These buns in traditional shapes have long standing traditions. Vikings offered bread shaped as a sun at the winter solstice to their gods. In the early middle ages saffron was one of many mediterranean spices and trade goods that were brought to the North. About the same time the region was converted to christianity and introduced to legends of saints, Santa Lucia among them.
This is an easy recipe that renders great results with ingredients available world wide.
SAFFRON BUNS - makes about 30 single buns
200 grams butter
5 dl milk (preferably 3-4% fat)
100 gr cake yeast (or appropriate amount of active dry yeast)
2 dl brown sugar
1 gram saffron
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
ca 1 kilogram white flour
Break up the yeast in a large bowl. Melt butter and add milk. Warm or cool the mixture until appropriate temperature for the type of yeast used. Pour into bowl and gently dissolve the yeast. Beat or grind sapphron with a pinch of sugar in mortar. Add to the bowl along with salt and sugar. Add the egg and stir.
Add flour gradually and beat the dough on low speed as it absorbs. Beat until the dough is forming a smooth elastic ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover and let rise for at least 45 minutes or until doubled in volume.
Transfer to floured surface. Knead lightly and cut in two. Divide each half into 16 equal parts. Form buns. Transfer to baking sheets. Preheat the oven. Poke raisins into the buns as decoration and let rise about 20 minutes. Brush on top with a beaten egg and bake for about 8 min at 225 degrees C (437 F) with rack in the lower part of the the oven.
Cool on rack covered by a kitchen towl and freeze those that are to be stored as soon as they are completely cool.
CREDITS: ORIGINAL RECIPE FROM ALLT OM MAT 1973 VIA SMASKENS.NU VIA WERONICA,
IMAGE: PHOTO BY THOMAS HELLBERG