Lussekatter (Swedish St. Lucia Saffron Buns)

Adapted from: SwedishFood.com

Yield: 16 buns

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp Divine Healing saffron threads
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp vodka
  • ¼ cup (37g) raisins
  • 4 cups + 2 2/3 Tbsp (500g) bread flour
  • ½ cup + 1 ¼ tsp (100g) caster (AKA superfine) sugar*
  • 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ cups (284g) whole milk, lukewarm (110–115°F)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 Tbsp + 1 tsp (90g) unsalted butter, cubed & room temperature

*If you don’t have caster (AKA superfine) sugar, very briefly blitz granulated sugar in a spice grinder or blender. Don’t grind too much, otherwise you’ll end up with confectioners’ sugar!

Directions

  1. Place saffron threads and salt in a mortar, then grind with a pestle. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and pour vodka over the saffron and salt. Let infuse for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Put raisins in a small, heatproof bowl. Pour hot water over them, fully submersing all the raisins. Allow to soak while you make your dough.
  3. Sift flour into the bowl of your stand mixer.
  4. Stir sugar and yeast into flour with a spatula or spoon.
  5. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and turn on at the lowest speed setting. Slowly pour in lukewarm milk, saffron mixture, and half of the beaten egg.
    NOTE: Save the other half of the egg! You’ll use it for the egg wash.
  6. After all of the liquids have been added, turn mixer up to the second or third speed. Add butter one cube at a time over the course of several minutes.
  7. If the dough is still rather sticky after kneading for a bit, you can add a little bit more flour—a few tablespoons at most. Be careful not to add too much flour nor overwork the dough in the mixer.
    NOTE: The dough should be a little sticky, but not such a sticky mess that your hands end up covered with dough when you try to handle it.
  8. Once you are satisfied with the consistency of your dough, knead for 2–3 minutes more.
  9. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, then shape dough into a ball. Place dough into a large bowl and cover bowl tightly with cling film. Place bowl in a warm, dry spot and leave undisturbed until dough doubles in size, roughly 1 hour.
  10. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  11. After dough has doubled in size, turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, then punch it down to release excess gas build-up. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces.
    NOTE: The pieces will weigh about 65g each. 
  12. Roll out a piece of dough to create a dough snake that’s roughly 12" long. Coil your dough snake into a tight S, then place on prepared baking sheet.
  13. Repeat with remaining dough. Loosely cover baking sheets with cling film, and place them in a warm, dry spot and leave undisturbed until buns double in size, roughly 30 minutes.
  14. Heat oven to 425°F.
  15. After the second proof, brush buns with the rest of the beaten egg.
  16. Gently dry off your raisins and place one raisin in the centre of each coil of your buns.
  17. Bake for 8–10 minutes or until golden brown.
  18. Enjoy your lussekatter with some glögg on Lucia Dag (13 December)!

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