It's Christmas time: How to make Lucia buns – the Scandi Advent treat
By Claire Spreadbury. Published 2020-12-07BOLD-Food
Start a new tradition by scoffing these buns every Sunday in December.
Ingredients:(Makes 16 buns)200 ml whole milk0.5g (or the tiniest pinch) ground saffron25g fresh yeast75g tbs caster/superfine sugar100ml quark or Greek yogurt400–500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting1/2 tsp salt100g tbs butter, softened and cubed1 egg, beaten (reserve half for brushing)A handful of raisinsPearl sugar (optional)
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until finger-warm (no more than 37°C/
- In a stand mixer, add the fresh yeast and the milk-saffron mixture (again, no warmer than 37°C/98°F or the yeast will die). Mix for one minute, then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Stir in the quark or yogurt until incorporated, then mix in about half the flour, as well as the salt. As you keep mixing, gradually add more flour, taking care not to add too
- When the dough is springy and well-kneaded, leave to rest in a covered bowl in a warm place for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead. Cut into 16 even pieces. Roll each piece into a 20cm-long roll. Take each end and twist them back in on themselves in opposite directions, so you end up with an S-shape. Line a baking tray with paper, then place each bun on it, ensuring there is good distance between each one (or you can shape into a wreath by placing the buns in a circle, leaving a 1cm gap between them, as they spread during baking). Gently press a raisin into the centre of each swirl. Leave to rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F/Gas 3½.
- Gently brush each bun with the remaining egg and bake in the preheated oven for eight to 10 minutes, or until golden and done. Leave under a damp tea towel for at least 10 minutes as soon as they come out of the oven to ensure no crust forms. If you wish, scatter over some pearl sugar.