16 Best Challah Bread Substitutes For You To Try

Different Types of Challah Bread

If you have a Jewish friend or neighbor, then you might have heard about or even tasted Challah bread. Challah is an important part of Jewish celebrations. It has a glossy shine and a rich, delicious taste. 

Challah is a special kind of braided bread made using few ingredients. Its biblical reference makes it one of the oldest bread types to have been handed over to us. (We are thankful for it!).

The Challah bread is mentioned many times in the Torah (The holy book of Jews).  With its universal appeal, challah bread finds use in puddings, sandwiches, and casseroles.

But, what happens when you are craving for a quick bite of challah bread, and you are out of it? We have to sort it out with a bunch of excellent substitutes. Wondering which are those?

Some of the best challah bread substitutes are brioche, Portuguese sweet bread, French baguette, Italian bread and vegan challah.

Let us talk about challah bread in detail before we get on to its best substitutes.

Quick Peek: Challah Bread

Challah Bread

The following scribbles tell you what challah bread is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.

What Is Challah Bread?

Challah is a traditional, braided bread variety that holds a ritualistic significance in Jewish ceremonies. The word ‘Challah’ originally meant the dough kept aside as part of the offering. It also means dough offering. 

Over the years, challah became synonymous with the bread prepared using eggs, flour, yeast, sugar, and oil. Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or rolled oats can be sprinkled over them before baking.

Challah bread has many epithets; hallah, khale, chalka, kitke, to name a few.

Describing Challah Bread: Flavor and Texture

Challah bread has braided strands that look pale yellow with a rich, sweet flavor. It has a fluffy, glossy texture and an eggy flavor with a universal appeal. Apart from Jewish people, many foodies relish this bread variety often for its unique taste.

Uses of Challah Bread

As I said earlier, Challah bread is an indispensable ritualistic aspect of Jewish ceremonies. Turban challah, Schlissel challah, and challah rolls are special challah bread used in different Jewish ceremonial occasions. 

Challah bread is an ideal ingredient in French toasts, bread puddings, and casseroles. It can even be eaten alone, either toasted or with honey and jam. What is great about challah bread is that the same dough can be used to prepare pizzas. Amazing, right? 

Challah Bread on The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Challah bread can be deemed nutritious depending on the ingredients you use. You can use wheat flour and avoid using butter to reduce fat content.

Even then, challah offers tiny amounts of iron, folic acid, and riboflavin; these have vital roles in maintaining our health.

Why Should We Substitute Challah Bread?

Challah bread is a tasty delight that is healthy as well. But, in cases where you are unable to find it, you definitely need good substitutes for the same to carry on with whatever you have planned.

Did I tell you that it is quite expensive as well? There might be unfortunate times when even the grocery stores are out of challah bread. 

Also, if you are a fan of experimentation, you might want to try using alternatives to challah bread to emulate its close flavor without actually using it.

Everything necessitates finding substitutes for challah bread that are best in terms of flavor, texture, cost, and availability.

Enough with the talk on challah bread, right?. Let us not stray away from knowing about its substitutes which should come in handy.

16 Best Challah Bread Substitutes

Here are the sixteen best substitutes for challah bread.

1. Brioche

Brioche

Be it the look, texture, or taste; brioche should be your top-notch substitute for challah bread. This French bread has a rich, buttery flavor with a fluffy crumb.

The only difference between the two is that brioche has butter, which is gluten-free. You can easily swap challah bread with brioche, and you wouldn’t even know the difference.

Another great thing you can make with brioche bread is great delicious burgers. Here is a recipe for Wendy’s Dave single burger.

2. Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese sweet bread is made using egg, butter, flour, oil, sugar, milk, yeast, and lemon. It is also known as Hawaiian rolls (Portugal pals brought it to Hawaii while they worked in plantations). 

Portuguese sweet bread has a round shape with a subtle sweet flour and is enriched with lots of butter and eggs, making it similar to challah and brioche. No doubt, this can be a worthy substitute for challah bread.

Honey bread, cornbread, and olive oil bread are popular variations of Portuguese Sweet Bread.

3. French Baguette

French Baguette

French baguette is a well-known bread variety used in many cuisines. It is a long, thin loaf of bread made using wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. There is a law that restricts the usage of ingredients other than these *whoa*.

This undermines its usage after 24 hours but not its taste or flavor until then. It has a sweet taste with a chewy texture, unlike Challah. If you plan to replace Challah with a French baguette, soak it in egg and milk mixture before using it.

Want to an interesting sandwich using French baguette? Here is a recipe for Vietnamese Banh Mi for you. Do give it a try!

4. Italian Bread

Italian Bread

Italian bread is another great option for you to try as an alternative to Challah bread. Italian bread is short and plump and has a dense crumb. It uses all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable oil, and water.

Italian bread has a smoky, savory flavor, and the loaves are short, plump, and crusty in texture. Smoky how? Italian bread loaves are baked in flat stone ovens, unlike other bread loaves. This gives it a unique, smoky flavor that is quite popular.

If you don’t have Italian bread, then I have a simple solution for you. Here is the recipe for crusty rustic Italian bread.

5. Vegan Challah

Vegan Challah

Vegan challah is also known as water challah. As the name tells you, this challah variety is made without eggs. The dough is made of all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, water, and oil. 

Vegan challah nevertheless makes a great substitute for challah bread due to its soft, fluffy texture and sweet flavor. 

6. Cozonac

Cozonac

Cozonac is a Romanian sweet bread in spiral or knot shape. It is made using eggs, yeast, milk, sugar, flour, and butter. Some might use walnuts, poppy seeds, or cocoa to add the dough. There are many variations depending on the region. 

