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Saffron bread is a common autumn/winter pastry in Sweden typically served in a variety of forms between November and February. The traditional saffron bread is made from a standard sweet yeast dough and spiraled as an “S” with raisins and served on December 13th for the Swedish holiday, Saint Lucia which is where the name “lucia buns” comes from.

The variety of saffron bread below is made with vanilla and is served all winter. This style of bread is also distinguished by its use of quark cheese and/or yogurt.

Swedish Lucia Bun

The variety of saffron bread below is made with vanilla and is served all winter. This style of bread is also distinguished by its use of quark cheese and/or yogurt. Serves up to 20-30 buns.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: Buns, Swedish
Servings: 20
Author: Joe Luna

Ingredients

Dough

  • 16 oz Milk
  • 4 oz Unsalted Butter Stick
  • 1/2 gm Saffron
  • 2.5 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 2/3 cup White Sugar
  • 700 gm All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Quark Cheese or Yogurt
  • 1 Egg

Filling

  • 8 oz Softened Unsalted Butter
  • 2/3 cup White Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Egg Wash

  • 1 Egg
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees 
  • In a small saucepan, warm milk, one stick of butter, and saffron over medium-low heat to 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Stir in active dry yeast until dissolved. 
  • Add sugar to the milk mixture and transfer to the stand mixer bowl. 
  • Add 700 grams of flour, salt, quark cheese (or yogurt), and egg to the milk mixture and knead for 10 minutes. 
  • Transfer kneaded dough to a lightly floured surface, shape into a ball, and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm (draft-free) area for 30-45 minutes – or until doubled in size. 
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle – 22 inches by 20 inches. 
  • Spread filling evenly across the dough making sure to cover the entire surface up to the edges. 
  • Fold the rectangle in thirds. Begin with the bottom and fold into the center and follow with the top, folding towards the center to create an “envelope”. 
  • Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 20-30 strips to form into knots, braids, etc. 
  • Place formed dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. 
  • Brush the dough with the egg wash and bake for 8-11 minutes. 
  • Let the buns cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. 

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