• Fiona Tritton

Mothering Buns Recipe

Celebrating mothers can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals to honour mother goddesses. More recently it was believed to be important to visit your ‘home’ or ‘mother' church for a special service, once a year, known as 'mothering'. This was an opportunity for family reunions, as it was common for young children to work away from home as maids and servants. Children were allowed to visit their families on ‘Mothering Sunday’ and would give a small gift to their mothers, such as flowers, which is still traditional today.

Mothering Sunday was also known as 'Refreshment Sunday' or 'Mid-Lent Sunday' because the fasting rules of Lent didn’t apply in honour of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Cakes like Simnel Cake and Mothering Buns were popular treats to take for your Mum.

This recipe from Paul Hollywood is a lovely, easy, yeasted bun just perfect for your little ones to cover every square inch of your kitchen worktops ! Traditionally they are decorated with caraway or aniseed but this recipe replaces them with hundreds and thousands.


FOR THE BUNS 500g strong white flour

1 tsp salt

50g caster sugar

7g sachet instant yeast

50g unsalted butter, diced

300ml water

FOR THE ICING 200g icing sugar 2–3 tbsp water

1. Put the flour in a large bowl. Add the salt and sugar on one side, the yeast on the other. Add the butter and three-quarters of the water, then turn the mixture round with the fingers of one hand. Add the remaining water a little at a time, mixing until you have taken in all the flour and the dough is soft and slightly sticky; you might not need all the water.

2. Oil the work surface to stop the dough sticking. Turn out the dough and knead for 5 mins until smooth and no longer sticky. Lightly oil the bowl, return the dough to it and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

3. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and fold it inwards repeatedly until all the air has been knocked out and the dough is smooth. Divide into 12 piece and roll each piece into a ball.

4. Put the balls of dough on the prepared baking trays, spacing them slightly apart. (They should just touch each other when they have risen.) Place each tray in a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for about 40 mins, until the rolls have doubled in size. Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200/425F.

5. Bake for 10–12 mins, until the rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

6. For the icing, mix the icing sugar with enough water to give a thick but pourable consistency. Dip each roll into the icing and then into the hundreds and thousands.

Recipe taken from Paul Hollywood’s British Baking, Photography Peter Cassidy (Bloomsbury, £8)

Happy feasting !

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