As I type this, I have a pan of bright yellow saffron buns baking in the oven. I hope I will be able to tell you that they are awesome! (So far they look and smell great.) Saffron has always seemed to be the sexy and mysterious ingredient in the spice world and I’ve never cooked with it. I’m also not sure what the big deal is, other than being time consuming to collect and dry so it is ridiculously expensive. Exciting purchase at TJ Maxx in the strange and exotic discount food aisle – a gram of Spanish saffron for $7. Thus, I bring you saffron buns.
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands (@ half my jar)
- 1 1/4 cups very warm milk
- 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose but I used bread flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 packet (2 1/4tsp or 7g or .25oz) instant dry yeast
- OPTIONAL ( I didn’t add this) – 2/3 cup dried fruit – but I don’t feel fruit has any place in baked goods with the exception of apple pie
BTW, the most awesome part of this recipe is that I get to use my IKEA mortar and pestle to grind the saffron and my pastry cutter that has probably never been used.
Grind the saffron and stir it into the hot milk. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Combine the flour and salt in mixing bowl. Cube butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter or fork or two knives so the mix resembles coarse crumbs.
- Stir in the sugar and instant yeast and add all of the saffron milk.
- Knead by hand for 6 to 8 minutes or in a stand mixer for 3 to 5 minutes. If you are adding fruit (ugh) do it here and knead some more until fruit is distributed through the dough.
- Place the dough in an oiled or buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in size – @ 1 hour. I put mine in the oven to keep it out of the way. Do whatever your thing is to help dough rise. During this time, do the dishes and find something crafty to do. For instance, I had plenty of time during this whole process to make a cool necklace with Peruvian opals and tourmaline. Yeah, I’m pretty full of myself right now.
- If your dough is in the oven, take it out and preheat to 350. Shape the rolls by hand and place on a buttered baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with plastic and set aside to rise another 45 minutes or so.
- Bake the rolls at 350 for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once after 10 minutes. Buns should be nicely brown.
Now, in the time it took me to type this up I have taken the buns out and managed to eat two. I have success! I’m not quite sure if the saffron is a big deal or not, but these are good buns and I think this is a good basic recipe if you wanted to experiment and try other flavors/themes. It’s a sweet bread but not overly sweet like a dessert. I’m pretty amazed because I love bread but any bread-like substance I ever try to make turns out heavy as a boulder. These are not. A cool necklace made and fresh bread. I am the Queen of Everything.