Saffron brioche, a Lussekatter variation.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro & JE Nilsson 2020

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of brioche to be found in the baked confections section of Swedish grocery shops. These new bakes were certainly Instagram worthy, sitting in neat rows on the display counter. I loved how they looked and most of all, the confectionary section of the shop drew crowds from the dofting aromas of combined caramelized sugar and butter.

Cafés got around into producing brioche bakes too. Popular variations of brioche that can be found in Swedish cafés include kanelbullar brioche, and chocolate pull-apart loaves. Sold on the idea of brioche, one advantage of starting Christmas bakes early is that you get to experiment with variations of recipes and styles to the confection. In this case, my interest for Lussekatter haven´t waned, so I tried a brioche version of these saffron buns.

Characteristic of the brioche is its full butter flavour and its light airy texture, attributed to the long hours of dough raising.

Saffron brioche ingredients

80 ml milk
2 tbsp sugar
0.5g saffron powder
25g yeast
1 large egg
260g flour

80g sugar
1 tsp sea salt
220g flour
180g butter at room temperature

Egg wash
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp butter

The sponge is prepared first bu combining the milk, saffron powder, yeast and sugar. Once this is well combined, the egg and flour are added. The sponge should be well blended and should rise only slightly before incorporating into the main dough.

The dough is made by combining all dry ingredients with the sponge. The butter should be added a tablespoon at a time to the dough, so that it forms a homogeneous consistency. Let rest to rise, which should take about an hour or so if you´re on a short baking run or you can leave it overnight in the refrigerator and wake up to a gorgeous dough that is double in size in the refrigerator.

With the dough ready to use, you can go ahead and make all sorts of Lussekatter shapes with raisins as decorations. Let rise for another 45 mins before egg washing and baking in a 200 deg C oven till the tops of the buns are golden brown. In this batch, the buns were taken out of oven, sprinkled over with sugar and then placed back into the oven for another couple of minutes to get a sugared crust top.

These saffron lussekatter are lighter than usual, and they pull apart nicely from their Lussekatt tail swirls to form single twirls of raisin buns. Like the traditional Lussekatt, this brioche version is best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk and a good book for the evening read.