Cozonac is a special holiday bread, usually prepared during Easter, and can easily replace Challah bread. It is great as an evening snack or a tasty accompaniment to a hot tea or coffee cup.

7. French Bread

French Bread

Many assume French bread to be the same as a French baguette. But, they differ from each other in a few aspects. French bread is much wider and longer than a baguette and has a softer crust as well. To put it simply, baguette is a French bread, but not all French bread is a baguette.

French bread has a sweet taste with a hard exterior and a soft crumb. French bread is also extremely flavorful and versatile, making it one of the best alternatives for challah bread.

Want to put your French bread to good use? Here is the recipe for French bread pizza that you can try. It’s simple yet amazing!

8. Pullman Loaf

Pullman Loaf

Pullman loaf is a white sandwich bread that is shaped similar to the Pullman railway car coach and hence the name Pullman loaf. It is known as pain de mie in French which means white sandwich bread. It has a good flavor and a delicate texture.

Pullman loaf is baked in a Pullman loaf pan with a characteristic square shape. The sweet flavor and soft texture of pullmanl loaf can be used to replace challah bread in recipes.

9. Whole Wheat Challah

Whole Wheat Challah

Whole wheat challah is made using whole wheat flour, salt, olive oil, eggs, yeast, and honey. It has a complex flavor and a rich texture. Since it is made of whole wheat, it is packed with incredible health benefits as well. 

Whole wheat challah differs from traditional challah only in the type of flour that is used. Therefore, whole wheat challah becomes a considerable substitute for challah bread with a deep flavor and rich texture.

10. Kalach Bread

Kalach Bread

Kalach or colac is a type of eastern European bread. The word kolo is Old Slavonic in origin which means circle or wheel. Kalach has a characteristic circular shape, similar to a wheel.

Made using flour, honey, sugar, eggs, and oil, Kalach is a sweet bread with a soft, fluffy texture. Kalach is a great alternative to challah bread, considering its flavor and texture, and can be used as an accompaniment or as a standalone snack item.

11. Slovak Vanocka Bread

Slovak Vanocka Bread

Slovak vanocka is a special type of bread baked during Christmas in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is a sweet, braided bread made using yeast, flour, milk, sugar, eggs, and butter.

It is said that whilst making vanocka, you must think of everyone you love. (Superstitions!)

Slovak vanocka has a rich sweet flavor and a crunchy, delicate texture making it a perfect substitute for challah bread.

12. Tsoureki Bread

Tsoureki bread is a sweet bread made using flour, milk, butter, eggs, and sugar and adorned with orange zest or raisin. It comes to us all the way from Greece and is called Greek holiday bread!

The addition of mastic and mahlepi in tsoureki bread makes it distinctive from other types of bread. Tsoureki bread has a sweet flavor and delicate texture similar to challah and brioche, making it a good challah bread alternative. 

13. Zopf Bread

Zopf Bread

Butterzopf, simply known as zopf bread, is a Swiss bread variety made using flour, milk, eggs, butter, and yeast. It is a plaited bread which is baked to get a soft, golden crust. It has a distinctive appearance and texture – it is all braided loves, you see!

The braided bread zopf has an enriching flavor and a great braided texture, making it a worthy substitute for challah bread.

14. Pulla Bread

Pulla Bread

Pulla bread is a special type of bread flavored with cardamom. It is a much-loved bread variety in Finland, where it is usually consumed as a breakfast or dessert.

Pulla bread is prepared using milk, yeast, sugar, butter, cardamom, eggs, and flour. It has a sweet flavor and a rich texture. Pulla bread can be used as an alternative to challah bread due to its flavor and texture.

15. Mouna

Mouna Bread

Mouna is a type of brioche very commonly relished by the Algerian Jewish community that is made using flour, eggs, cooking oil, water, sugar, salt, anise, orange, or lemon zest. It has a rich and sweet flavor with a chewy texture similar to challah.

In fact, mouna is closely similar to challah as it is served for Shabbat and other holidays. Its texture and flavor make it a good alternative for challah bread.

16. Kubaneh Bread

Kubaneh Bread

Kubaneh bread is a well-known Yemenite Jewish bread. It is made of bread flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, salt, and water. Sometimes, honey or black cumin is added instead of sugar. It has an intense buttery flavor and a rich texture similar to croissants.

It is not easily available, but if you do get your hands on it, kubaneh can be worth trying out as a challah bread substitute. 

Short Recap

That must have taken a lot of time. But what if I help you remember the details on challah bread substitutes in a jiffy with the help of the following points? Take a look:

Flavor: The best challah bread substitutes in terms of flavor would be brioche, Portuguese sweet bread, and French baguette.

Texture: The best challah bread substitutes in terms of texture would be brioche, Portuguese sweet bread, vegan challah, and Italian bread. 

Final Musings

Challah bread has a lot to offer us; authentic taste, delicious flavor, and mouth-watering aftertaste. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of its substitutes.

When out of challah bread, confidently try out these alternatives and let me know what worked out for the best. See you around!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What bread is most similar to challah bread?

Brioche is the bread variety which is most similar to challah bread.

What makes challah different from other breads?

The dough of challah bread is enriched with oil unlike other doughs which are enriched with butter.

Is brioche sweeter than challah?

Brioche and challah are similar in many ways but brioche is slightly sweeter than challah. 

Is challah bread healthy?

Challah bread can be deemed healthy depending on the ingredients used. If oil is predominantly used, it may turn out to be rich in fat and carbohydrates. You can opt for whole wheat challah if you are health-conscious.

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