Lussekatter or St.Lucia Rolls – The Swedish Saffron Buns

Swedish Saffron Buns
Swedish Saffron Buns

Some foods are  more  special to  us   than  others. They connect us to  the  culture  and  traditions.  Every culture, every region in the  world  have them. Lussekatter is such a  beautiful  bread  that is part of  the  Swedish  tradition of  celebrating St.Lucia’s  day. These  rich saffron buns are  delicious  with a  mug of  coffee or  in my case   with  a  cup of  cardamom flavored chai. Be  sure  to give  them a  try !!

St.Lucia’s day falls on December 13th,  is one of  the  biggest  celebrations  marking  the  start of  Christmas  season in Sweden.   On this day  the  children  serves Lussekatter and  coffee  to the   members of  the  household. The  stories  behind  the  celebrations date  back  to  the  4th century  CE.  Click  here if you would like to know more about  St.Lucia Day.

In the  midst of the  holiday  baking  and   sugar filled   indulgences  these   soft  buns  are  are a  welcome  change.  Frankly I would love  to have them anytime!  The  beautiful color of  the   breads  is  thanks  to the  little bit  of  saffron in the dough.  The  bright  golden color is a celebration of  light  during  the  time of longest, darkest nights. Isn’t it a lovely amalgamation of   pagan and  christian  cultures ?

Lussekatter

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 18 buns

Lussekatter

Ingredients

All Purpose/ Bread Flour - 500 gm (4C)
Milk - 1 C + extra
Saffron - 1/4 Tsp (15- 20 strands)
Butter - 4 Tbsp
Salt - 1 Tsp (8gm)
Yeast - 8gm (2Tsp)
Sugar - 4 Tbsp
Egg - 2
Raisins/Currants - 1- 2 Tbsp

Instructions

Crush the saffron. Heat 1/4 C milk and sprinkle the crushed saffron on top. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

While the saffron is infusing the milk, warm another 1/4 C milk to 110°F, or just warm to touch. Mix in 1 tsp sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside to activate.

Separate one egg into yolk and white. Reserve the white. Add the remaining egg to the yolk and mix.

Measure the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix and make a well in the center. Add the activated yeast, the cooled saffron infused milk, and the egg mix to the well. Slowly knead the dough adding the butter and enough of the remaining milk to make a smooth dough. Knead for 10 minutes until it become soft and pliable. Form into a ball. Place in a large covered bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled - about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and divide into 12 pieces . Roll each piece into long ropes - 12 to 14" in length. Turn the ends to form an S shape with curled ends or form into 8s. Insert a raisin/ currant into the grooves. Place the shaped buns on a baking tray. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Preparing an egg wash by beating the reserved egg white and 1 tsp of water together. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. If desired sprinkle sugar on top. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

https://oventales.com/swedish-saffron-buns/

lussekatterpin

I used  unbleached  all purpose  flour  for  this  recipe.  White  flour  brings  out the  bright  yellow  color  and  I  would  recommend it  for  this  recipe. Organic or just  unbleached , you decide.

Saffron  is  a  wonderful  spice.  The  color  and  flavor it imparts is  unmatched.  It is  also one  of  the  most  expensive  spices as well. Thankfully  a  little  bit is  all that  one  needs.  In a  pinch safflower  can be  substituted, though it  does  not  quite  have the  same  effect.

Saffron Milk

See  the  beautiful color that  the  saffron strands  are imparting to the  milk.  Sprinkle  the  saffron, crush for  more effect,  on top of  the   hot  milk . In 5  to 10 minutes the  milk turns golden  yellow.  Remember to make  sure  that  the  milk is  cooled to  room temperature or  just  warm  to  touch   before adding  it  to the   dough.

Often  times  I leave the  saffron strands  as  is.  The  milk  changes  color,  and the  strands  themselves  when  kneaded into the  dough  gives rise to  bright  specs of  color  in the  finished  product.

The  bread  dough  comes  together  as a  standard  bread  dough.  Activate  the  yeast  in another 1/4 C milk  heated to 110°F, or just warm to touch , mixed  with  1 tsp.  Separate one egg into yolk and white. Reserve the white. Measure the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix and make a well in the center. Add the activated yeast, the cooled saffron infused milk, an  egg  and  1  yolk to the well.  Reserve  the  remaining  egg  white . This is  to be used to make  an  egg-wash  later. Mix the  dry and  wet  ingredients  adding   the  butter  and  enough  milk to make a soft  dough.   Knead for 10 minutes until it become soft and pliable. Form into a ball. Place in a large covered bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled – about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. At  this  point  you  can place  the  dough in the  fridge  for an overnight  rising.  This improves  the  flavor.

 

Once the  dough  has  doubled in size punch it down the dough and divide into 18 pieces . Roll each piece into long ropes – 12″ to 14″ in length.  You might  have  to  roll it  even longer. This  dough is  very elastic  and shrinks  a  little as  you stops  rolling.  Turn the ends to form an S shape with curled ends or form into 8s .  Press a currant or  raisin into the  center of  the  curls .

Lussekatter
Preparing an egg wash by beating the reserved egg white and 1 tsp of water together. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. If desired sprinkle sugar on top.   These  buns  do expand  nicely in the  oven . Place   them a  little  farther apart  than  I did  in this  picture. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Take the  buns out of  the oven  and  transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. These taste wonderful  warm or  cold and  they  freeze  well too .

 

Lussekatter

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