Panera Bread Adds Black Forest Ham & Gouda Melt To Toasted Baguette Line

Panera may have a reputation as a spot for comforting favorites like French onion soup, but it's fully embraced innovation, putting out a line on bakery milkshakes last fall and running out a variety of sous-vide chicken sandwiches to offer a more nutritious alternative to fried competitors. However, the biggest swing for Panera was its new line of toasted baguette sandwiches that debuted earlier this year. This new style has been such a success that Panera is adding to it a classic combination of Black Forest ham and Gouda cheese. 

According to a press release, the Black Forest Ham and Gouda Melt is the fourth offering in the toasted baguette line. The ham is topped by Panera's new "country mustard," arugula, and melted, smoked Gouda cheese, all on toasted bread. The country mustard is a blend of three mustards made specifically to complement the chain's new sandwiches. 

The Black Forest Ham and Gouda Melt will also comply with Panera's "clean food" pledge and is completely free of all artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. Loyal Panera fans who use the MyPanera program will be the first to get access to the sandwich this week before it sees a nationwide release on June 22.

The Black Forest Ham & Gouda Melt is one of two new ham sandwiches

Beyond adding to the toasted baguette line, the Black Forest Ham and Gouda Melt marks another big announcement from Panera: the return of ham to the menu. Pork fans who visited Panera the past few years may have been disappointed, as the deli staple disappeared from the chain's offerings in 2020. Part of reshaping Panera's menu has been focused on providing more plant-based options; however, the siren's song of delicious cured pork was just too strong. Along with the other toasted baguette options, this sandwich will start at $9.49. 

Panera is not only bringing pork back for its new melt but also for another sandwich, the Deli Ham. It will have the new country mustard, along with greens, tomatoes, red onions, salt, and pepper on sourdough bread. Both of these offerings will be available as part of value packs as well, including Panera's Value Duets and Family Feasts.