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 (Swedish mulled wine), this technically marks the start of the Christmas celebration in Sweden.
- Flour – it’s not a must to use bread flour; all-purpose flour will work great as well. Just make sure you sift it first.
- Saffron – you can use threads or saffron powder; it does not make a difference.
Start by combining one-third cup of warm milk with saffron, mix, and set aside (photo 1).
In another small bowl, combine one-third 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).
Start forming it into a lussekatter shape by rolling each portion into a thin log, about forty to forty-five 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 saffron buns turned puffy (it generally takes thirty to sixty 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 ten to twelve minutes. Or until the tops have turned golden.
Take the lussekatter out of the oven and serve immediately.
- You can use a stand-mixer or manually knead the dough; it works either way.
- The dough is not sticky, so no need to use extra flour when rolling the 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 saffron 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 twenty-five seconds, and enjoy!
FOR OTHER SAFFRON RECIPES, CHECK OUT MY OTHER POSTS –
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 the lussekatter 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 it’s not a sticky dough, 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 lussekatter.