Cornish saffron buns recipe

Rich yeast buns, with vivid yellow color, can be found in most Cornish bakeries. Serve warm with salted butter or, of course, lashings of clotted cream.


  • 300ml/½ pint whole milk
  • 0.4g saffron strands
  • 90g/3¼oz clotted cream
  • 50g/1¾oz butter, at room temperature
  • 550g/1lb 4oz strong white bread flour, sifted
  • 1¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 50g/1¾oz golden caster sugar, plus an extra 50g/1¾oz for the glaze
  • 7g sachet fast-acting dried yeast
  • 70g/2½oz raisins
  • 30g/1oz chopped mixed peel


  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan to almost boiling point. Remove from the heat and lightly crumble the saffron threads between your fingers into the milk, then stir. Stir in the clotted cream and butter until fully melted. Set aside to infuse for 15–20 minutes or until the mixture is about blood temperature and a golden yellow color.
  2. Combine the sifted flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the center and add the warm milk mixture. Stir to combine. Knead on a slow speed for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the raisins and mixed peel and continue to knead for a further 5 minutes until the dough feels springy and elastic. It should bounce back when pressed with a finger.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 45–60 minutes, or until doubled in size. (Alternatively combine all the ingredients – except the raisins and peel – in a bowl and add the warm milk mixture. Knead by hand briefly until you have a smooth dough, then add the dried fruit and knead for a further 6–8 minutes until smooth and elastic).
  5. When risen, turn the dough out onto a floured board and knock it back (knock the air out of the dough) and knead for a couple of minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 8–10 even pieces and roll each into a ball. Arrange them on a baking sheet, leaving some space between each. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rise again for about 25–30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
  8. Bake the buns for about 20 minutes until risen and golden.
  9. While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze. Dissolve the caster sugar in a pan with 3 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil for about a minute to create a glossy syrup.
  10. Remove the buns from the oven and put them on a wire rack. Brush the tops with the syrup and leave to cool a little. Serve warm with butter or clotted cream, or allow to cool and serve halved and toasted with butter.

Read Previous

How to make cinnamon buns

Read Next

The lemon polenta cake recipe