Thursday, 30 October 2014

Overnight rye buns

Sam is a changed child. In three weeks he has gone from a deranged, clingy, screeching non-eating, non-sleeping lunatic devil toddler, to a perfectly alright 18 month old. He started walking properly, you see. Not stagger-stagger-collapse-wail - but really walking about. Sometimes, when really on a roll, not even wanting to hold your hand.

Before Sam could walk, in those long, dark, awful days when he would just sit on the floor and shriek, I would tell everyone - or just mutter to myself "When he can walk, it will be better. When he can walk, it will be better." I clung to that truth, willed it, wished it to be so. Somewhere, in a dark place, was the thought that maybe walking wouldn't improve things - maybe he was just a little jerk and would be forever this albatross, this non-eating, non-sleeping albatross. Round my neck. Forever.

But then, O Lord, praise praise be - I was right! He walks. He eats. He sleeps. He SMILES!! Hallelujah! Rejoice! Rejoice! Calloo - callay!!

Pirate Sam - walking so fast he's just a blur

Now, in the morning, I can come downstairs with him and just let him roam about while I make a cup of tea. He will sit with me and eat a few bites of my breakfast. He will potter about with his toy brush and my copper saucier, humming to himself while I read the paper.

When we all leave the house together, I put on all their shoes and sweaters and whatever on and then stand at the front door and shout "Come on! We're going!"and out scampers Kitty in her pink glittery high-tops and then a few seconds later Sam staggers into the hallway in his stout little trainer boot thingies, clomp, clomp, clomp - wobble - clomp, clomp - wobbbbllllle - clomp clomp.

And I am a changed woman. I no longer stamp along my little local high street in an unspeakable mood, snapping "I had an awful weekend," at Freddie, my butcher and weeping on the shoulder of Matthew, the coffee shop owner. I smile, I brush my hair, I make polite chit-chat, I light candles in the evening. I have carved a pumpkin in preparation for Hallowe'en. I bought a new houseplant.

The world suddenly seems a bright and beautiful place. So hopeful.

I think.... I am.... happy.

And what better way to celebrate than by taking Kitty - at large this week on half term - to a delightful little baking school called Bake With Maria - ( Normally I absolutely refuse to do anything like this but this place was a 15 minute drive from us, on a Tuesday at 10am during half term. How could I say no?

Maria Mayerhofer is smiley, lovely, patient with small children and enthusiastic about everything - and as we made a simple loaf of white bread I saw plainly and clearly what I've been doing wrong with bread all this time, which is 1) I add too much flour because I am freaked out by how sticky the dough is and 2) I don't knead it for long enough.

Two such simple things!

Anyway the bread was all well and good but it was these overnight rye buns that really caught my eye. I've got a real thing about breakfast. I really, really like it - like that disapproving sister in Magic Mike. And what you do with these buns is put together the dough (no kneading required) - stick it in a bowl in the fridge overnight, then scoop out the dough in the morning onto a baking tray, put it in the oven for 20 mins and you have fresh bread. Fresh freaking bread! And now Sam doesn't require literally constant attention his every waking moment, I can do stuff like this!


Overnight Rye Buns, from Bake With Maria

150g dark rye flour (Waitrose!)
200g strong white flour
4 g dried yeast
4g runny honey
5g salt
290g water
50g natural yoghurt

1 Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a spoon - it is a very wet dough so don't go in there with your hands, just go for it with a metal spoon until it's all combined.

2 Stretch some cling film over the top of your bowl and put it in the fridge overnight

3 As soon as you hit the kitchen in the morning, get your oven to 200C and once it's hot put in a roasting tray with some boiling water in it - about an inch deep.

4 Grease well a baking sheet or tray (I use that Lurpak spray stuff - it's fab). Dip a wet tablespoon into the dough and scoop out a goodly amount and plonk it on the tray to form a bun and then repeat.

5 Bake for 20 minutes

Eat with butter, jam - whatever - at your leisure, in your kitchen. Maybe with the paper?



