Friday, January 21, 2011

Mini Sesame Bagels (Kandil Simidi)

These traditional bagels are freshly baked and sold at bakeries and pastry shops in Turkey only on certain religious days called kandils (kandeels). They are always a real treat, sooo crumbly they melt in your mouth...
And what makes them really authentic and special is that wonderfully aromatic spice: Mahleb (I love you, Mahlep!).
There are so many places in Turkey that make these delicious bagels on kandeels, my mom never needed to bake them at home (however she always made the effort to go to the bakery to buy them on those days). But I'm glad I took on the challenge to learn how to make them in my kitchen in America, since it is so heart-warming to be able to eat them and share them with friends here...

Ingredients: (Makes about 12-16 2 1/2-inch bagels)

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 egg, yolk and white separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mahleb
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sesame seeds


  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except flour, sesame seed and egg white.
  • Add the flour gradually and knead until you achieve a soft, but non-sticky dough.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Tear pieces from the dough that are a bit bigger than a whole walnut. On a clean surface, first, roll and stretch them into a stick that is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thin; then put the two ends of the stick together to build a circle (this gives you a bagel that is about 2 1/2" wide).
  • Dip one surface of the circles (bagels), first into egg white, then into sesame seeds. Put them sesame seed-side up onto a baking sheet (or two) that is lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the bagels in the oven for 25 min, or until golden brown.

Additional points:

  • Above given amount of flour (1 1/2 to 2 cups) is only a suggestion to give you a head start. Our true reference for this dough is not the exact amount of flour, but the quality we want to achieve, which is a soft, but non-sticky dough. So, depending on a lot of different things, you may need more or less flour than the suggested amount; therefore add the flour gradually and check the status of the dough after each addition: If you add too little flour, the dough will be too oily and sticky to handle/make bagels out of. Stop adding flour as soon as the dough starts not feeling sticky anymore; if you keep adding after that point, you may end up with a tough dough which would not give you crumbly bagels.
  • Rolling the dough and building the rings takes a bit practice first, since this is a delicate dough; but soon you will be more comfortable and having fun with it.

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