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Alternative names Turkish bagel (United States)[1]
Type Bread
Region or state East Europe and Western Asia
Main ingredients sesame seeds
Variations Covrigi
Cookbook:Simit  Simit

Simit or Gevrek (Turkish)[2] (Macedonian: ѓеврек), Bulgarian: геврек), is a circular bread, typically encrusted with sesame seeds or the less usual poppy or sunflower, common in Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and other parts of the Balkans, and across the Middle East from Egypt to Lebanon and beyond. Simit's size, crunch, 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 those of other cities. Simits in Turkey are made with molasses.

Etymology and regional name variants[edit]

A covrig

Simit comes from the Arabic samīd (سميد), meaning white bread or fine flour.[3] and semolina.[4]

Other names include the Greek σιμίτι[5]), Aramaic qeluro/qelora, Greek koulouri (κουλούρι), đevrek (Serbian: ђеврек), gjevrek (Macedonian: ѓеврек), gevrek (Turkish, Bulgarian: геврек), covrig (Romanian: covrig) (the last four, from "gevrek" in Turkish, meaning "crisp", is the colloquial name in some parts of Turkey also used to describe all crisp bread),[6] [7]roskas [8] turkas in Ladino language of Sefardi Jews).


Simit has a long history in Istanbul. Archival sources show that the simit has been produced in Istanbul since 1525.[9] Based on Üsküdar court records (Şer’iyye Sicili) dated 1593,[10] the weight and price of simit was standardized for the first time. Famous 17th-century traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote that there were 70 simit bakeries in Istanbul during the 1630s [11] Jean Brindesi's early 19th-century oil-paintings about Istanbul daily life show simit sellers on the streets.[12] Warwick Goble, too, made an illustration of these simit sellers of Istanbul in 1906.[13] Simit and its variants became a widespread bread-type all-around the Ottoman Empire in centuries.


Drinking Turkish tea with simit is traditional in Turkish culture. Simit is generally served plain, or for breakfast with tea, fruit preserves, or cheese or ayran.

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 ("Sıcak, sıcak!") and extremly hot ("El yakıyor!" means "It can burn your hand!") when they are not long out of the oven.

Simit is an important symbol for lower and middle-class people of Turkey. Sometimes it is called as "susam kebabı" (sesame kebab) in Turkey.


A type of bread very similar to simit is known as obwarzanek in Poland and bublik in Russia and Ukraine. The main difference is that the rings of dough are poached briefly in boiling water prior to baking (similarly to bagels), instead of being dipped in water and molasses syrup, as is the case with simit.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Raisfeld, Robin and Rob Patronite (2009-10-18). "Lord of the Rings". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kees Versteegh, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics. IV (Q–Z). Brill. p. 262 (entry samīd). ISBN 978-90-04-14476-7. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Babiniotis dictionary, Andriotis dictionary, s.v.
  6. ^ Modern Turkish Dictionary. TDK
  7. ^ Evliya Çelebi's guidebook, Seyahatname, 1680.
  8. ^ Matilda Koén-Sarano Diksionario Ladino-Ebreo,Ebreo-Ladino,S.Zack,Jerusalem 2010
  9. ^ Sahillioğlu, Halil. “Osmanlılarda Narh Müessesesi ve 1525 Yılı Sonunda İstanbul’da Fiyatlar”. Belgelerle Türk Tarihi 2 [The Narh Institution in the Ottoman Empire and the Prices in Istanbul in Late 1525. Documents in Turkish History 2] (Kasım 1967): 56
  10. ^ Ünsal, Artun. Susamlı Halkanın Tılsımı.[The Secret of the Ring with Sesames] İstanbul: YKY, 2010: 45
  11. ^ Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi Kitap I. [The Seyahatname Book I] (Prof. Dr. Robert Dankoff, Seyit Ali Kahraman, Yücel Dağlı). İstanbul: YKY, 2006: 231
  12. ^ Jean Brindesi, Illustrations de Elbicei atika. Musée des anciens costumes turcs d'Istanbul , Paris: Lemercier, [1855]
  13. ^ Alexander Van Millingen, Constantinople (London: Black, 1906)