Today marked possibly my fifth visit to Bread Ahead in Seven Dials. Just a few minutes walk from Covent Garden, it used to be dangerously close to my office before I left London. It is one of my all-time favourite doughnuts, hence my return trip.
They offer a standard menu of fillings and I went for a box of four, choosing blueberry jam, salted caramel, hazelnut praline and chocolate. The only ones I didn’t choose were vanilla custard and plain sugar. I would have gone the full set of all six flavours, but I have three weddings in the next five weeks and dresses to fit into, so I managed to restrain myself.
The best thing about the Bread Ahead doughnuts, is the doughnut:filling ratio. Often you end up taking several bites before discovering the filling within, or it spills out and is simply impossible to eat. Admittedly, Bread Ahead leans toward the latter, but as long as you are either willing to get a bit messy or wait until you can use a knife to cut it in two and be more polite about it, it is worth it. As you can see from the photo, the filling is piped with a little blob on top, tempting you in.
Another strong feature about Bread Ahead’s offerings is the sugar coating. The outside is crispy and covered in sugar that is granulated and gives it an extra crunch. Once beyond this, the doughnut inside is delightfully light and moist. Even a couple of days later they are not dry, possibly thanks to the filling. I’ve only had to eat one two days later on one occasion before – they never usually last that long! And it was because I went overboard and may have bought a box of 6 all to myself…
Today I was sharing my modest box of four with my husband and in-laws. Here are our thoughts on the flavours:
Blueberry jam: not too sickly and there is slightly less of this in comparison to the other fillings, appreciating that it would be far too much to have this spilling out of the top. It definitely tastes of blueberries, unlike other jam fillings.
Salted caramel: lovely and smooth, and not too rich. It is also not too salty – a few bad experiences in other establishments originally put me off salted caramel as a flavour, but I didn’t realise that these had been wrong. Bread Ahead gets it right.
Chocolate: incredibly chocolatey with little chocolate chips adding some extra texture on the top blob. The filling isn’t too thick and gluey as often chocolate fillings can be, and it is mousse-like in its consistency.
Hazelnut praline: my definite favourite. It has a little sprinkling of hazelnut dust on the outside and is creamy and smooth within. It has quite a light and delicate flavour, but the aftertaste is definitely hazelnut.
Bread Ahead is a firm recommendation for anyone in the area – they are also in Borough Market so if you are never around Covent Garden, you can still get hold of these. Furthermore, you can actually take classes in making these doughnuts in Borough. That is at the top of our doughnut to do list (this does actually exist).