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Saffron is the most expensive spice on Earth. Scratch that. It’s the most expensive food on Earth. And no wonder. In order to get 1 pound or 450 grams of dry saffron, 50.000-75.000 flowers need to be harvested. Luckily, you don’t need a pound of it in order to benefit from its incredibly unique flavour. About 1 gram/0,035 oz. is enough. These saffron buns, or lussebullar as they’re called in Sweden, are the ultimate 13th of December treat in Scandinavia. We celebrate Saint Lucy’s day on the 13th, although now it’s more about eating some freshly made saffron buns than anything. If you make a batch of these delicious treats, you’ll see why.
Ingredients (for 30 saffron buns)
1 gram or 0.035 oz. of ground saffron
rum/water for infusion
1 tablespoon of Tagatesse
50 grams or 1.8 oz. of fresh yeast
180 grams or 6.3 oz. of butter (softened to room temperature)
5 dl or 2 cups of whole milk (3.5%) (at room temperature)
70 grams or 2.5 oz. of Tagatesse (or equivalent)
½ teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of honey
700 grams or 1.5 lb. of wheat flour
100 grams or 3.5 oz. of FiberFin (fibre supplement, can be replaced with flour)
raisins for decoration (can also be added to the dough)
egg + milk for wash
In the oven: 220° Celsius/425° Fahrenheit/Gas mark 7
Mix the ground saffron, rum/water and Tagatesse together using a spoon. Set aside for 30 minutes to infuse properly.
Crumble the fresh yeast into your mixing bowl and dissolve it in the milk using a whisk. Add in the butter, Tagatesse, salt, honey, wheat flour and FiberFin, along with the saffron infusion. I strongly recommend using a dough hook for this recipe.
Mix the saffron buns dough together for 15 minutes on medium speed. If you’re kneading by hand, you’ll need to work the dough for at least 20 minutes, until it’s soft and supple.
Cover the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel and set the dough to rise to double size (approximately 50 minutes, depending on the room temperature).
Now for the makeup, which is actually a ton of fun. You can make any shapes you’d like out of the saffron buns dough (my personal favourite is snails), but here’s the classic method:
Place the saffron buns on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover with a kitchen towel. Set aside to rise to double size again, about 30-40 minutes should do.
≈ Preheat your oven to 220° Celsius/425° Fahrenheit/Gas mark 7 now ≈
Whisk the egg and milk together and wash the saffron buns with the mixture. Be sure to push the raisins thoroughly into the dough, so they don’t pop out during baking.
Bake the saffron buns for 10-15 minutes. They’re done when they’ve turned golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool on a baking rack.
Enjoy the saffron buns under a blanket with hot tea, Christmas music and preferably some snow outside 🙂