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Prepare to drool!
These Swedish Saffron Rolls are part of my journey through the Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent and what a journey it is turning out to be. These delicious buns are more like a gorgeously scented brioche. The saffron lends the golden hue, the cardamom takes you to another place and the texture sublimely melts in your mouth. Truly a bread for the senses.
These buns are traditionally made for St Lucia’s Day, December 13th, and can be shaped into a large loaf, these S-shaped scrolls or myriad of other shapes. Legend has it that St Lucia eyes were removed.The legend concludes with God restoring her eyes. She is the Patron Saint for the Blind. The raisins on these scrolls Symbolize her eye returning to her.  
 I made these in my stand mixer and will give the recipe accordingly. Also it is really best to buy the cardamom pods, remove the seeds from within and grind to a powder. You will notice the difference !
Swedish Saffron Rolls
a Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 125g) unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 package(2 1/2 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup currants (optional)
raisins or choc chips
1 large egg, beaten for egg wash

Pound the saffron with 1 teaspoon of sugar in a mortar and pestle until the saffron is pulverised. I used 2 of these packets pictured which is already ground saffron. I had these in the pantry as I use them regularly for my risotto Milanese.
Edited 19/02/2012: I purchase this saffron from my local Italian deli but the threads are fine if you grind with with a little of the sugar.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and heat until it reaches 120 to 130F (48 to 55C). It will feel hot to touch. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the saffron.
Place the sugar, flour, yeast, cardamom and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the hot liquid and stir well scraping down the  edges. Attach the dough hook and knead on medium-high  speed for a few seconds until the dough gathers around the hook. Reduce the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes more to make a soft elastic dough.  On low speed, beat in the currants, if using. I add a spoonful extra of flour because the dough was very sticky but be careful  not to add too much flour it is meant to be a soft dough. Too much flour and your buns will be dry! 
Wash and dry the bowl and coat lightly with cooking oil. Shape the dough into a ball and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours until doubled. Test the dough by pressing it with a finger tip: the impression should remain if it is ready.
Scrape the risen dough onto an unfloured surface and gently deflate with the palms of your hands. Pat the dough into a 10 x 8 inch square. Cut the dough into twenty 2 inch squares. Shape each into a ball, cover and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. 
Roll heach ball of dough into an 8inch (20cm) long roll, then roll each end of the dough in the opposite direction…
…to form an S -shaped twist

Push raisins or chocolate chips into the centre of each scroll. Coat the rolls lightly with cooking spray and let them rise, uncovered in a warm place until doubled in size about 30 minute.

  Preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and prepare to baking sheets by lining with non stick baking paper.

Brush the risen rolls with egg wash and put the pans in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes until the rolls are well browned. Rotate the pans top to bottom and front to bake once after 10 minutes of baking to ensure even browning. Remove the rolls to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pleasure guaranteed!

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