Lussebullar – Saffron bread.

As a first post in the taste section I wanted to do something close to my heart, I’ve always loved Christmas, so I’m going to share a classic Swedish Christmas treat. They are called Lussebullar or Lussekatt, it’s a sweet bun made with the spice Saffron. This recipe is an old recipe that I found in a magazine, many years ago, and I’ve used it ever since, but this year I added a little twist, you should always experiment!

What you’ll need:

200 g of Butter

2 cups of Milk

2 envelops of dry Yeast (or 50 g fresh yeast if you prefer)

½ – 1 g Saffron (depending on how strong you want the Saffron taste)

½ teaspoon of Salt

170 g of granulated Sugar

800 g of Flour (plus more for later)

Lots and lots of White chocolate chips

New for this year: 1 Vanilla Bean

Now that you have everything you need, let’s get baking!

1. First step, making sure the dry yeast is active, very easy. Heat up water to about 110 – 115°F, take ½ cup and mix with one tablespoon of sugar. Pour the sugarwater over the yeast and stir a little. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let stand for about ten minutes.

2. While you’re waiting for the yeast, crush the saffron into a fine powder, I used the glass bottle the saffron came in and the end of a knife (If you use the bottle, don’t forget to wash it before crushing the saffron. Never know who has had his dirty paws on it!). Split the vanilla bean in two and scrape out the seeds.

first pic

3. Melt the butter in a small pot, then add milk. Let simmer, not boil, until about room temperature, around 100°F, then take it of the stove. Add the crushed saffron and the vanilla bean and seeds to the butter milk mix and stir. Let it stand until the yeast is done.


4. If your yeast has become frothy and foamy and about doubled in size, then you know your yeast is active and ready to use. Take out the vanilla bean from the buttermix and pour the buttermix into the bowl with yeast, stir.

5. Stir in sugar and salt.

6. Lastly add flour, add first about half, then slowly add the rest. In the picture below I’ve added about 2/3 of the flour. Work the dough until it looks smooth. I usually let my dough be a little sticky at this point, because otherwise the buns can come out dry. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes under a kitchen towel, to not let out the heat. It’s good to let the dough rise in peace in a warm place, so put on your oven for a couple of minutes then turn it off, so the stove is warm and place your bowl on top of the stove.


Before and after resting time

Before and after resting time

Because my dough is still a bit sticky I work my dough at this point, so it will be easier to work with. When you work your dough, try to use the palm of your hand and not your fingers.


Now comes the fun part, if you want to make an original Lussebulle then this is how you do it:


Just follow the pictures, take a small piece of dough, roll it out and from the edges roll it inwards, like you’re writing an S. Hm, well I sorta wrote a backwards S.

Frankly I think the original Lussebulle is a bit boring, it’s delicious if freshly made, but once you freeze it, and then reheats it, it can be a bit dry. So that’s why I mostly do this instead with my Saffron bread:


Roll out you dough, about ¼ of the original dough, or however much you want. Spread butter across the dough, sprinkle some sugar then add white chocolate, however much you want. I might have added a little more after I took the picture. You know, in the name of yumminess. Fold the dough on one side, then fold the other, lastly fold the “edges”, mostly I do the last part to make it look better.

Let the Lussebullar or Saffron bread rest for another half an hour, I know it feels like a lot of resting time, but trust me it will be worth it!

Put on the oven on 350°F

When they’re done with their everlasting resting, crack two eggs in a small bowl and whip them with a fork, brush the egg mix over the buns before shoving them into the oven. For the long saffron bread I also put on pearl sugar. Pearl sugar is common in Sweden, but I have a hard time finding it here. Good thing I smuggled some back here last time I was home.

all set

Now for some more waiting, the long Saffron bread needs about 30 minutes in the oven, while the small buns don’t need that long, I think I had them in half the time (15 min) just makes sure to watch so they don’t get burned!


Let the buns/ bread do some cooling before you jump in and devour them. Or you will burn your tongue on the melted chocolate, not that I would know anything about that, I’m just assuming that would happen… Enjoy!



5 thoughts on “Lussebullar – Saffron bread.

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