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Sourdough Saffron & Cardamom Buns (vegan!)

Golden Saffron Cardamom buns Wunder Workshop

Tom's Saffron Cardamom buns:

These saffron and cardamom buns are one of my favourite treats to bake. With the additional time granted to us in our locked down state, I found baking really beneficial for my mental health. Learning to enjoy the process as much as the end result is what is valuable with baking and patience is key. Don't let challenges get in the way as this is a truly wonderful recipe. The key is using freshly ground saffron strands that allow for such a vibrant colour, their enchanting and subtle aroma works perfectly with ground cardamom.

When I first made these saffron buns I thought I made too many - but with the help of friends (old and new) they were finished very quickly!

Ingredients (makes 24 buns):

  • 12 strands of Golden Saffron, ground in a pestle and mortar 
  • 300ml plant milk - I used organic oat milk
  • 510g strong bread flour, I used organic spelt flour. 
  • 100g of active sourdough starter (or use 1 tsp of dry yeast)
  • 90g sugar - I used organic coconut sugar
  • 85g butter - I used this Vegan Block which worked really well!
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 5 strands of Golden Saffron, ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 tbsp of freshly ground cardamom seeds
  • 200g of butter / Vegan Block
  • 180g of brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Process:

  1. Start by picking your saffron strands and crushing them in a pestle and mortar. When ground finely, add them to your plant milk, for best results gently warm the milk so that the saffron infuses fully.
  2. Mix your sourdough starter or active yeast into the milk and saffron mixture.
  3. While the starter settles, mix all of your dry ingredients for the buns in a large mixing bowl. Then combine this with the saffron milk, starter and butter.
  4. Knead the dough gently for 10 minutes, ensuring that the butter has fully incorporated. You should have a smooth dough ball that is bright yellow.
  5. If you have used a sourdough starter, cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave the dough to settle at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight, before placing in the fridge for 1 hour. If using dry yeast, cover and leave for 3 hours at room temperature before placing in the fridge for an hour.
  6. When the dough is cooling in the fridge it is time to make the filling: gently combine all of the ingredients with a fork. It helps if the butter has been allowed to reach room temperature. Don't whisk or mix too vigorously as the mixture will become foamy. 
  7. Take the cooled dough out of the fridge and roll this out on to your countertop until you have a rectangle about 0.5cm thick. Make sure that the countertop is well floured to ensure the dough does not stick. Then spread the filling on the dough before folding in half, bringing the shorter sides together.
  8. Now cut the dough into 1.5cm strips and roll between your fingers into the traditional Swedish style: take the strip between your index finger and middle finger, palm facing up. Twist the dough as you spin this around your two fingers. As you come towards the end of the strip, push the end through the hole and press to seal. Alternatively, roll the strip into a swirl.
  9. Line a baking tray with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes until slightly golden. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Tom Smale