2013 Bread Trend
Some restaurants may not give bread without you asking for it. And increasingly, they’re charging for a breadbasket or replacing complimentary baskets of bread with bread-board samplers with a variety of toppings, as well as sweet and savory crostini and signature rolls.
The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, Ohio, for example, charges $15 for a bread board designed for two to four with house-made jams, conserves, yogurts, spreads, schmears, dips, butter and “rendered fatty animal love” with a selection of grilled breads, wheat-stalk-shaped pain d’epi, house crackers and country bread. And The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis has a section of “toasts” on the menu with toppings such as warmed camembert, grilled savoy cabbage and Winterbor kale; sugar-and-salt-cured salmon with sweet mustard sauce and pickled cucumbers; or beef tartare.
Consumer Demand is Growing for Freshly Baked Bread, and Advances in Par-Baked Products are Offering More Options.
There’s something about the smell and taste of freshly baked bread that triggers powerful, positive emotional responses in most of us. Psychologists have noted that the aroma of baked bread evokes happy childhood memories, comfort, and even tender feelings of being loved. One recent survey found the fragrance of freshly baked bread is a favorite smell of both men and women.
Restaurants have increasingly discovered that consumers will pay a little more for sandwiches made with freshly baked breads, soups served with warm rolls, or salads that feature croutons made from richly textured artisan fare. Once available only at small bakeries and fine-dining bistros, freshly baked artisan bread became accessible to many restaurants with par-baked products. Par baking is a process in which about 80 percent of the bread-making process—largely until yeast activity stops—is completed at a factory or commissary. Controlling the fermentation and moisture is key, allowing the remaining steps, including final baking, to occur at the restaurant or other final location.
This saves operators time, space, and money while providing them with a consistent product that can be as good as breads baked from scratch on location. Relatively few quick-service or fast-casual restaurants can afford the space or skilled employees necessary to bake bread from scratch on site. Having a frozen product requires more freezer space, but it allows a restaurant to react more quickly to replenish its stock with warm, freshly baked bread or to meet large, last-minute orders.