A speciality of Bristol, these are made by local bakers the day before Mothering Sunday. Traditionally, on this day only, the Lent fast was relaxed. The buns used to be decorated with caraway or aniseed; today, hundreds and thousands are used.
FOR THE BUNS
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
50g caster sugar
7g sachet instant yeast
50g unsalted butter, diced and softened
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, or 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 pieces.
4. Roll each piece into a ball by placing it into a cage formed by your hand on the work surface and moving your hand in a circular motion, rotating the ball rapidly.
5. 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.
6. Bake for 10–12 mins, until the rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
7. 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)
Mothering Sunday is on 15 March in the UK. It has been celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent since the 16th century.