How much saffron to use in buns recipe?

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I have an old recipe from around 1950. It calls for one box of saffron for 9 lbs of flour for making buns. How much was in a box?! I am guessing at 1 ounce or 2. I heard if you put too much saffron in a recipe it will taste like metal. Is this true and if so why?! Thank you!

Thanks for visiting us & asking your saffron questions. It’s one of my favorite spices, so I’m always happy to talk about it.

Unfortunately I have no idea if there was a standard measure for saffron boxes back then. Even for 9lbs of flour, 1 or 2 ounces of saffron sounds like massive overkill. Saffron is extremely potent, but also expensive. I happen to think our saffron price is quite good, and 1-2oz would cost you hundreds of dollars!

We typically see saffron sold in packages containing somewhere around a gram, though it can vary a fair amount between producers & forms (powder vs threads). I scanned some saffron bun recipes online, and I’m seeing quantities around a gram in recipes calling for that amount of flour. I’d definitely err on the side of being conservative with your first batch, then adjust from there.

Too much saffron can very definitely be a problem (and remember, this is coming from someone who loves it). As I said before, it’s extremely potent. Though its flavor is quite different from other floral spices, I’d say the same rule of caution applies as for lavender, rose & orange blossom – too much and it’ll overpower the dish & your taste buds.

I’ve never heard the flavor overabundance of saffron flavor being referred to as “metallic”. To me it more evokes “musty attic”. Not what you want!

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