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Ciabatta and brioche
These two breads fit perfectly into the trend toward premium. Egg-rich brioche is on 19 percent more menus now than a year ago, and is the bread of choice for upscale sandwiches such as the mahi mahi version that Hooter’s introduced for Lent and The Counter’s new Southeast Asian Ahi tuna sandwich.
Brioche is particularly popular with burgers these days. It’s the bun for Jack in the Box’s new Bacon Insider, which has bacon pieces mixed into the patty, and is used for the bacon cheeseburger on Friendly’s recently revamped menu.
Friendly’s is also using it for French toast, and Bravo! Cucina Italiano just added to its brunch menu roast turkey sweet potato hash and eggs with brioche toast.
Ciabatta, meanwhile, is now on 14 percent of chain menus and 6 percent of independent restaurant menus. It’s Wendy’s premium carrier of choice for the season — currently holding the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger with Asiago cheese, thick-cut bacon, rosemary-garlic aïoli and oven-roasted tomatoes — and the chain will be rolling out a chicken sandwich on the bread shortly.
Jack in the Box, Sonic Drive-in and Applebee’s are currently using ciabatta, too. And a ciabatta crisp makes for a premium element served with First Watch’s new smoked salmon and vegetable frittata.
Sundried tomato-basil ciabatta is the bread for a new Caribou Coffee sandwich, which also has oven-roasted turkey breast, mozzarella and aïoli pesto spread.