The Real Difference Between Challah And Brioche

If you have ever searched for the best French toast recipes, then you might have seen both challah and brioche breads mentioned in a smattering of those recipes. Those of you who have tried both kinds of bread before might have noticed that they taste remarkably similar and have a similar crumb or texture inside. While both breads are a lot alike, there is a major distinction between the two types of loaves. 

The most important distinction is likely that challah bread is a part of Jewish tradition. It's a kosher bread, meaning that it is made without any dairy, such as butter or milk, so that the challah can be eaten with all meals (via MyRecipes). Challah is made with just eggs, flour, sugar, yeast, water, and salt. Once the dough is made, it's often braided into a long strand, though it is sometimes made into a round. Finally, the loaf is topped with an egg wash to give the dark brown exterior a nice shiny finish. When you break challah bread open to eat on its own or in another recipe, you'll find a yellowish color and a light and airy texture (via Chowhound).

Brioche is made with a lot of butter

While both breads are rich yeasted breads, brioche is French and much richer than challah. They share similar textures, both inside and the crust, but brioche is made with plenty of butter. The butter helps to give the bread an even lighter, fluffier texture and a sweeter flavor — almost like a hybrid of bread and pastry, really.

Brioche is made with many of the same ingredient as challah — eggs, flour, and sometimes sugar– but it also includes butter, milk, and cream, which means the bread is not suitable for all meals if you're concerned with keeping kosher. In France, where it originated, brioche is often eaten plain or with butter and jam. It can, however, be made with mix-ins like fruit or nuts. Sometimes brioche is also used to make sweet pastry-like buns or rolls. It's an incredibly versatile bread that can be both sweet or savory.

The next time you're looking for a light bread to amp up a recipe, consider challah and brioche. Just note that brioche will certainly be richer than challah, thanks to its butter content.