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St. Lucy Saffron Buns

These St. Lucy Saffron Buns (St. Lucia Saffron Buns) are traditionally served for breakfast on Lucia Day, in mid-December. The saffron-hued buns are mildly sweet, but feel free to add a little more sugar if you have a sweet tooth. Decorated with raisins and sometimes just pearl sugar, the perfect addition for your hot latte!
Prep Time2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time2 hrs 33 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: Buns, Christmas, saffron
Servings: 12 buns


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 ounce envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water 100 to 110 degrees
  • 2 tsp. saffron lightly crushed
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • egg wash 1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon of water whisked together in a small bowl


  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and the saffron; let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes). Beat in the remaining sugar, eggs and butter. Beat in cooled milk. Gradually add the flour and salt, scraping down side of bowl, until a soft dough forms.
  • Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead the remaining flour into the dough, adding more flour if too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. The dough will be soft.
  • Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Divide dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a 13"-long rope. Form each rope into an S shape and then roll each end into a tight spiral.
  • Place shaped dough pieces 2" apart on parchment paper–lined baking sheets; cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  • While the spirals are rising, heat the oven to 350F.
  • When ready to bake, place a raisin in the center of each of the spirals.
  • Brush on the egg wash. (I happened to have pearlized sugar on hand and tossed some on a few of the spirals, but I know that is not how they are traditionally made in Sweden).
  • Bake until buns are golden brown and cooked through, about 15-18 minutes. Transfer buns to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.