Kouloúria Thessalonikis - crunchy and chewy, breakfast bread rings

Jan 12, 2014

Greece is not famous for street food but in cities around the country you will always come across someone either standing by a little glass kiosk or carrying a huge tray selling just one thing: deliciously  crunchy and  chewy freshly baked bread rings. Kouloúria are the classic breakfast or mid morning snack for almost every busy office worker or visitor to the center. 

 These bread rings are called  ‘kouloúria Thessalonikis’ The word kouloúri means something coiled or circular and it is such a perfect description that  the ancient Greeks used the same word, kolyria, to describe their bread treats. Around the eastern Mediterranean such bread rings are also known as known as simit  or simiti.
 In the old days paper thin pieces of yellow hard cheese were sold with the bread rings for those who wanted a more filling snack.

Kouloúria have never stopped being popular and, generation after generation, people who appreciate their nutritional value have continued to buy them from street vendors or bakeries. The sesame seeds which cover the surface of every koulouria  are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are rich in protein (25 percent by weight). And better yet, one delicious bread ring has no more than 100 calories.

Kouloúria Thessalonikis

Makes 6-8 bread rings

250gr bread flour
150gr lukewarm water
1tbsp sugar
1tsp salt
4gr dry bread yeast
1tbsp olive oil

To roll the bread rings:

2tbsp sugar
1/2cup of lukewarm water
50gr sesame seeds

In a bowl add the flour, yeast, sugar and salt, and gradually pour in most of the water while mixing the ingredients with your hands. When the water has been absorbed, add the rest of it along with the olive oil and knead for a few minutes until a soft and slightly sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it stand in a warm spot for half an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Dust your working area with flour, transfer the dough and divide it in six or eight pieces. Roll out each piece by hand to a thin rope (according to your taste) and shape them into rings. Transfer the bread rings to baking pans lined with baking paper. In a bowl mix the lukewarm water with the sugar until the sugar dissolves and with this solution brush the bread rings. Sprinkle the bread rings with sesame, cover, and let rest for about 20min until they rise.
Bake them for about 15-20min in a preheated oven at 200 C until golden. Transfer immediately from pans to wire racks and let cool. Enjoy!   


  1. they remind me of bagels i had in montreal. they look great!

    1. Thank you Dina. Actually in many bakeries koulouria are used like bagels for sandwiches with ham and cheese.

  2. I just finished kneading the dough..waiting for it to rise. .the bread rings look amazing. Let's see how mine turn out..keeping my fingers crossed.
    You have a lovely blog and some beautiful recioes.

  3. I baked the bread rings..seems I have gone wrong some where..I placed them on the baking sheet ...and after baking the baking sheets got stuck to the bread..the crunch and the taste is amazing..wonder where have I gone wrong? Help! :)

    1. Good news for their taste! You should have used baking paper to avoid sticking on the baking pan. I' m sure next time they will look great. I'm glad you tried them :)

  4. Thank you so much for this amazingly easy recipe Panos. I completely loved this.