St Lucia Buns (Saffron Buns)

There are admittedly days when I feel like kneading a bread dough for 10, 20, 30 minutes.  The rhythm motion of pushing and stretching the soft yeast-scented dough is as therapeutic an activity as it gets for me.  However, if you present me with the alternative of letting a machine do it in five minutes whilst I make myself a cup of coffee…Maybe that’s even more therapeutic. And since I’ve acquired Heston, my beloved stand mixer, I’ve made more bread and rolls and buns.
st lucia saffron buns
These saffron hued St Lucia buns are easy crowd-pleasers. Something the young and the old can dig into at a family reunion without anyone throwing a tantrum as they’re mild, soft and light.

These are ridiculously easy things to make if you’ve got a stand-mixer, but very therapeutic if you don’t. Mine turned out to be a bit fat. Fat chubby buns made by a chubby girl. Not those elegant Scandinavian ones you see online or from overly-cool coffee shops, I’m afraid. You can either choose to make them slim and elegant or chubby and cute, you decide.
st lucia buns

Recipe adapted from NY Times
Makes 30
30g butter
500ml milk
1 tsp saffron threads
180g sugar
25g dry active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
900g plain flour
bit of oil for greasing
beaten egg, for brushing
30 raisins

Heat butter, milk, saffron and sugar over medium heat until the butter has melted. Leave to chill until warm but not hot to the touch. Sprinkle yeast into the mixture

Gradually add enough of the flour (almost all of it), to make a workable dough, kneading for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a mixer with a dough hook.  It should be smooth and not sticky.

Shape into a ball, rub with a bit of oil and cover with a cloth. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 30-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Press down the dough and gently knead it a couple of times – add a bit of flour if it’s sticky.  Divide it into 15 pieces. Roll into a smooth ball (may need some extra flour), then into a long 30cm strand and roll one each end towards the middle but in opposite directions, so it’s like two spirals forming s a swirled “S”.

Place on lined baking sheet and allow to rise again for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Brush with beaten egg and press raisins lightly into the center of each spiral. Bake until golden and risen, about 10-15 minutes.


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