Nevşehir Simit

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Nevşehir Bagel

Nevşehir simit is a pastry with rounded edges, close to a rectangle, unlike the simit form available in other provinces of Turkey. It weighs approximately 100 grams. For the dough, not ready-made yeast, but naturally fermented chickpea yeast is daily prepared by the skillful specialists of Nevşehir. It is known that Nevşehir simit, prepared with no sugar or salt, keeps fresh for seven to ten days. Including no dominant taste of sugar or salt, the aroma of chickpea yeast can be felt and produced in the province since 1700.
The production method of Nevşehir Simit has been sustained through generations with the cultural knowledge passed down by the skilled artisans of the region. In the fermentation of the dough, natural daily chickpea yeast prepared by the skilled craftsmen of Nevşehir is used instead of ready-made yeast. It is known that Nevşehir Simit, cooked only with flour, water, and daily prepared chickpea yeast, without the addition of sugar and salt, remains fresh for seven to ten days without getting stale.
Nevşehir Simit is a type of bread product unique to Turkey, but Nevşehir simit is a local and regional simit specific to Nevşehir. It is produced only in Nevşehir province. Although it does not have a religious significance, it is frequently consumed as a snack by the local people throughout the day. It is still produced in local bakeries, preserving the local production method. While industrial ready-made yeast is used in almost all bread and bakery products produced worldwide, this type of bread product, which is a kind of pastry, is cooked with daily homemade yeast obtained from chickpeas. This feature makes Nevşehir Simit healthy and specific to the region.
Nevşehir simit is made in two stages: preparation of chickpea yeast and the preparation of the simit. For the first stage, the chickpeas grown in the region are crushed and taken into a wide-bottomed, narrow bottle. Boiled water as much as the chickpea’s volume is added. It is covered and preserved on the oven’s roof at approximately 30 °C to 40 °C for 8-9 hours. The foam saved on the chickpea is taken into a bowl and kneaded with approximately 200 grams of flour to make a dough. The dough is covered and left to be fermented for 2 hours on the oven. The dough, which has small bubbles on the surface after 2 hours, is used as yeast. 7 Liters of water and 25 kilograms of flour are added to the yeast and kneaded again to the consistency of an earlobe (as it is locally described). The second dough kneaded is covered and left to be fermented for about 2 hours. The dough, which has small bubbles on the surface, is used as yeast for 50 kilograms of flour and kneaded with approximately 15 litters of water and 50 kilograms of flour. The dough is kneaded by machine. No salt or sugar is added to the dough to avoid failure of chickpea yeast. It takes approximately one and a half hours for the prepared dough to ferment.
The dough is cut into smaller pieces in the range of 110-120 grams and shaped into a cylinder by hand on the marble. The prepared simits are pressed and placed side by side on the tray. Each array is usually done in rows of ten. To prevent the simits from rising too much, each simit is shaped with an oval-shaped ring.
Nevşehir Simit is still produced by only three local simit bakeries in the province. It is a laborious product to produce and requires expertise. Preparing the yeast is quite laborious and requires experience. Since it is not produced industrially and cannot be produced that way, the continuity of the product is at risk since the knowledge of the production method is only passed down by a few living masters.

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Bread and baked goods

Nominated by:Hatice Arslan - Kapadokya Slow Food