Floral, fragrant, earthy, and sweet, saffron is a spice that offers a unique flavour and a beautiful colour!
You may have the impression that saffron is expensive, and while it is, you really do not need much of it, so you won't be breaking the bank at all.
There are different variations of saffron buns, most of which are made on special occasions, this recipe follows the Scandinavian version of saffron buns.
This recipe is perfect as a morning coffee accompaniment, a teatime delight, or around Christmas time, and there are plenty ways of shaping your buns, so be creative!
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For the dough
- 1½ cup or 350ml milk
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 3 tsp dry yeast
- ¾ cup or 170 grams butter at room temperature
- 1 egg (at room temperature)
- ½ cup or 100 grams granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4½ - 5 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling
- 200 grams or 0.8 cup/7oz butter at room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup dried raisins (optional)
- 1 egg plus 2 tsp cold water, lightly whisked
- ¼ cup pearl sugar (optional)
For the filling
- In a medium bowl add all the ingredients and mix it well, set aside.
For the dough
- In a small pot on low heat, heat the milk, saffron threads and 2 teaspoons of sugar together until the milk is steamy. Remove from the heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let cool until about 110°F or warm to the touch, but not hot.
- Sprinkle and whisk in the yeast until it has dissolved and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
- In a mixing bowl, add the milk & yeast liquid, butter, egg, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, salt and half of the flour. Mix all the ingredients until well incorporated.
- Switch to the dough hook of your mixer and start to mix on low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is still a little sticky to the touch but does not completely stick to your hands when you handle it. Mix/knead to a smooth and flexible dough, about 10 minutes.
- Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until it has doubled in size.
- Line the baking trays with baking sheets.
- Divide the dough into two parts and do the following to both parts: Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape (size 15" x 9"). Spread half of the filling over the entire dough and sprinkle raisins on top if you are using raisins. Fold the dough in half and cut into long, smaller rectangles (see picture). Make two cuts (leaving a little bit of the top uncut) into these smaller rectangles so that there are three strips that you can then shape/braid. Place the braids onto the prepared baking tray and allow to rise until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F or 205°C.
- Brush each dough with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake in the middle of the oven.
- Place in the oven and bake at 400°F (205°C) for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the buns are golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.