Swedish Lucia Saffron Buns & Video

Two reasons why we are excited about this post.

Reason number one. The recipe. These traditional Swedish Christmas buns have a wonderful warm saffron flavor and additions of sweet raisins. They are easy to make and fun to shape. This spelt version is slightly more wholesome than the original recipe, but still very moist, indulgent and rich. We usually eat them for St. Lucia’s Day (December 13) and Christmas. But if you ask us, any day in December is a good saffron bun day.

Reason number two. This video.

A few days ago we had some friends over to help us shoot this. We wanted to simply give you a feeling of our Saturday morning bun baking. Hopefully it inspires you to try these buns at home. You will find the recipe at the bottom of this post. Let us know if you like the video and we’ll try to do it again sometime.

Directed and shot by Albin HolmqvistStyling by Belén Vazquez Amaro. (Thank you guys!)
The song is ‘Sort of revolution’ by Fink


Swedish Lucia Saffron Buns “Lussebullar”
Makes around 15 buns (can easily be doubled)

During the weekend we have also been experimenting with a vegan version, and it came out really delicious too. Just replace the butter with coconut oil and turkish yogurt with soy yogurt (non GMO). Add a little more almond butter for extra yum.

1 tbsp dry active yeast (or 25 g fresh active yeast)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 g (2 sachets) saffron powder
60 g organic butter
1 cup soy milk (non GMO)
6 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter (optional)
5 tbsp turkish yogurt or quark cheese
4 cups / 1 liter (450 g) spelt flour (we use half whole and half light)
30 raisins
1 egg yolk, beaten (for brushing)

Stir dry yeast, salt and saffron in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a medium size sauce pan, then add milk, maple syrup and almond butter and heat until 100F (40°C). Whisk vigorously to dissolve the almond butter. Pour the mixture into the mixing bowl with yeast. Add yogurt and stir around until dissolved. Add 2/3 of the spelt flour. Stir around with a wooden spoon until it is thick enough to knead with your hands. Add more flour until the dough is easy to work with and has formed into a round ball that doesn’t stick to your hands. Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until double in size and full of air pockets.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute, form it into the shape of a baguette. Divide it into 15 equal pieces and, using your hands, roll each piece into a long 1/2-inch ( about 1 cm) thick string. Then roll both ends tight in opposite direction into an S-shaped bun. Place buns, well spaced apart, on 2 baking sheets, cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot to rise for about 30 mins. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Brush the buns with an egg yolk or water and then place one raisin in each circle. Bake the buns until golden brown on top, about 7-9 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool slightly. Serve. Preferably with freshly brewed coffee, tea or glögg.

Store buns in an airtight container for up to a week, but of course they taste best fresh from the oven.

117 Comments

  • This looks so delicious! I have to try the vegan version for my class on friday! And do you guys think it'll work with turmeric (gurkemeie) instead of saffron? Saffron is so expensive these days...
    • Hi Sunniva, I agree that saffron is very expensive but it is really essential in these buns. If you do want to try a turmeric version I would recommend also adding cinnamon and cardamom to give it some more flavor. Good luck and please let us know how they turn out! /David
  • Claudia Hurtado
    Love the video! They do look pretty easy to make, will give it a go during the weekend. Thank you for sharing! Cheers from SF, California
  • Elin
    Åh vilken fin film! Ni gör underbara recept. Skulle vara kul om det kom ett inlägg på svenska någon gång. Fortsätt sprida matglädje med er härliga blogg! Hälsningar Elin
  • Malin
    Beautiful video, love the music and the shooting. Would be happy to see more of that. Trevlig Lucia!
  • Lauren
    The video was absolutely beautiful! Everything about it was perfect and it was wonderful to see the process of how the buns are made. Little Elsa was as sweet as could be - I loved watching her roll out the dough and sitting on her feet. As always, this was a lovely post and I look forward to making yet another recipe of yours! Thank you <3
  • Beautiful video and I love your take on traditional lussekatter. Glad lucia!
  • Sophie
    Great video. Love the recipe. Thanks!
  • The video is absolutely wonderful (your little one is so sweet)! I adore saffron in breads, and the buns look delicious!
  • Awwwe! So cute to see pretty Elsa baking with her beautiful Mom, such a precious time and fond memories you are making together ( I love cooking with my little one.) Your St Lucia Saffron Buns look yummy. Do you think I could use some of my starter instead of the yeast since I am in the middle of baking our multigrain French loaves and have some nicely refreshed levain handy? I'll let you know how it goes, in the meantime I'll share your great video onto my facebook page. Merci beaucoup.
    • Hi Ketmala, great idea to use a sourdough starter instead of yeast. I have tried a sourdough saffron bun once and it was super delicious! Yes, please let us know how they turn out! /David
  • I love it. My husband, who is swedish, has his birthday on Santa Lucia and I love the lucia buns. I will try your recipe. Brilliant video. Thanks.
  • Waaahooo! Totally in love with the vid! do it again do it again do it again ;) Haha, Wishing once again it was possible to hug through the computer.. Hugs to you all, sweets! (and compliments to the camera friends!)
  • Carolynn
    I love the video too! yes - absolutely do more, they are a pleasure to watch.
  • Loved the video! What a darling little girl you have! And the rolls look delicious! I think I might try to make some today to celebrate my 1/4 Swedish heritage. : )
  • Lena
    Wow, they look so delicious! Once more I know why greenkitchenstories is my favourite blog on the internet! Beautiful video too! Do you think they would work, if I used 100% whole grain flour or might the buns not get fluffy enough? Thanks!
    • THANKS Lena :-) I think it would, the texture will change a bit but it will probably work just fine. Happy baking /Luise
  • Fun! Beautiful video. My sister lives in Sweden and when she was home for the holidays last year we hosted a Swedish Fika for all of our friends and family, and I was in charge of making the saffron buns. It was such a great event! I blogged a recap of the event here, http://nicandkier.blogspot.com/2012/01/swedish-fika.html
  • Matilda
    Åh fantastiskt fint!! mer filmer!
  • And I, too, am excited about this post! Before I spent a year studying in Sweden I hadn't heard of St. Lucia Day or Saffron Buns - two things definitely worth hearing about. Thanks for sharing this recipe just in time to make them for the 13th! And that video - so charming. More please.
  • Claudia
    Beautiful!!! Loved everything – video, photos and recipe! Going to try the buns soon!
  • Christine
    Delicious! Elsa is just so cute :)

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