Before we begin... I blame it all on Instagram. My feed keeps popping up with beautiful pictures: Ukrainian style peasant blouses, layered chia seed topped smoothies, gorgeous smooth suede over-the-knee boots, and of course these delicious looking sugar bombs... The filled doughnuts by notorious Borough Market bakery Bread Ahead. Lately I've been spending more time discovering things to do and try in my adopted city, and so obviously I planned to go down to the market to try these, which are evidently totally outside my recommended macros etc etc, but girls like contradictions right?
Originally I just wanted to go spend a morning grocery shopping, and do a pit stop for coffee and a doughnut, as I love the produce that I can find there and it makes for a great couple of hours wandering, but I soon found out that Bread Ahead is also a baking school... I clicked on to the website in less time that it takes to gobble down one of their delicious treats and booked a spot in the next doughnut workshop... This is how I found myself walking through the baking school doors one glorious Autumn afternoon a couple of weeks ago.
The workshop was taught by super patient Aidan, who kept smiling and dispensing baking knowledge tidbits through the 3-hour class as we learned about yeast, proving, and kneading. Around the table were twelve of us, all doughnut novices who wanted to have fun learning to make something seriously scrumptious. We were handed a recipe leaflet to take home, which included the recipe for the doughnuts as well as for the honeycomb and different creme patissiere fillings, and then the fun began...
I confess, I had two self-doubt moments... When came time to knead the dough into an "elastic texture", that was a total-fail moment for me, as I looked at my dough coated fingers with a puzzled air which made the whole table erupt in laughter: I suddenly had webbed fingers. And when instructed to make a little cage around my doughnut dumpling to shape it into a perfect little ball, well then my right eyebrow just lifted up in that "Seriously" look of mine, which said that my hands were clearly too small for this. That's when Aidan came round to reassure me that, yes my hands were big enough and yes my face expressions were so comical I was providing entertainment for all my class mates. In short, I had tremendous fun.
After proving the dough you get to fry your not-so-little-anymore doughnuts and fill them with an assortment of fillings that we were also taught all about. My favourite remains the simple vanilla creme, although I must say my favourite doughnut to taste was the plain one straight out of the fryer into the sugar... Bread Ahead's recipe calls for lemon zest to be added to the dough when you are mixing it, which really comes out in a zingy taste when you eat the doughnuts still warm (there is something I wouldn't have known had I just walked up to the stall and bought a cold doughnut...)
The piping of cream into the doughnuts was another tricky moment, but looking at the picture of my six babies (bottom right, unfilled at the top and filled at the bottom) I managed to do just fine. Overall, I came out of the class feeling confident I could make these at home, and even made small ones for the children at our brunch the following Sunday, it was a roaring success withe little ones and their parents alike!
I'm not sharing the recipe for Bread Ahead's doughnuts here, because it is not mine to share... but also because you can find it on the book by their head baker, Justin Gellatly: "Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding", which is available on Amazon. I'm also hoping that I've inspired you to join a workshop soon (it is after all GBBO season, and who doesn't want to learn to bake something from scratch?)... who knows, we might bump into eachother at another workshop soon?
Check out their website for more details: