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Saffron Buns

What is a Swedish Christmas without Saffron Buns? And as they say, a loved child has many names,  so does this bun. Lussekatt, saffransknyten or lussebulle. You name it! Mostly eaten on St. Lucy's Day 13th of December but however you wish to call them or whenever you wish to eat them, here is my best recipe. 

Ingredients for approx. 16 big buns


50 g fresh yeast

175 g room tempered butter

0,5 litres of room tempered milk

200 g sugar

850 g all purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 g saffron powder

1 tablespoon rum (or vodka)

Filling (optional)

50 g room tempered butter


1 egg for final egg wash 

90 g brown sugar

0,2 litres of water 

50 g granulated sugar 

Almond flakes


How to do:

Start with blending the saffron with a tablespoon of alcohol and let sit in a small cup. The alcohol, preferable rum or vodka brings out colour and flavour. In a big bowl, part the yeast and add room tempered milk and mix. When the yeast mixture is blended add the saffron together with the liquid and then add salt, sugar and most of the flour. Work the mixture together to a dough and place on working bench with flour. Work the dough and little by little work in the room tempered butter. This might be a bit greasy and take some time, but it's well worth the effort. After working the dough for about 20 minutes, you will feel a big difference in the elasticity of the dough. When all the butter is combined, it's time to let the dough rest in the bowl under a towel, for about 40 minutes. Make sure the dough is not in a cold place or close to an open window. Turn on oven at 225 celsius degrees. Prepare a big baking pan covered with baking sheets. 

When the dough has been rising, place it onto the working bench with flour and shape it quickly. Divide the dough either small rounds buns or roll out thinly into a oblong piece. Depending on what shape or kind of bun you want to make. To make the swirls (or cats, as we call them) simply use your hands to roll out long (around 30 cm) pieces and then roll them from each side, so it makes an S-like shape. Place onto a baking sheet and let rest for 30 minutes under a towel.


If you prefer more bun-like saffron buns you simply roll out the the whole dough flat with a rolling pin. Grease some soft butter on one side and then easily grab the corners on the long sides of the dough and flap it over, so it folds. Roll one more time and then with a knife of pizza cutter, make a thin bands. Grab bands and wrap around your fingers. Use as many bands as you like until you get desired size of the bun. Fold in the last end under the bun, so it doesn't open up while baking. Place onto a baking sheet and let rest for 30 minutes under a towel.

While the buns are rising, whisk up an egg, prepare toppings. For the "cats" I use raisins and for the buns granulated sugar and almond flakes. When the buns has been rising, wash them with a whipped up egg, add toppings and place in the centre of the oven for about 7-10 minutes (depending on size).


Keep an eye on them and take them out when they have a golden surface and underside. While the buns are baking it's time to prepare the syrup. Mix brown sugar, a bit of water and in a pot on medium heat until sugar has dissolved. When the buns are taken out of the oven, make sure you brush them directly with the syrup on top. When the buns get cold, it simply doesn't stick. Let cool for 10 min (or sec in my case) and have it with a glass of cold milk. 

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