Two things about this. One, I didn’t make them on St. Lucia Day, like I should’ve, which was on December 13th. They are basically the recipe for St. Lucia Buns, or Lussekatter, from Joe Pastry. Second, I only had about 1/4th of the saffron needed, so I made them without the saffron. In tasting the finished product, although they are very good, I can see how having saffron in them would’ve made them fantastic! But I still am very happy with the finished product, which we had with our morning breakfast with butter and/or cheese. The recipe made about 33 rolls. Each roll was portioned out and scaled at 2 ounces, shaped, then egg washed prior to baking.
1 gram saffron threads (I didn’t have enough. :-/)
16 ounces (2 cups) milk
2 lbs. 3 ounces (7 cups) all-purpose flour
4.5 ounces (2/3 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (20 grams) instant yeast
8 ounces quark or sour cream (room temperature)(I only had 5 ounces of sour cream, so I added 3 ounces of plain yogurt.)
3.5 ounces (7 tablespoons) soft butter
raisins (optional) (I didn’t have raisins. :-/)
Crush the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with the back of a spoon as best you can. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan just to the simmer and add the saffron. Stir it, turn off the heat and let it cool until it’s just warm (about body temperature).
Meanwhile, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the the quark (or sour cream) and stir to combine it a bit. Add the flour steadily and stir until a dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough about 7 minutes until it’s very elastic and comes away from the sides of the bowl. With the machine running, add the soft butter about a tablespoon at a time until it’s all incorporated. ( I found this particular step to be difficult. Incorporating butter into a dough that was already formed and elastic was difficult, and a fair amount of butter remained in the mixer bowl, but I incorporated it as best I could.)
Turn the dough out into a large bowl, cover it with a cloth and let it rise about 40 minutes or until about doubled in size. Flour a work surface, turn out the dough and cut it into 35 (or so) pieces. Roll them out into snakes about 14 inches long. Flatten the snakes slightly with a pin, then roll the strips inward from each end into an “S” shape. (I just used a pestly, then just my hands, to smash them down.) Lay them on parchment lined sheets to proof, about another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, set your oven racks in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Paint them with egg wash and dot them with raisins. Bake 8-12 minutes until golden.