Monday, February 03, 2014

Eggless Greek Simiti - Eggless Baking Challenge

This month, the Baking Eggless Group celebrated the 2 year anniversary of their eggless baking adventures ! Wishing all the members a very happy anniversary ! This month, the challenge set before the  bakers was the Greek Simiti bread which is a kind of a sesame encrusted yeasted bread rings. These are apparently sold plentifully by Greek street vendors as well as in the bakeries. These Simiti or Koulouri are a popular local breakfast item. This recipe was suggested by Priya Suresh of Priya's Versatile Recipes.

I have realized that I like baking - breads , muffins , cakes, cookies are all enjoyable, not only for the end results, but also for the entire process. So I was looking forward to baking this beautiful bread earlier in the month. But Man Proposes and God Disposes, after all. Sniffling little noses, cranky toddlers and cold weather all contrived to push my baking attempt to the very end of the month. But bake them I did and was really glad.

There was a single egg to be replaced, so that wasnt a hardship at all.
The original recipe is beautifully explained with detailed pictures at My Little Expat Kitchen.


1 packet instant yeast
1/2 C warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1½ C white whole wheat flour
1½ C unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp salt
¼ C warm milk
¼ C yogurt 

¾ C toasted sesame seeds
3 Tbsp honey diluted with 2 Tbsp water

1. Mix the yeast with the warm water and then add the sugar, yogurt, milk, oil , the flour and the salt into the yeast mixture.
2. Add only about 2 C of the flour initially and then add more if and when required. The dough should be slightly moist, not sticky.
3. Knead the dough for about 8 - 10 minutes, until you get a smooth, soft dough.
4. Coat a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turn it once so that all sides are coated with the oil. Cover loosely and place in a warm spot for about 45 minutes, until dough doubles in volume.
5. I usually keep my yeast dough in the oven with the light on.
6. Prepare a large baking sheet by placing a parchment paper over it.
7. Preheat your oven to 390 degree F.
8.Once the dough has had enough time to prove, remove it from the bowl, deflate it slightly.
9.Divide the dough into 6 equal parts.
10. Roll each piece into a long, even rope. Twist the rope at the top and then braid it down its length. Bring the end of the twisted braid together to form a ring. Use water to seal the ends, if required.

11. Dip the rings on all sides in the honey water combination. The original recipe used grape molasses, which would probably give a wonderful, subtly exotic sweetness to these rolls. I wasnt able to find the molasses in my local health food store. I could probably have found it in stores that stocked Mediterranean products.
12. Coat the honeyed rings with the toasted sesame seeds and place them on the baking sheet.

13. Ensure that there is enough space between the rolls.
14. Bake these rolls for about 20 minutes, until they are golden brown all around.

15. Remove from the oven when cooked through and serve warm !

1. I was probably wool gathering when I mixed up my dough, because first I forgot to add the oil and then I added slightly more flour than was probably required. The original recipe was written with metric measurements and I not only converted the recipe into the Standard US form but also halved it. I should have added flour gradually, but the dough was still forgiving.
2. Toast the sesame seeds on a medium flame and keep stirring so that the seeds are toasted evenly and do not burn.
3. The bread rolls were delicious - nutty flavored from the abundant sesame seeds, the slight sweetness from the honey and the crustiness beneath it all.
4. I got about 6 medium sized rolls from this recipe.

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