  1. OH.MY.GOD. You've given me HOPE! At last, a flickering light of hope on the horizon! Joni has already started to sleep better (finally) and eats well but is so miserable at not being able to walk. But there's HOPE! *clings on for dear life* THANKS ESTHER. xxxx

  2. You make such beautiful babies! Do you stare at them when they're asleep? (I do.) It really isn't their fault that they are such bastards when little - anyone would be frustrated not being able to move or talk.

    There were dark, awful days in the past when my husband comes home to find everyone, adult and children, all crying, at the same time, still in last night's pyjamas, no food, a home utterly devoid of joy. It was wrenchingly desperate. They are 3 (next week) and 4.5 years old now. I sometimes forget myself and start to moan about something, and fail, realising that there is nothing to complain about, and a unfamiliar feeling of content washes over. It has become so much more civilised with children reasonably communicative, it feels like the fog of early childhood has finally lifted.

    People (my sister in law) like to remind me just how much harder it will get, and that what we've been through so far is just the easy bit; I don't actually don't care, I am just so relieved to made it this far.

    Wishing you many happy and contented moments to come xxx

  3. Yeah for walking. Also have a fairly recent walker. My mum kept telling me it's easier when they're walking - and she was right. He walks from the front door down the path now and I practially skip after him, it's so freeing not carrying him EVERYWHERE! xxx

  4. Elizabeth Medovnik31 October 2014 at 10:48

    So glad things are improving! Your kids are gorgeous :o)

  5. Those buns sound wonderful. Why no proving in the warmth, I wonder? Great to hear family life is humming along. The secret to surviving these years is to recognize when all is good and you're happy. (And LS, it's not likely to get worse. Your sister-in-law is a cow).

  6. What a happy blog and cute pictures! I love breakfast too, best meal of the day. By dinner I'm too knackered and fraught to care... Loved reading this and I just might try these buns.

    Thanks for blogging. It makes my day to see a new Esther blog. When my husband gets home from work later I will say something like "Esther posted a new blog today. It was great, she says x,y,z about child rearing..." And he will look at me like I'm bonkers.

  7. Awww look at you and your little man. Is he talking yet by any chance? S x

  8. Good God, let the woman enjoy herself before we start in on the next milestone!
    Though I have to say, my daughter is nearly 22 months and talking is long overdue. Reading this post, I began to wonder if that's why some days feel so tough lately. She's probably more frustrated by it than I am, and certainly as much as Sam seems to have been by not being able to walk.
    Next up: potty training. I don't even want to think about it.

  9. Oh my, but your Sam reminds me of my Sam, who is now nearly 6 and his wobbly toddler days are a memory.

  10. These were delicious, and so easy, and fun for my 6 and 3 year old to help with, with no mess! What it is that means no kneading and such simplicity? I'm thinking that if I understand that, I can make other, similar types of bread roll too.

  11. Hey Esther! A great post! Glad to hear that you're happy and that Sam is walking. :)

    I think a group where you learn to bake is a great idea, but goodness knows where there is one where I live.

    The pic of you and Sam is so sweet. Love reading your blog!
    Love Ss1. Xx

  12. Hurray! I can get rye flour in Turkey! Will be making these for Saturday morning breakfast.

  13. Wow my son started walking and he just keeps running away from me so I still need to carry him when we go out. So jealous!

  14. Great blog, thanks, it's kept me entertained through many hours of breastfeeding. Now I'm weaning my baby it turns out she's allergic to loads of things (eggs, nuts, milk, tomatoes). Plus she objects to being spoon fed. Any suggestions for gummable things I can give her? I didn't go to Oxford but I do have a PhD so I'm hoping this will appeal to your competitive side ("has a doctorate but can't feed her own baby... ")

  15. Made these rolls for breakfast this morning and I really enjoyed them, thank you :) Perfect weekend treat- minimum effort, made the house smell nice and reminded me of Sweden.

  16. Very excited about this recipe! Yay thanks but erhmm 250 GRAMS of water? Really? Is that how you measure water?

  17. These work really well and all the family enjoyed them! Have you tried the method with other types of flour? My boys are now 20, 17 and 14 and we are getting life back - but forget that we can. Looking back, its a cliche but the time goes really fast although it doesn't always feel like it at the . Hang in there.