Lucia buns (Saffron buns / Lussekatter)
- 50 g fresh yeast or
- 25 g dried active yeast
- 1 g saffron powder (if using strands, grind and soak in the milk beforehand)
- 400 ml whole milk
- 150 g caster sugar
- 200 ml plain skyr quark or greek yoghurt, room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 175 g butter soft and room temperature
- 800 g plain bread flour
- handful of raisins
- beaten egg for brushing
- 3-4 large baking sheets greased and lined with baking parchment
- If using fresh yeast, add the yeast and milk to a mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix until the yeast has dissolved, then add the saffron powder. If using active dried yeast pour milk into a bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and whisk together with a spoonful of the sugar. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to activate and become frothy and bubbly. Add the saffron powder.
- Pour into a stand mixer with a dough hook attached. Add the sugar and mix together for a minute or so, then add skyr, quark or Greek yogurt, salt and egg, and mix well.
- Gradually add the softened butter in pieces and begin to add the flour gradually while mixing, making sure to incorporate the lumps of butter. You’ll need around 800 g or so of flour, but the exact amount depends on how the dough feels. Keep mixing until you have a dough that is still sticky, but doesn’t stick to your finger too much when you poke it. Too much flour makes the buns dry – and saffron is extremely drying, so do watch it.
- If you’re using an electric mixer, knead for about 5 minutes or knead by hand for 10 minutes. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 30–40 minutes in a bowl covered with clingfilm).
- Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cut the dough into 30 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece in your hand into a long cylinder strip, then transfer to the baking sheets and mould into an ‘S’ shape (see picture). Add a single raisin to the centre of the point where the ‘S’ shape curves (two raisins for each bun). Leave to rise again for 25 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
- Brush gently with egg and bake them in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes. The buns should have a slight tinge of brown on top but not be dark. Leave to cool under a damp tea towel (this prevents them from becoming dry).
- If you don’t eat them all in one go, freeze immediately as they go stale quickly.