Saturday, 1 February 2014

Baking Eggless January - Greek Simiti/Koulouri - Sesame Crusted Bread Rings

Ever heard of diva tantrums? For instance, "I want exactly 10 sesame seeds on top of my burger bun, not more, not less". Well in that case, this one is not for you dearie!

Eggless baking challenge for the month of January was Sesame crusted bread rings, a Greek Simiti.

I planned to make only 3-4 of these bread rings. But I had measured out the full recipe for 10 bread rings. While wondering if I should make 10 or just 5 bread rings, I stuck to making just 5, since the diva tantrums I told you about, apply to my little girl too.

So here goes the recipe from My little expat kitchen:

For the dough
11 g (3 tsp) dried instant yeast
220 ml plus 30 ml (2 Tbsp) lukewarm water
30 g (2 Tbsp) caster sugar
650 g all-purpose flour
1 large egg - Refer to Egg substituion
30 ml (2 Tbsp) olive oil plus extra for oiling the bowl
100 ml lukewarm fresh whole milk
8 g (1 tsp) salt 

For the coating
1½ cups sesame seeds
⅓ cup grape-must syrup (petimezi) diluted in ¼ cup water -- use Honey

Special equipment: mixer with dough hook attachment (optional), one or two baking sheets, baking paper

Egg substitution: Grind a tablespoon of flax seeds with a tablespoon of water and 3 tablespoons of milk


In a large bowl add the yeast and the 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of lukewarm water. Massage the yeast with your fingertips into a paste and then add the sugar, the rest of the water, the flour, the egg, the olive oil, the milk and the salt, in that order.

Attach the dough hook and knead for about 7 minutes, on the lowest speed, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl and it is smooth and elastic. The dough should be soft, pliable, slightly moist but one that does not stick to your hands.

If you're using a mixer for kneading the dough, turn out the dough onto a clean and lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball.

Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil and place the ball of dough inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place, allowing the dough to proof and double in size. It takes about 30 minutes for Bangalore weather, when placed in the microwave oven. 

In the meantime, toast the sesame seeds. In a large frying pan, add the sesame seeds and toast them over medium heat, stirring them around constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon, until they take on a light brown color and start releasing their aroma. Be careful not to burn them because they'll have a bitter taste.

Prepare your baking sheet by lining the bottom with a piece of baking paper. I baked 5 simitis in one baking sheet.
Place the toasted sesame seeds and the honey that's been diluted in water in two separate, medium-sized and deep plates.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius / 390 Fahrenheit.

Once the dough has proofed, take it out of the bowl and knead it for a couple of seconds just to deflate it a bit. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces (100-110 g each) and shape them into 5 balls. Take each ball of dough and roll it on a lightly floured surface into a 50-60 cm-long rope. 
Note: Don't flour your work surface too much because you need friction in order to shape the balls into ropes.
Bring the two ends of the rope together and braid the two strands. Then, form a ring and press the edges together to seal. You can use a little bit of water to make the ends stick. 

Place the simiti on the baking sheet and continue rolling the other balls of dough.

Once you have prepared all your simitia, take each one and first dip it in the honey and water mixture, coating it well on all sides and then immediately dip it in the sesame seeds, coating it thickly on all sides. Then return each simiti to your baking sheet. Continue doing the same with the rest. Place the simiti with enough space between them. They rise while baking. 

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake the simitia for about 20 minutes, until they take on a golden-brown color.

Place the baked simitia on a wire rack and eat them while still warm or when they have completely cooled.

If you would like to use Petimezi, it is grapes molasses and if you find it it would be great. If you love to make it at home here are two  links to the process.

Verdict: Honey was a wonderful choice. And the sesame seeds were beautifully roasted, but still I should say, there were way too many sesame seeds, not to my liking. But the bread was soft and wonderful.
What did I do with the rest of the dough? I just made 16 balls, placed them on a 8x8 square pan and made pav-type of buns... As soon as the simitia was done, my little girl ate one whole, sans the sesame seeds, and I finished it for breakfast and snacks over the next couple of days. The pav-like buns were devoured by everyone at home as a side serve for tea :)
priya's signature image at photobucket

1 comment:

Rafeeda AR said...

the kids loved it because of the sesame seeds!!! i'd to mop all the seeds that were on the floor... hehe...