Here’s another Swedish Christmas tradition for you! Swedish Saffron Buns, also called St. Lucia Buns or ‘Lussekatter,’ are sweet buns that are great for snacks, dessert, or breakfast. Try making them at home!
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This traditional Swedish treat is known locally in various names: lussebullar, St. Lucia buns, or lussekatter.
Every 13th of December, Swedes celebrate Saint Lucia Day – and this celebration comes with these saffron buns.
Often served with glögg (mulled wine), this technically marks the start of Christmas celebration in Sweden.
WHAT YOU NEED TO PREPARE ST LUCIA BUNS
DO I NEED TO USE BREAD FLOUR?
Nope, you can use all-purpose flour as well — just make sure you sift it first.
CAN I REPLACE THE RAISINS WITH OTHER DRIED FRUITS?
I have never seen that here, but I did try replacing raisins with sultanas once.
It was ok, but it just didn’t feel right. 🙂
WHAT FORM OF SAFFRON SHOULD I USE?
You can use saffron threads or powder; it does not make a difference.
It saves you time when you use saffron powder instead of threads.
With threads, you need to grind them using a spoon or mortar and pestle first. Skip that when you have powdered saffron.
HOW TO MAKE SWEDISH SAFFRON BUNS (LUSSEKATTER)
Start by combining 1/3 cup of warm milk with saffron, mix, and set aside (photo 1).
On another small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of warm milk with the yeast. Set aside until it becomes foamy (photo 2).
Sift and combine flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl (photo 3).
Using a large bowl, combine sugar with melted butter. Add saffron with milk, yeast with milk, and egg yolk. Mix to combine.
Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until a dough starts forming. Knead until you get a smooth dough.
Form it into a ball, place into an oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside until it has doubled in size (photo 4).
Once the dough is ready, cut it into twelve equal portions (photo 5).
Roll each portion into a thin log, about 40 to 45 cm in length, then roll each opposite side toward the center, forming an ‘S’ figure
Place a raisin in the center of each swirl on both sides of the bun (photo 6).
Place the bun on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Please don’t keep them too close since they will be expanding more (photo 7).
Cover the baking tray with a kitchen cloth and set aside until the buns turned puffy (it generally takes 30 to 60 minutes).
Once the buns are almost ready, preheat your oven to 200°C (375°F).
Remove the cover from the buns and brush each one with milk (photo 8).
Place the baking tray in the middle of your oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Or until the tops have turned golden.
Take out of the oven and serve immediately.
HELPFUL TIPS ON MAKING ST LUCIA BUNS (LUSSEBULLAR)
- You can use a stand-mixer or manually knead the dough; works either way.
- The dough is not sticky, so no need to use extra flour when rolling these saffron buns.
- When you roll them from both ends, make sure it’s not too tight. They’re not like cinnamon buns. The rolls on both sides should not rise too high once baked.
- Unlike Swedish cinnamon buns, there is no need to spray water (for extra steam) in the oven when you are using all-purpose flour for these sweet buns.
These saffron buns are great with coffee and wine — or with mulled wine.
If you’ve got leftovers, heat them in the microwave for about 25 seconds, and you’ll be good to go.
FOR OTHER SAFFRON RECIPES, CHECK OUT MY OTHER POSTS –
OR IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE CHRISTMAS RECIPES, TRY THESE POSTS –
- Norwegian Christmas Bread (Julekake)
- German Baked Marzipan Bites
- German Flourless Christmas Cookies (Elisenlebkuchen)
PERHAPS YOU WANT TO SEE MORE SWEDISH RECIPES? THEN HEAD STRAIGHT TO 15+ Swedish Food Recipes You Must Try!
Swedish Saffron Buns (Lussekatter)
- 2/3 cup milk, warm (divided into two 1/3 cups)
- 1/8 tsp saffron
- 1 & 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sugar, heaping
- 50 grams butter, unsalted & melted (about 5 tbsp)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 24 pcs raisins
- 2 tbsp milk, for brushing buns
Making the Dough:
- Combine 1/3 cup warm milk and saffron. Set aside.
- Combine 1/3 cup warm milk and active dry yeast. Set aside until foamy.
- On a separate bowl, sift and combine flour and salt.
- On a medium to a large mixing bowl, mix sugar and melted butter.
- Add egg yolk, saffron & milk mixture, and yeast mixture. Mix to combine.
- Add sifted flour and salt. Mix to form a dough.
- Knead dough until smooth.
Proofing the Dough:
- Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel
- Once the dough's size has doubled (takes typically at least an hour and a half), remove it from the bowl and divide it into 12 equal portions.
Preparing your Lussebullar:
- To create a bun, roll a portion into a thin log (like a long cigar), approximately 40 to 45 cm.
- Start rolling from opposite ends and stop in the middle, forming an 'S' figure.
- Place a raisin on each side, middle of each rolled end.
- Place each bun on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Keep some space in between buns.
- Cover with a clean kitchen cloth and set aside until buns are slightly puffy. It usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.
Baking your Lussekatter:
- Preheat oven to 200°C (375°F).
- Brush the buns with milk.
- Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the buns' tops have turned slightly golden.
- Remove the tray from the oven and serve buns immediately.
- You can use saffron threads or saffron powder.
- If you don't have a stand-mixer, manual kneading of the dough is ok.
- Since the dough is not sticky, there is no need for you to use extra flour when rolling to prepare the buns.
- Make sure you don't roll the buns too tight. They're not like cinnamon buns, and they should not rise too high once baked.
- Unlike Swedish cinnamon buns, you do not need to spray water (for extra steam) in the oven when you are using all-purpose flour when making lussebullar.