St.Lucia buns/Lussekatter/ Swedeish Saffron Buns

Last week of BM#50, i chose Bookmarked theme.  As a food blogger when you see recipes on other blogs or find an interesting recipe in a book or an online magazine, you tend to immediately bookmark it, thanks to Bookmarks icon on the browser, what would we to, without it, ahh!!! 
So, with that icon comes, the problem of ever growing list of bookmarked recipes, that are waiting to be tried and tested. So, whenever there is this theme in our regular BM, i try to take it  do some justice to that never ending list.

Ok, a little story about St.lucia’s day. St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304AD. There are lot of stories that exist around this St.Lucia day. One among-st is she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding  under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things. December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the old ‘Julian’ Calendar and a pagan festival of lights in Sweden was turned into St. Lucia’s Day.
St. Lucia’s Day is now celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head. The crown is made of Lingonberry branches which are evergreen and symbolise new life in winter. A popular food eaten at St. Lucia’s day are ‘Lussekatts’, St Lucia’s day buns flavored with saffron and dotted with raisins which are eaten for breakfast. Info Courtesy : Christmas in Sweden

These buns today were bookmarked for last year September Marathon of International Cuisine, and was in my drafts for a long time now, so here it is seeing the publish button.

Source Simplyrecipes

1 cup milk 
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 and 1/4 tsp instant yeast
4 Cups Bread flour (Original recipe used All Purpose flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaped tsp of cardamom powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup hung curd + 1 tsp lemon juice (Original recipe used sour cream)
Raisins for studding the buns

For Glaze
2 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp oil


  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk, saffron, together until the milk is steamy. Remove from heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. To this hot but not boiling milk, add butter and let it sit until it is warm enough to touch or add yeast.
  • I made a mistake of adding saffron after adding butter, it stayed on top and didn’t infuse well with the milk. So my buns didn’t have that deep saffron orange-ish color. So, first add saffron threads and then add butter.
  • I used my food processor to knead my dough, you can also hand knead the dough. Take the  flour, yeast, salt, sugar, cardamom powder in to the processor bowl and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix well. Now slowly add the warm milk to the flour-mix and start kneading a soft dough. 
  • Add the hung curd and lemon juice to the dough mix and knead until you get a smooth and soft dough. The dough will be little soft, little sticky to touch, but will come easily off the bowl. If hand kneading knead the dough for around 7-8 minutes until u get a soft dough. If hand kneading start with 3.5 cups of flour and add the rest of the 1/2 cup flour slowly, while kneading to soft dough.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 60-90 minutes, or until it is doubled in size. The dough can be refrigerated overnight also. 
  • Once doubled, punch down the dough, and knead a couple of times. Divide the dough, into 10 portions. I have tried to make 3 different shapes using the dough, you can either bake the usual ‘S’ shaped bread or try the other shapes too. Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long. Then Curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an “S” with spirals at each end.  Check the video here for shaping the buns
  • Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F/200C. Using a pastry brush, brush milk + oil mixover the tops and sides of the  buns. Place raisins in the centers of the “S” spirals. Place in the oven and cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the buns are golden brown.  Remove from oven and transfer it to a wire rack let cool for 5 minutes, before serving.
  • They taste delicious when served straight out of the oven, any remaining buns can be kept on the counter for a day, if storing more than a day, i would recommend refrigerating it. If cold, reheat them for 20 seconds in a Microwave and serve warm.