Swedish Saffron Bread

Saffron flavored baked goods are a traditional Swedish Christmas time food. These buns, with their bright yellow color and lightly spiced sweetness, are delicious with a cup of coffee on a dark afternoon. This is adapted from a friend’s family recipe.

Swedish Saffron Bread

In a large bowl, sprinkle out one packet of active dry yeast (about 2 tsp.)

In a saucepan, melt 1/2 stick of butter

Add 2 cups of milk and warm to about 110 degrees, so it feels warm but does not burn your finger. Pour a little bit of the milk and butter mixture over the yeast and let it stand until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.


  • the rest of the milk/butter mixture
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups flour

Mix together until the dough releases itself from the side of the bowl. Sprinkle lightly with flour and cover. Let rise in a warm place for an hour.

In a glass combine a large pinch of saffron with a splash of liquor such as whiskey. Let it sit and infuse for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cream together:

  • 2 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Add the saffron/whiskey and one egg. Beat until smooth.

Mix the two doughs together. Add 1 cup flour, then turn out onto a board and knead in yet another cup of flour. Pinch off handfuls of dough and form them into curls, twists, and braids. Put them on a baking sheet and cover. Let rise until doubled.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the yolk of one egg onto the buns, and decorate them with pearl sugar, raisins, or nuts. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden brown on the surface.


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