Rediscovering Palestinian Cuisine

Ka’ak bi simsim: The OG Bagel (or, the Jerusalem Sesame Bagel)

Ka’ak bi simsim: The OG Bagel (or, the Jerusalem Sesame Bagel)

Bread making is an ancient tradition, and most cultures in the world have some version of this delightful loop of chewiness. Is ka’ak the original bagel? Since the Middle East is home to perhaps the oldest methods of bread-making in the world (yep: at least 4,000 years of perfecting fermentation), it’s safe to say that ka’ak is among the earliest Levantine (Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian) iterations of what we in the West now call the bagel. It is baked, not boiled like American bagels, smothered in sesame seeds (simsim) and usually has an oblong shape. Ka’ak can be dipped in za’atar + olive oil and served with olives, pickled vegetables, or spread with labneh yogurt cheese (we’ll teach you how to make labneh in a future post!).

Be forewarned: making ka’ak the authentic way is basically a half-day endeavor due to long rising times. So, tackle this on a weekend, or, like us, when you are snowed in from the bomb cyclone that decides to batter the entire East Coast.

 

Pre-baked dough rings, covered in sesame seeds

 

 

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