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These mild and ethereal buns make an look in Scandinavian kitchens all through December however particularly on the thirteenth to rejoice Santa Lucia, the patron saint of sunshine. It’s believed they had been served by Santa Lucia herself early within the morning, her wreath of candles lighting up the darkish December skies with the promise of sunnier days.
Aromatic saffron, from the crocus flower, is the important thing ingredient right here and brightens the enriched dough whereas raisins provide a touch of sweetness. Though saffron is a pricier ingredient, remember that slightly goes a great distance. The deeply-colored spice enhances different baked items in addition to savory dishes like a traditional risotto Milanese and seafood stews. Some recipes name for grated cardamom or the addition of quark cheese. Though not conventional, I’ve included a wee bit extra butter and yogurt — or bitter cream — for a young, wealthy dough. These buns have only a trace of sweetness; for those who like extra, high them with Swedish pearl sugar earlier than baking.
Winter saffron buns
Makes 12 to 14 buns
1 cup entire or 2% milk
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, flippantly crushed
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 heaping tablespoon energetic dry yeast (verify expiration date)
1/3 cup bitter cream or yogurt
2 massive eggs
4 1/2 to five cups (540 to 660 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fantastic salt
24 to 26 golden raisins soaked simply to cowl in rum, brandy or orange juice
1 massive egg, flippantly crushed with 1 teaspoon chilly water
Non-obligatory: Swedish pearl sugar
1. Mix milk and saffron threads in a small saucepan set over medium warmth (or in a microwave-safe bowl in microwave); warmth milk and saffron simply till milk involves a light-weight simmer. Flip off warmth and stir in butter; enable to soften and funky barely (to 110-115 levels). Examine that yeast just isn’t expired and sprinkle yeast over milk combination; let sit 5 to 10 minutes or till frothy. Word: If the combination is just too sizzling, it might probably kill the yeast, so be sure that it’s lukewarm or at about 110-115 levels.
2. Place lukewarm yeast-butter-milk combination in bowl of stand mixer — or place in a big bowl if not utilizing a stand mixer). Add bitter cream and two eggs; combine simply to mix. Weigh or measure flour (gently scoop into measuring cup and degree off with a knife); place in a medium bowl and whisk in sugar and salt. If utilizing stand mixer, use dough hook attachment set to medium-low pace (or in a big mixing bowl), add 3 cups of flour, slightly at a time, and blend till dough begins to tug away from sides of bowl, including extra flour 1/2 cup at a time simply till dough pulls away from sides of bowl. The moisture degree in your kitchen will decide how a lot flour you’ll want, so add slightly at a time till the dough types a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Knead dough in mixer 5 to 6 minutes or roll dough out onto a clear floor (have a little bit of flour on the prepared if wanted however attempt to not add greater than essential) and knead by hand eight to 10 minutes. Dough ought to be mushy, easy and supple. Place dough in a flippantly greased bowl; cowl with plastic wrap or a clear kitchen towel and let rise in a heat spot till overrated and nearly doubled in dimension, about one hour.
3. Soak raisins in rum, brandy or orange juice. After one hour, gently deflate dough and tip out onto a flippantly floured floor. Divide dough into 12 to 14 equal-sized items (a kitchen scale is useful right here). Form dough items into tough logs about 4 to five inches lengthy and let relaxation 5 minutes. Frivolously grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet. Roll every log, gently stretching as you’re employed, right into a 12-inch rope. Form every rope into an “S” or figure-8 form, curling ends into reverse instructions towards the middle. Drain raisins and tuck a raisin into middle of every coil, with two raisins per bun. Place buns onto ready baking sheet. Attempt to area them out evenly but when some are touching, that’s OK. Cowl and let rise one other half-hour or till overrated. Whereas buns are rising, preheat oven to 400 levels. After the second rise, when able to bake, brush every bun with egg glaze. If desired, high buns with pearl sugar. Bake simply till golden, 11 to fifteen minutes, tenting with foil the previous few minutes if raisins start to burn. Let cool on pan 5 minutes earlier than serving without delay. Greatest made and loved the identical day. Leftovers could be saved in an hermetic container on kitchen counter a number of days. If beginning to dry out, heat a number of seconds in microwave or toast in a skillet. Get pleasure from plain or with butter, bitter cream or jam.