Whole Wheat Koulouri/Greek Politiko Simiti

The Baking Eggless group has completed two years and is entering the third successful year. I have managed to bake most of the challenges, but i m particularly crazy for breads, this month challenge was to bake Greek Simit, Crunchy sesame seeds coated twisted bread, suggested by +Priya Suresh.

A Little more info on Simit, It is a circular bread with sesame seeds, very common in Greece, Turkey, as well as in Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and other parts of the Balkans and Middle East such as Egypt and Lebanon. Drinking Turkish tea with simit is traditional in Turkish culture. Simit is generally served plain, or for breakfast with tea, fruit preserves, or cheese. Simit’s size, crunchiness/chewiness, and other characteristics vary slightly by region. In the city of İzmir, simit is known as “gevrek,” although it is very similar to the Istanbul variety. Simits in Ankara, which is the capital of Turkey, are smaller and crisper than the ones in other cities. Simits in Turkey are made with molasses. Simits are often sold by street vendors, who either have a simit trolley or carry the simit in a tray on their head. Street merchants generally advertise simit as fresh (“Taze simit!”/”Taze gevrek!”) since they are baked throughout the day; otherwise hot (when they are not long out of the oven.

Recipe Source: My Little Expat Kitchen

Ingredients:Makes 5 Simiti
2 cups Wheat flour
1 tsp Instant Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
1 Cup Lukewarm Milk + 1/4 Cup Warm Water
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt

Ingredients for Grape molasses
1 Ltr fresh grape juice (i used store-bought 100% grape juice)

1/2 Cup White sesame seeds
3 tbsp Grape molasses, diluted with 2 tbsp water or substitute with molasses/honey

For Grape molasses
Take the Juice in heavy bottom pan and heat in a simmer flame. Let this be simmering until it reaches 1/4 of its original volume. Take it off the heat. Let it cool compleltely. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. 

For making the bread

  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, sugar, yeast and oil. Mix together milk and water and add it to the flour mix, to make a soft and slightly sticky dough.
  • Take the dough to the counter and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.Place the kneaded dough inside an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and allow it to double for 1 hour.
  • While the dough is resting, roast the sesame seeds.Take them in a flat pan and roast  until slightly brown and aromatic. Remove and cool.
  • In a bowl mix together grape molasses and water.Deflate the dough and divide into 5 equal portions. 
  • Divide each portion into two and roll each portion into a 60 cm long rope. bring together and twist to form a braid. Bring together the ends and seal to form a braided ring.
  • Dip the ring in grape molasses and place it on the sesame seeds. Coat the ring completely with the seeds. Place the coated ring on a baking tray.
  • Complete all the rings.Since i made only 5 Simitis, i baked them all in one single batch. Let the Simitis sit for another 30 minutes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned.
  • Remove from oven and serve it hot or warm. Just slather it with little butter or cheese and enjoy warm. 
  • My little one enjoyed as such when it was warm, he sort of liked to bite into the seedy crust, unlike kuttu!! 🙂
Since i have used whole wheat flour, i needed around 1 and 1/4 cup of liquid to make the dough. In case using All Purpose flour, you might need less liquid to make the dough. So use accordingly, i would advice you to start with 3/4 cup of milk first and then add extra, if needed.