Starring Ciabatta

7-Eleven introduces its version of fresh artisan bread sandwich

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. is featuring cibatta artisan bread as the star of its newest line of fresh-made-daily sandwiches.

Two varieties are being introduced at participating stores: Brown Sugar Turkey, with cilantro poblano ranch spread, dill pickles and Romaine lettuce, and Sopressata and Pepperoni Italian Cold Cuts, with spicy basil spread, mozzarella cheese, roasted tomatoes and Romaine lettuce.

According to Kulsoom Klavon, 7-Eleven product development director for fresh foods and bakery, the company's food development team [image-nocss] has been working more than a year to create a ciabatta recipe that was consistent with true European artisan breads.

Technically, artisan breads are hearth-baked one at a time so each one comes out a little differently, Klavon said. Our challenge was to create a more consistent product without losing the true European artisan qualities.

Those qualities include a moist, dense bread with a chewy crust. To retain those characteristics without the bread becoming dry in a very short time, 7-Eleven had to turn to a European ingredient company to perfect its recipe. The special ingredients along with a unique baking process are what help retain moisture in the bread, which translates into a softer, fresher tasting product, Klavon said. Our ciabatta recipe is exclusive to 7-Eleven. You won't be able to find it anywhere else.

Why is ciabatta hot? Kathy Hasty, sandwich category manager for 7-Eleven, attributes it to the natural evolution of food trends in America. Many gourmet-style foods begin in trendy and exclusive restaurants and gradually transition to food-service establishments that serve mainstream consumers, Hasty said. As the product becomes recognized and popularized, you will see it available in more settings.

Hasty likens ciabatta to peasant breads. There really are no breads created for peasants, nor is it indigenous to any one European country, she said. You can find Italian peasant breads, French, Portuguese and others. It really describes a type of breadrustic, crusty and dense.

7-Eleven will be introducing other varieties of ciabatta sandwiches throughout the year.