Do you know what gevrek is?
If you happen to visit Izmir, you probably seen everywhere gevrek. Rest of Turkey has simit, not gevrek.
There is a difference between two.
Simit commonly consume in Turkey. It can be defined as traditional snack for all Turks. We eat for breakfast, or any time when we feel hungry. One simit and a glass of tea brings the simple happiness.. You can buy simit in everywhere in Turkey.
On the other hand you will find Gevrek in Izmir and Izmir provenance only. There is no gevrek in Istanbul or other cities.
Often you hear someone is yelling in the street “Gevrekçi. Taze gevrek, çıtır gevrek!” This is the sound of the gevrek seller who tells people there is fresh gevrek in his food-cart. Not only people eat gevrek in Izmir, also birds, even hungry street cats and dogs. Do not be surprised to see old plastic yogurt cup filled gevrek pieces soaked into milk, under a tree. That is probably for street cats and dogs. There is an Izmirian habit feeding seagulls at the ferries between Konak to Karşıyaka with gevrek too.
If you pay attention closely in the morning and afternoon about 5pm, young men (sometimes even kids, boys), a gevrek seller who walks in the streets with hot gevrek tray on his head. If you are around Alsancak, Karşıkaya, Bornova or Konak you will see lots of gevrek vendor selling warm gevrek in their glass window food-carts on the corner of streets, large boulevards.
You should not tell a Izmirian gevrek and simit are the same thing. It is almost an insult to them. if you eat both of them, you will realize they may look alike, but taste quite different.
It seems like people confuse about differences between gevrek and simit.
Let me repeat they look very similar, but they are not the same thing.
Their dough is different, the way is shapes the roll also different as well as the baking method.
The short answer is; Gevrek cooked twice in order to make sesame seeds crisp. Gevrek is a baked good is in a ring shape. Bakery forms the dough into rings. Then they drop rings into boiling water mixed with pekmez (grape molassas). When they roll the gevrek dough, they dip gevrek in a hot watery grape molassas in order to puff the dough. So the gevrek rings cooks into that water first. After a few minutes cooking the rings, they are lifted out with a strainer and drained. Then rings covered with sesame seeds and bake the gevrek in a stone oven. Pekmez is grape molassas commonly used in Izmir area. There are many grape yards around Aegean region, such as golden color seedless sultani grapes. Izmir’s Sultani uzum pekmez has distinctive taste. Pekmez contain deep sweet and rich flavor. When you cook sesame seeds with pekmez, the slightly burned sweet taste comes from this combination.
How to make Gevrek?
Gevrek uses mayalı hamur, yeast based dough, and blended with grape syrup. It is cooked after dipped into pekmez. When the gevrek dough is ready, you put the rings into in a hot water mixed with grape molassas. You leave them a few minutes then take them out and cover with sesame seeds and bake. That is why gevrek taste more crispy, than simit.
Gevrek rolls flat when it is given the ring shape, versus to simit rolls roundish. Many real gevrek oven only sells gevrek, like old Alsancak gevrek fırını (behind the Saint Joseph high school) close to Alsancak train station. Those gevrek oven also commonly use wood for baking,in a (taş fırın) stone oven not electrical oven. I must admit Alsancak Gevrek Fırını is the best in the town. Their gevrek is not comparable by others. It is one of the oldest oven in the city, it has been around 1880’s. Since 1962, the owner Zeynel Ergin makes sure every morning 5 am, they bake gevrek for İzmir. If you are around Alsancak gar in the morning, go to narrow streets, buy a gevrek and enjoy the morning of Izmir.
Simit dough is based on a bread dough. It is cooked only once with sesame seeds on top. If you are Turk and live abroad , you crave for gevrek and kumru. And please do not tell me eat sesame donut instead of gevrek! Not even close….
In Izmir and Çeşme also you can buy kumru which is similar to gevrek. It is oval shape pastry filled with slice of white cheese, slice of tomato, and a green chili pepper. You can buy kumru cold or if you are around a kumru bufe they can make it hot for you, in a toast machine with variety of ingredients such as salami, sausage or with melted tulum cheese.
Gevrek and kumru are definitely very Izmirian snacks. To understand the nuance between gevrek and simit, you just have to eat it. Afiyet olsun.
Address: Alsancak Gevrek Fırını: 1439 Sok. No:13 Alsancak, Konak, Izmir
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