This is my “roll” version of saffron yeast bread, studded with golden raisins. Dried currents are a good substitute if you prefer, but I really adore golden raisins. They have a light citrusy flavor that accents the saffron. Saffron is expensive, but a little bit goes a long way, and I recommend buying the whole threads rather than the ground type. It stays fresh longer, looks beautiful, and you can be sure you are getting the real thing. I went over the top with one of these warm-from-the-oven rolls by topping it with some saffron peach preserves I made in August. Amazing.
Saffron and Honey Rolls
1 cup warm water or milk
1/3 cup honey
1 cup all-purpose flour, for proofing
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted, plus more for brushing the tops
1/4 teaspoon salt
a generous pinch of saffron threads
4 cups additional flour
1/2 cup golden raisins
In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, stir together the water, honey, one cup of flour, and yeast. Let this proof for five minutes, or until bubbly. Mix in the eggs, butter, salt, and saffron. Add in the flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the raisins.
Using a dough hook or your hands, knead the dough for five minutes, adding additional flour if needed, until you have a soft, glossy dough. Do not add too much flour to these, the dough should be workable but soft. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled in volume (I like to place the dough bowl on top of the dryer while it is running–it seems to be the perfect temperature for dough).
Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Use your hands to pull off small balls of the dough to place in the pan. This amount of dough makes 20 nice-sized rolls, so you can divide the dough into quarters and then each quarter into five balls. Let them rise for 20 minutes, or until they have increased in size by 50 percent.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 15 minutes, or until light golden on top (they do not get deep brown on top, so do not overbake). Remove and brush the tops with additional melted butter. Serve warm.
There are very few things in this world better than a warm saffron bun. Right now I can only think of two, and one of them involves said bun topped with more saffron peach preserves.
Thanks for reading,