Going for brunch has grown in popularity and with that comes the rise of more restaurants attempting to get a piece of the market. One of my favourite places to go for brunch is The Breakfast Club.
My husband took me to the original Breakfast Club in Soho one morning when I was up in town. I was meant to be meeting him just for a coffee but upon spying the generous portions of Greek yoghurt, dripping in raspberry compote and berries topped with crunchy granola, I couldn’t help myself but tuck into breakfast number two of the morning. And I didn’t regret it!
The Breakfast Club is one of those quirky, trendy restaurants that offers something a little more unusual than your regular brunch options. And with more and more branches opening up across town, it’s clearly made a statement.
Last weekend we visited the latest in the chain on Battersea Rise and you couldn’t miss the queue snaking up the street outside. After a 20 minute wait, we were seated by a lovely front of house manager and hungrily waited for the menus.
The menu is a minefield. Too much choice and I was worried about food envy.
I ended up opting for avocado and poached egg on toasted multigrain bloomer with some crispy bacon on the side. Generous portions is an understatement, there were mounds of softly mashed avocado, topped with a soft poached egg, which broke open to ooze over the avocado and trickled down on the toasted bread. Delicious.
It was a perfect start to the weekend and the decision was made to have a go at recreating it at home.
I haven’t made much bread and had recently brought some spelt flour, so I thought this would make a lovely loaf to toast for this open top sandwich.
Spelt flour has many nutritious qualities and delivers a sweetish, nutty flavour.
It was more than simple to make and I set to work early in the morning so that it could spend the day proving. There is something very satisfying coming back late afternoon to find that your dough has doubled in size and ready to be moulded into a loaf shape, topped with some seeds before resting for half an hour and then popped in the oven.
The result was a slightly sweet, nutty bread, that was similar in colour and in texture to light rye breads. It had a good crust sprinkled with lightly toasted seeds.
I love using alternatives to butter on bread, whether it’s a hummus, sundried tomato paste or in this case I used mashed avocado. Mashed avacado is far superior to natural butter and it provided a soft layer on top of the toasted bread. A handful of rocket leaves was the base for the crispy bacon to sit on with soft boiled eggs looking inviting on top. Drizzled honey mustard dressing brought all the elements together into an indulgent open-top sandwich.
I hope The Breakfast Club chefs would be impressed.
Avocado, Bacon and Soft boiled egg on toasted homemade Spelt Bread
Inspired by The Breakfast Club
For the bread:
300g wholemeal spelt flour
200g strong white bread flour
1 heaped tsp fine sea salt
7g packet of instant dried yeast
Handful of pumpkin seeds
Handful of sunflower seeds
For the topping: Makes 2 open top stacked (!) sandwiches
8 rashers of streaky bacon, grilled to crispy
2 handfuls of rocket
2 soft boiled eggs
1 avocado roughly mashed
2 chillis finely chopped
1 lime juiced
Honey mustard dressing for drizzling
To make the bread:
Put the two flours in a large bowl and add the salt. Stir in the yeast. Pour the water into the flour. Stir to a soft dough then tip out on to a floured board.
The dough will be quite sticky at this stage, but keep kneading for a good eight or nine minutes. As you knead, the dough will become drier and tighter.
Shape the dough into a ball and put it back into the floured bowl. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and leave in a warm place for about an hour or until it is roughly twice its original volume.
Shape the dough into your loaf, I went for a oval (sort of!) shape. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. Sprinkle on your sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Dust generously with flour and leave in a warm place, covered by a tea towel, for 30 minutes or so until they have risen once more.
Set the oven at 240C/gas mark 9. Bake for about 40 minutes until it is crisp and dark on the outside and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove and cool on a wire rack. It won’t keep longer than a day or so, but will freeze. I’d just eat the lot if I were you.
To make the topping:
Gently mash the avocado and then mix with the chopped chilli and lime juice.
Layer this on your slice of bread.
Handful of rocket on top of your avocado.
Place two rashers of streaky bacon on your rocket.
Cut open your soft boiled egg and place one half on your bacon.
Drizzle some honey mustard dressing and crack some black pepper on top.