Buns

On the fifth day…St. Lucia Buns

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On the fifth day of Christmas Stephen baked for me…St. Lucia buns! Also known as Saffron buns are a type of sweet yeasted buns often spiced with cinnamon or nutmeg and topped with currants or raisins. At least so goes the tradition in Britain, however in Sweden no cinnamon or nutmeg are added. This is the first time I’ve made these buns so I thought I would stick to tradition and make them in their purist form. I am using an Edd Kimber recipe, you may know him as the winner of the first series of the Great British Bake Off, meaning him and myself have a mutual title under our belts!

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Traditionally eaten during advent I knew I had to include these as one of my 12 bakes. And seeing as I love working with yeasted dough I was very excited for these to be made! This weekend I was back home to do our traditional ‘Sunday after my brother’s birthday we put up the Christmas decorations’. So I knew that I would get these eaten no problem.

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I love the colour the dough goes from the Saffron which just so happens to be the most expensive ingredient on the planet by weight, even more expensive by weight than gold! But don’t think that you will be busting your bank account to make these as only ½ g is used in the recipe and you can purchase Saffron from most good supermarkets.

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You will need:

300ml whole milk
½ g saffron
75g unsalted butter, cubed
500g strong white bread flour
100g caster sugar
7g yeast
7g salt
1 large egg, beaten, plus extra for egg wash
24 currants

  1. Put the milk in a small pan and gently heat until it’s steaming. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the saffron into a powder. Add this to the pan of milk along with the butter. Swirl to melt the butter, then set aside until lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, caster sugar,  salt and the yeast together.Make a well in the middle of the bowl and pour in the milk mixture along with the egg.  You may not need to add all of the liquid, just add enough until you have a soft and sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic  (about 10 mins) then place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to rise for about 1 hr until doubled in size.
  3. Knock back the dough and divide into 12 equal portions.
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    Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out into a 30cm-long strand.
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    Roll up one end into the middle, turn over and roll the other end into the middle, forming the dough into an S-shape. Repeat with until every portion has been rolled up.
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    Prove until almost doubled in size. While the buns prove, heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
  4. When ready to bake, brush the buns with beaten egg and press a currant into the centre of each spiral.
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    Put the trays in the oven and bake for around 15 mins or until golden brown on top and bright yellow at the sides. Allow to cool before serving.

These are best eaten on the day they are made but will keep for a couple of days. I cannot believe I’ve never made these before. The flavour is incredible so it is certainly worth paying the extra for the Saffron. I thought that these may be a little sweet but they’re in fact very well balanced with a subtle spice kick from the Saffron.

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You could glaze these with as simple apricot glaze, spiced with some cinnamon, after baking them to add to the flavour and shine. I did this for half of the buns I made just to experiment and I think it adds to it rather well. However it certainly isn’t necessary and they’re just as good on their own.

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Next addition to my ’12 bakes of Christmas’ will be up on Wednesday so keep an eye out! Thanks again,

Stephen

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