Have you ever wondered by Mother’s Day falls on a different day each year? There’s a very good reason for that and believe it or not Mother’s Day never started out as a holiday to celebrate your mother at all.
The origins of Mothering Sunday reach back to the sixteenth century when people returned to their “mother” church for Laetare Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lent). In the Industrial Age it became a day when servants were given a day off to return to their family and it was often the only time of the year when entire families would congregate together and visit church as a family. It was also known as “going a-Mothering”. Over time this Mothering Sunday tradition evolved to one where mothers are celebrated.
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These are mothering buns. Traditionally made by children for their mother, in our house they require a little supervision so we made these together this afternoon. These buns are not that sweet, the main sweetness comes from the vanilla icing on top, they are a little fortified and made with milk and honey.
Mothering Buns (makes 7-8 large buns)
- 400g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon dried yeast
- 20g melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 150 warm milk (blood temperature)
Take a large bowl, set the warm milk to one side and mix all the other ingredients together using your hands until you get a breadcrumb like texture. Slowly mix in the warm milk, bit by bit. Stop as soon as you get a firm and slightly sticky dough. Add a little more warm milk if you don’t get a firm dough.
Knead the dough until smooth (this takes me about 10-15 mins on a clean surface). Brush the bowl with a small amount of melted butter and put the dough back inside then cover the bowl tightly with cling film.
Allow to rise for 90 minutes in a warm spot.
After 90 minutes, remove the cling film and knock the air back by giving a bit of a bash. Divide into 8 equal sized pieces. I didn’t do this so there are 2 mini bits on my tray! Roll these pieces into thick sausage shapes. Dust a baking tray with flour and fit the pieces of dough into the tray, making sure that they don’t touch one another. Cover the tray with a tea towel and leave them to rise back for a further 30 minutes.
Heat your (fan) oven to 200 degrees Celsius. After the second rising stage, remove the tea towel and put the tray into the oven once it is heated.
Bake until golden, remove and tip the rolls out onto a wire rack to cool.
Once they are warm to the touch. You can make this icing by mixing 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract with 200g icing sugar and 4 tablespoons of water to get a thick paste. Dip the top of the rolls into the paste and set back onto a wire rack to allow to drip dry. Sprinkle the top with hundreds and thousands if you like – apparently this is traditional in some parts of the UK.
As a family we choose to celebrate a form of Mothering Sunday and celebrate those who have a mothering role in our lives. While it isn’t the essence of what the original day was intended to be, it recognises the changing types of families we have in our society and allows for co-parenting, blended families, and more.