Very rich, somewhere between a cake and a bread.
I’ve had them come out much more yellow than that before, though I thought I used about the same amount of saffron, hmm. Look at those darker bits where the strands are, though! And when I was at the stage where I’d mixed together egg, butter and saffron the colour was just glorious.
Steep a large pinch of saffron in a little boiling water for at least twenty minutes – I usually try to leave it about an hour.
100g/4oz strong plain flour
150ml milk, slightly warmed
50ml sherry or brandy
7g dried yeast
Whisk together with a fork in a large bowl and leave to get frothy.
225g/8oz strong plain flour
½ tspn salt
50g/2oz caster sugar
Egg and milk to glaze
Melt the butter, cool a little, and beat it together with the egg and saffron/water, then into the sponge mixture.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients to form a very soft dough. Turn onto a heavily floured surface and knead until smooth and springy. Oil the top, put it back in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough and give it a bit of a knead, just a few turns. Divide into twelve, form into rolls, and place on a baking sheet. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and milk and bake at 230C/Gas Mark 8 for 10 minutes or so, they should be well risen and browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Be gentle with them, with this rich dough they’re still very soft when they come out of the oven and you don’t want them squished out of shape. Cool on a wire rack, if you can resist that long.