Preparation / Directions:
Makes one 9-inch loaf
Steep the saffron in the boiling water and set aside to cool. In a medium-size bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water, and let stand until yeast starts to swell.
Warm half of the buttermilk with the butter and salt to dissolve; stir in the remaining buttermilk and the saffron and its marigold-colored liquid. Combine with yeast, mix well, and beat in 3 cups or more of flour until mixture is hard to stir. Turn out on floured surface and knead, adding a little more flour as necessary, until smooth and resilient.
Clean the mixing bowl and butter it. Put the dough in, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise slowly in a cool place (even the refrigerator) until more than double in bulk - 2 hours or more (4 if refrigerated).
Punch down and form a loaf. Place in a buttered 9-inch loaf pan and let rise, covered loosely, at room temperature until double in volume. Bake in preheated 425 F oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F, and bake 25 minutes more. Remove to a rack, and brush the top with soft butter.