If you ever visit Scandinavia around Christmas time, you have to try saffron buns (Lussekatter / Lucia bullar). These buns have a long tradition and we eat a lot of them in December month. Today, December 13th, is the Lucia day which is celebrated with Lucia march with kids (or adults) singing Christmas songs. Since it’s the darkest time of the year, they all come singing with candles in their hands and the Lucia (in the front) is wearing a crown with candles on her head.
My Lussekatte recipe is special made to avoid the buns being dry. Therefore the room temperature butter is the last ingredients being added. But my tips is to eat them fresh or otherwise to freeze until you are going to eat them.
Ingredients (25 buns):
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6.5 cups all purpose flour (1kg)
- 1 pack dry yeast (10g)
- 3/4 cup white, granulated sugar
- 1 tsp saffron threads (1g)
- 1 tsp salt
- 200g butter (rooms temperature)
- Raisins and 1 egg
Make sure all ingredients have a room temperature before you start baking. Take half of the flour and place in a baking mixer bowl. Add yeast in to the flour and mix quick together. Then add the milk, sugar and saffron in to the flour and yeast mix. Mix now in a baking mixer on low effect for 15 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let this first dough rise for 1 hours to double size.
Now the second part of the dough starts. Add salt and the rest of the flour (3 cups) to the fermented dough. Slowly add the flour to make sure it get in to the dough. Last but not least, use your hands and work in pieces of the smooth butter in to the dough. When you have added all butter, you should have an elastic and smooth dough.
Time to create the format of the buns. The traditional Lussekatte has a format of a S. Divide the dough in approximately 25 pieces (70g each). Take one dough ball and roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long. Curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an “S” with spirals at each end. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough. Decorate with two raisins in each bun. Place the two raisins in the centers of the “S” spirals (make sure the raisins where place in water before place in the bun, otherwise they will dry out the buns). Place a baking towel above the buns and now let the buns rise for another 1-2 hours (double size).
Pre heat oven to 430°F. Place the buns in the middle of the oven for about 7 to 8 minutes until the buns are golden brown. Remove from oven. Using a pastry brush, brush some beaten egg over the tops and sides of the ready buns. Let cool down for 5 minutes before eating.
My plate is from Swedish H&M Home. You can find them on their online shop.