Plain Saffron Bread
March 19, 2012

by stacy
Published on: March 19, 2012
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Comments: 2 Comments

“This bread is reminiscent of Cornish and Welsh teas, where saffron buns and bread have been exceedingly popular for generations…It makes fine toast.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

“No offense to you or your cooking, but I think it tastes like water out of a garden hose.”
-Mike, who discovered he doesn’t like saffron

My life has taken on a hectic place.  We spent the first full week in March at Walt Disney World (bread notes: try the croissants in France and the sandwiches in Norway at the Epcot World Showcase).  Since coming back, I’ve gotten a new job, and we have started work on our new house.  So even though I baked Plain Saffron Bread last Tuesday, I’m just getting around to posting now.

Here are the ingredients:

Plain Saffron Bread Ingredients

Saffron is expensive–the little box of saffron threads from the bulk spice section was $10, and this recipe used most of it.

I started by steeping my saffron in boiling water.  Meanwhile, I proofed the yeast with sugar and warm water.  At the same time, I scalded the milk, adding the butter and salt.  Once the milk mixture had cooled, I combined everything in a large bowl and added the flour.  My dough kneaded up to be a yellow color with a softly elastic texture.

I let the dough rise twice before shaping into two loaves to fit my 8 x 4 loaf pans, and then I let those rise again.  Each rising took about 45 minutes.

Plain Saffron Bread After Second Rising

I baked the bread at 425 degrees for ten minutes and then finished it off at 350 for 20 minutes.

Plain Saffron Bread

You have to really like saffron to enjoy this bread.  Mike really didn’t think much of it (he compared it to drinking water out of a garden hose) and I wasn’t a huge fan of it fresh from the oven.  But sliced thin and toasted, Plain Saffron Bread is sublime.  The toasting makes the saffron flavor more subtle, and it crisps to the perfect texture.  It was definitely some of finest–and most expensive–toast that I’ve ever had.

Plain Saffron Bread

2 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. Caroline says:

    Saffron Bread has been a Christmas Morning tradition in my family for a long time. My mom always rubbed butter on top right out of the oven, then sprinkled sugar on the melted butter. I love it fresh, as well as toasted with a hint of butter and thimbleberry jam! I think we use more saffron because our bread is a bit more yellow. It is expensive, that’s why my mom only made it during Christmas-time!

    • stacy says:

      Thanks for sharing about your family tradition! Now I am interested to try it with thimbleberry jam–I can’t get any around here, but maybe I can pick some up the next time I visit my sister in Michigan.

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