How to Make Saint Lucia Buns or Bread (Lussebullar)

Traditionally eaten as part of celebrating Saint Lucia, these saffron infused buns or bread are a typical Scandinavian treat. They're also known as Lussebullar or Lussekatter and tend to be served throughout the month of December, as well as on the 13th December (Saint Lucia Day). Here is how to make them.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons / 100g butter at room temperature
  • 2g saffron
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 226g/1/2 pound quark cheese (fresh cheese, e.g. curd cheese, or cottage cheese, or fromage frais)
  • 50g / 2 oz cake yeast
  • 3/4 cup "vit baksirap" (simple sugar with a lot of glucose - regular, granulated sugar can be substituted)
  • 7-8 cups of flour (all purpose/plain or cake flour)
  • Raisins (optional)

Steps

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    Pour the milk into the saucepan. Add the saffron and heat gently.
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    Remove from the heat and stand aside. The saffron will continue to infuse in the milk as it cools to a lukewarm temperature. The milk and saffron mix is ready for use at around 95ºF/35ºC.
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    Put the yeast in the mixing bowl. Pour in the cooled saffron and milk mix.
    • Mix the yeast and saffron milk together to dissolve the yeast.
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    Add the sugar and fresh cheese. Mix through well.
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    Add the flour. Continue mixing until the dough feels elastic.
    • Add extra flour to make the dough pliable if needed.
    • Continue mixing for 10-15 minutes using an electric mixer.
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    Remove the bowl from the mixer. Place a clean cloth over the bowl (such as a tea towel) or food grade plastic and leave the buns to rise in a warm, draft-free spot. Allow rising for about 45 minutes.
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    Sprinkle flour over a work surface. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on the floured surface. Sprinkle more flour over the dough to make it workable (you can add more as you go).
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    Pull apart the dough pieces. This mixture will make about 35 pieces, so pull apart evenly to reach around this number.
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    Form the pieces into the traditional scroll shape. The scrolls should be opposite one another, with one facing to the left, the other facing to the right, when looked at front on.
    • Roll into a log shape first.
    • Roll up one end into a scroll that meets at the middle.
    • Roll up the other end into a scroll that meets in the middle.
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    Add raisins or sultanas at this stage if wished. One or two per center of each scroll will suffice.
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    Brush with egg wash. Place in a very hot oven (425ºF/220ºC) and bake for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • The buns or breads will brown quickly, so keep a watch on them.
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    Remove the buns or breads from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
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    Serve. They are best eaten fresh. Serve with warm drinks.

Tips

Tips

  • Ask family and friends over to share; this recipe makes over 30 pieces––perfect to share!
  • The fresh cheese is added to deter dryness, a common issue with Saint Lucia buns. However, if you don't wish to use it, then you don't need to.
  • Mascarpone cream can be used in place of the fresh cream if preferred.
  • You can substitute syrup for the sugar; this will make the buns moister.
  • Other shapes are possible, such as cats, plain buns, birds, etc.
  • If you're short on time or lack interest in making the twirl, you can make a simpler shape. For example, the bread can be baked as simple roll shapes or added to muffin pans.
  • Lussebullar bread or Saint Lucia buns are also known as saffron buns.

Warnings

  • Take the usual precautions around a hot oven, such as wearing oven mitts.

Things You'll Need

  • Saucepan
  • Mixing spoon or utensil
  • Electric mixer
  • Work surface for rolling
  • Clean cloth or tea towel for covering
  • Baking pan or tray, greased or parchment added

Sources and Citations

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