Looking like a bagel and covered liberally with sesame seeds, simit are hugely popular and sold from street carts all over Turkey. Traditionally eaten as a savoury breakfast bread with a lump of feta-like cheese and some tomatoes, they also taste mighty fine with butter and jam. The pekmez date molasses is traditional, but may be hard to source; pomegranate molasses is an ideal substitute.
Add the flour, yeast and salt to a food mixer fitted with a dough hook and stir briefly to mix. With the motor running slowly, gently pour in the water and mix to a fairly stiff dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8–10 minutes. You can also make this by hand, kneading for a few minutes longer to get a smooth, stretchy dough.
Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to prove until doubled in size. This will take an hour or two at room temperature, or you can prove it overnight in the fridge.
When the dough has risen, tip it on to a lightly oiled worktop and chop into 16 even-sized pieces. Take 1 piece and roll it into a long sausage shape about 1.5cm thick. Repeat with another piece of dough, then twist the two lengths around each other like a rope. Bring the two ends of the rope together and press firmly to join, shaping into a circular ring, much like a bagel, and lay on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining dough to give you 8 simit in total, spread out over a couple of baking trays.
Tip the sesame seeds into a flat, wide bowl, and mix the pekmez (or pomegranate molasses) and 50ml water in another wide bowl. Take a simit and dip one side into the thinned pekmez, give it a shake to get rid of excess moisture, then dip the wet side into the sesame seeds to get an even coating. Return to the baking tray, sesame side up, and repeat with the other 7. Set aside to prove for 10–15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas Mark 7. Slide the trays into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until deep golden brown. These are best served warm from the oven.