Saffron Buns

I have had the best and busiest weekend creating in the kitchen. For the past four Sunday’s I’ve been doing one of Bread Ahead bakery’s Bakers Series courses which has been a fantastic way to regularly get bread making in the kitchen – my favourite thing to do. This week however I also took part in their Scandinavian workshop on Saturday and made some surprising, sweet, saffron buns.

Photo by reneereneee on Pexels.com

Admittedly, I know very little about the food of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland other than a love of rye and fish, so I thought this would be an interesting and different course to do. I’d never heard of saffron buns before, but I imagined they’d be a little like a cinnamon roll/teacake, a theory that was cemented after I found the Swedish lussekatt – a saffron bun shaped like a scroll. Lusekatt are traditionally eaten during advent and are common across all the Scandinavian countries. The Bread Ahead version however was a little different.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Their secret ingredient? Butter. More specifically, a whole block of it. Rather than a sweet brioche-style dough, we were going to laminate it with butter, doing multiple folds to create many buttery layers, the same as a croissant. I’ve made croissants before, but it was a full three-day affair, with the exception of creating the basic dough the night before, all my laminating this time was done in the class. It was a little more intense than I was expecting, but it was a very pleasant surprise to know I was going to eat some delicious saffron-infused bun/cruffin hybrids at the end. I seemed to have a large amount of dough so I cut a portion off and made six saffron croissants too – why not?

The saffron buns proving, with a little brown sugar underneath
I was intrigued to see if these surprise croissants would turn out better than my earlier attempts.

I was so excited to be able to practise some croissants too. To be clear, the class didn’t offer that as one of their bakes (the other bake in the class was a blueberry tart), but I figured I had an excess of dough, I might as well give it a whirl. I had to sit very patiently for a few hours for them to puff up and get nice and airy before I could finally slip them into the oven (and my mouth). I put some flaked almonds on top of the buns and very carefully egg-washed the croissants and…

The saffron buns were a little top-heavy, but I suspect that’s due to the baking in a muffin tin and not having much support when proving, but they were so light and airy I didn’t care. The saffron is so subtle I’m not even sure I could taste it, but the little caramelised brown sugar just added a nice nutty sweetness to round off these delicate beauties. I made 12 and demolished 3 before I knew what had happened!

So light!

The croissants were also a winner, definitely an improvement on my first try. I’m not sure if because the pressure was off (I wasn’t expecting to make croissants at the beginning of the day!) and I could just play around with the dough and see what happened, or it was the benefit of experience. Either way, I was over the moon with my day’s work. A successful day!

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