We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Friday, December 12, 2008

St. Lucia Bread

We enjoy celebrating the Swedish custom of St. Lucia (or St. Lucy) Day. One of my favorite parts is baking the delicious saffron buns that are traditionally served on St. Lucia's Day. I make mine using my breadmaker and then handshape and bake. They really aren't hard, want to give it a try?

The following recipe comes from The All New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook:

Add the ingredients in the order specified in your bread machine's manual. (Mine is wet first, then dry, then yeast)


Liquids:
3/4 c. plus 2 T milk
1 lg. egg

Dry:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/3 c. granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp powdered saffron (if you can only find saffron in "threads", just pulverize these as best you can then measure out 1/4 tsp. A trick I just learned is to use a bit of sugar as you pulverize with your mortar and pestle.)
3 T unsalted butter

Yeast:
2 1/4 fast-rise yeast

Place all in a 2-cup capacity breadmaker and set on "dough". At the end of the rise, punch down the dough and let rest 5 minutes before hand-shaping.

To handshape:
Lightly sprinkle work surface with flour. Divide dough into equal peices: 2 for 2 large breads, 4 for small breads, 6 to 8 for smaller buns. Lightly sprinkle with flour. Dampen hands and roll each piece into a rope. (18 inches for the 2 large pieces, 9 inches for the 4 pieces, etc.)

Lay a rope on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Curl each end, toward the center, into a coil. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush bread with egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water). Bake for approx. 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

This bread freezes well and is excellent served toasted with orange marmalade. (We serve small buns on St. Lucy's Day and freeze a larger bread for Christmas morning.)


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