Saffron Buns (St. Lucia’s Day)

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Gorgeous in Color and Buttery in Taste!

If you listened to the podcast episode Christmas Feasting, you’ll know that these wonderful enriched buns are a staple during the holidays, especially on December 13th in honor of St. Lucy’s Day. Also called Lussekatter (meaning St. Lucia’s cats), this is a Swedish favorite at Christmas. S-shaped and saffron-infused, they are slightly sweet, wonderfully buttery, and a vibrant yellow from the saffron-infused dough. I can’t wait to hear what you think — and see your photos!

NOTE: Plan ahead a little when making these, was the dough will need to rise twice.

Ingredients

3/4 cup nondairy butter

2 cups nondairy milk (+ extra for brushing)

1 teaspoon of saffron threads

¼ cup dry yeast

3-½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Raisins / sultanas

Directions

In a small pot, heat the butter, milk, and saffron together until the milk is steamy and finger-warm. Do not boil! Let cool until it’s warm to the touch, but not hot.

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm saffron-infused milk, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it starts to foam.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together 3-1/2 cups of the flour, the 1/4 cup of sugar, and salt. (You can do this by hand, as well; it’s just easier with a stand mixer.)

Make a well in the center, and add the milk / butter / saffron / yeast mixture, and mix until it is well incorporated. 

Knead by hand, or switch to the dough hook of your mixer, and knead on low speed. Add additional flour if necessary, kneading to incorporate after each addition. Continue until the dough is still a little sticky to the touch, but does not completely stick to your hands.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl.

First rise

Cover with a towel, and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. (At least an hour.)

Once your dough has risen, place it on a floured counter. Break off a piece and form it into a ball about 2 inches wide. Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long. 

Next, curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an “S” with spirals at each end (or the shape of your choice.) Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Second rise

Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30 minutes to an hour. 

Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). 

Brush with plant-based milk, and gently push a raisin/sultana in each swirl on the buns.

Bake each tray in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes until just golden. Let cool for a few minutes, but they’re absolutely delicious eaten warm with butter (non-dairy, of course).

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