits are a delicacy mostly found in Eastern markets, but they are really easy to make at home! The dough is pleasant to handle and instead of syrup (the traditional dark syrup will do) you can use honey for dipping.

If shaping the bread seems difficult, there are plenty of tutorial videos on social media. It's important to stretch the simit big enough so it doesn't turn into a bagel. With this recipe, you can make either 4 giant pretzels or 8 smaller ones, depending entirely on the size you want to bake!

Unlike soft, chewy, and bready bagels, simit bagels are crispy on the outside but airy and fluffy inside. They have a crumble texture, making it easy to break off pieces to enjoy with various snacks. You can enjoy simits simply as they are for breakfast, perhaps with jam, or you can make an effort and turn them into part of an easy brunch.

Simit sesame bagels
Simit sesame pretzels are a great complement to different small snacks. The cherries and apricots are laid out on the Teema plate, the eggs in the deep Play bowl, and the cucumber slices on the KoKo oval platter.
Simit sesame bagels
Iittala's small Play bowl makes the perfect serving dish for olives. The Carelia salad servers are from Hackman and the green Fish & Fish glass is from Serax.

Serve alongside the simits:

  • Soft-boiled eggs seasoned with salt, pepper, chili flakes, and a generous handful of chopped herbs (dill, mint, coriander). Dukkah spice also goes well with the eggs.
  • Feta cheese with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh oregano and sour berries (barberries), dried cranberries, or pomegranate seeds.
  • Olives and/or vine leaf rolls.
  • Sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and herbs.
  • Fruits such as apricots, figs, cherries, or watermelon. Dried apricots, figs, and dates are also delicious.
  • Labneh cheese, made from strained yogurt, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with nuts.
Simit sesame bagels
Serve coffee or tea as a brunch drink. Petite Friture's Donut mug is a perfect choice for hot beverages. The feta cheese is served on the Bernadotte plate by Georg Jensen.

Simits (Turkish sesame bagels)

Ingredients (4–8 pcs):

480 g of wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dry yeast
300 ml water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Dipping broth
300 ml water
4 tbsp dark syrup
100 g toasted sesame seeds


Add the flour, sugar, and dry yeast to a bowl. Mix the water and olive oil into the dough. Add salt and work the dough by hand for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Let the dough rest under plastic wrap for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare the dipping broth for the pretzels by soaking the syrup in warm water in a bowl about 20 cm deep. Pour the sesame seeds onto a flat plate.

Pour the dough onto a floured surface and gently press out the air. Divide the dough into 4–8 pieces, depending on the desired size of the pretzels, and roll them into balls. Let the balls rest for about 10 minutes under a cloth. Then take one ball at a time and knead it into a long, thin rod about 30 cm long. This is easier when you have a little water in your hands so that there is a little friction in the dough to help form the rod. Fold the dough rod in half and twist the ends in opposite directions to form a nice spiral. Connect the ends together securely so that the pretzel stays closed.

Finish by rolling all the pretzels and then dip them on both sides in the syrup and then in the sesame seeds. At the same time, you can stretch the pretzel a little to keep its shape thinner.

Let the bread rise on the baking sheet under a cloth for about an hour. Bake the bagels at 225 degrees Celsius for about 20–25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and enjoy as part of breakfast or on their own. (You can bake 2 sheets at once: place them in the oven on the top and bottom racks and switch the positions halfway through.)

Set the summer table 

Fish & Fish glass
Svelte cup
Play table cloth
Carelia salad servers
Petite Friture
Donut mug
Georg Jensen
Bernadotte cake plate
Play bowl
Ram napkin

Suvi Kesäläinen

Design Stories contributor Suvi Kesäläinen is a photographer, who loves to create dishes that are not only delicious but also fast and easy to make. She’s passionate about the best seasonal ingredients, local food, and intriguing culinary trends.

See also:

All tableware >

Text and images: Suvi Kesäläinen

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