St Lucia Buns

Taking some festive inspiration from Scandinavia today as they celebrate St Lucia’s Day on December 13th. Previously St Lucia’s Day is a festival of lights, incorporates the winter solstice as well as celebrating St Lucia, Lucy meaning ‘light’, to celebrate a young girl who was martyred for bringing food to persecuted Christians in hiding inside the catacombs of Rome. She wore candles on her head in order to free her hands for carrying goods.  

St Lucia Buns

Celebrated in Sweden, Norway & parts of Finland today where girls dress in a white dress with a red sash around the waist & a crown of real candles on their head (yikes). Saffron buns are traditionally eaten on this day, called St Lucia buns, Lussebullar or Lussekatter. Usually eaten for breakfast or offered to visitors (or enjoyed at Glögg parties), these golden-hued, raisin studded, ‘S’ shaped buns are simple, sweet & light.

(makes 6 )


  • 325g strong white flour
  • 4g fast acting dried yeast
  • 0.25g saffron (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 35g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 raisins or currants


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt & sugar together
  • Gently warm the milk, butter & saffron in a small saucepan or microwave until melted
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour  & pour in the milk mixture
  • Empty the dough out onto a floured work surface & knead for 10 minutes (or for 5 minutes using a dough hook in a stand mixer) until it is smooth, elastic & has a slight shine
  • Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm or tea towel & leave to rise for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size
  • Once your dough has risen tip it out onto a floured work surface & knock back the dough(knead out the air)
  • Divide the dough into 6 portions
  • Roll each portion into  a 30cm strand & roll both ends alternatively towards the centre of the length to form an ‘S’ shape
  • Place your buns onto a parchment lined baking sheet, well spaced apart
  • Cover with cling film, a tea towel, or (my preference) place inside a ‘bag for life’ plastic bag & leave to prove for 30 – 45 minutes, until doubled in size
  • Brush the buns with the remaining egg & use the currants or raisins to decorate the centre of each swirl
  • Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, until beautifully golden


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