Lussebullar – Swedish Christmas Saffron Buns
This is my third Christmas in Sweden and it’s only now that I dare make these absolutely delicious Christmas treats – Lussebullar, traditional Swedish saffron buns. And vegan of course to make it just a bit more challenging 😉 Lussebullar literally mean Lucia’s buns and Saint Lucia is an ancient mythical figure a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters, celebrated on Decembre 13th.
In Sweden, Lucia has become a unique celebration filled with candlelights, white robes, beautiful songs and saffron buns. Although it is not an official holiday, Lucia is celebrated throughout the country from schools and universities to churches and cathedrals in small towns as well as big cities. Here you can enjoy the singing and the atmosphere while eating these soft dough, melting-in-your-mouth lussebullar 🙂
Serves: 24 buns. Total time: 2 hours (preparation 45 min, dough proving 1 h, baking 15 min)
INGREDIENTS (organic and in order of use)
20g of Fresh Yeast (or 1 tbsp of Dry Yeast)
400ml (+ a bit more for raisins) of lukewarm Plant Milk (I use Oat)
200g of Unrefined Sugar
120g of Plant Butter (for my Swedish friends I use “Vegogott” block, it contains 42% of Shea butter and tastes delicious)
700g of Wheat Flour + some more for dusting (I also use a mix of Wheat 3/4 and Rye 1/4)
1g of ground Saffron
a pinch of unrefined fine Salt
a small handful of Raisins
- Start with melting the 20g of fresh yeast in 100ml of lukewarm oat milk with 1 tbsp of unrefined sugar (about 10g) and let sit to activate for about 5-10 minutes. Small bubbles will start to appear on the surface.
- While the yeast is “waking up” melt (very very low heat or bain-marie) the 120g of plant butter.
- Put the raisins in a small bowl or cup and cover them with plant milk to soak.
- In a big bowl mix the flour, 190g of unrefined sugar, a pinch of salt and 1g of ground saffron. Make a small well in the middle and pour in the activated yeast.
- Start mixing it all together with a spatule adding the lukewarm plant milk progressively. We want to make a soft sticky lump of dough. It is perfectly fine if you do not use all of the plant milk in the process.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth and let the dough proof (rise) for about 30-45 minutes ideally in a warm place but the room temperature should work too.
- When ready place the dough directly from the bowl to a well flour dusted surface and kneed for about 5 minutes shaping a soft golden ball.
- Cut the ball in 2 and then each half in two and then each fourth in two and finally each eighth in three. You can also cut the final eighth in two to obtain 16 generous buns instead of 24 (your choice). Just bear in mind that they will continue to rise while baking 😉
- Mould each piece in (approximately) 15-20 cm long stick shapes (about 1,5 cm diameter) and then shape each stick in this specific traditional lussebullar shape as in the picture below, placing them directly on baking sheet lined baking trey.
- Stick a soaked raisin or two in each of the opposite centres of the shape. Let proof for another 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Brush the buns with the plant milk left from the raisins soaking and bake for about 15 minutes, until the buns become golden. First 5 minutes at 200°C and then 10 minutes at 180°C (without opening the oven).
- Serve with hot chocolate or your favourite tea after a nice Christmas (or any other day) walk in the nature 🙂