Challah Bread

Challah Bread Substitutes: Exploring Alternatives

Challah bread originated in 15th-century Austria and became an integral part of Jewish culture in Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Eastern Europe. This braided bread, often with three, four, or six strands, symbolizes virtues like love, truth, justice, and peace. It’s a staple for the Sabbath and holidays, traditionally made with eggs, white flour, sugar, water, yeast, and salt, brushed with egg yolk and poppy seeds.

Challah bread has evolved with modern variations such as honey, olive oil, and raisins. You can use it for dishes like French toast, sandwiches, or bread pudding. Alternatively, if you can’t find challah, you can turn to substitutes like Brioche, French baguette, Hawaiian bread, and others that provide similar flavors and textures.

Challah Bread Substitutes

Challah bread, also known as “berches” in certain Jewish communities, has deep roots. It’s a traditional Sunday bread, with dough kneaded on Thursday and baked on Friday. Challah plays a significant role in Jewish celebrations. If you’re looking for a substitute, explore these bread types:



Brioche is a good substitute for Challah bread because they both have a lot of eggs. The main difference is that brioche has butter, making it fluffy and light. Brioche is a mix of sweet and savory flavors. Unlike Challah, it’s gluten-free, so people with celiac disease can enjoy its rich taste. You can eat it plain or with chocolate spread, or jam, or use it for rolls and hamburger buns.

Hawaiian Bread

Hawaiian bread is a sweet and popular type of bread in Hawaii. It’s made with sugar, butter, eggs, and flour and sometimes includes tropical fruits like pineapple or papaya. This bread is soft, fluffy, and has a sweet and slightly tangy taste.

You can enjoy Hawaiian bread as a snack or dessert, and it’s also great for making sandwiches and breakfast burritos. Some bakeries in Hawaii even sell special Hawaiian bread loaves.

Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese sweet bread aka Hawaiian rolls due to its introduction to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants working on plantations, is crafted from ingredients like eggs, butter, flour, oil, sugar, milk, yeast, and lemon.

This round, subtly sweet bread is reminiscent of challah and brioche, thanks to its rich butter and egg content. Popular variations include broa de Mel (honey bread), broa de milho (cornbread), and broa de azeite (olive oil bread), making it a delectable substitute for challah.

French Baguette

French Baguette

A French baguette is a long, thin bread with a crusty exterior and a soft, chewy interior. It’s made from flour, water, yeast, and salt, typically with around 70% wheat flour. Bakers often craft the dough by hand, creating characteristic air holes, and the result is a crunchy outer layer with a light, fluffy center.

French Bread

French bread, distinct from the baguette, is longer, wider, and has rounded ends. Typically made from flour, salt, sugar, milk, yeast, olive oil, and water, it complements soups, stews, salads, and cheeses. French bread shares similarities with baguettes but is known for its richer, savory flavor compared to both baguettes and challah.

Italian Bread

Italian bread, from Italy, showcases a circular shape and is crafted from minimal ingredients: water, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, milk, and olive oil. With a smoky, savory flavor and short, plump, crusty loaves, it surpasses challah in savoriness but falls just short of French bread. A great alternative to Challah bread when the occasion calls for it.


It is a traditional Yemeni bread made from flour, water, salt, and yeast, baked into a large loaf. It’s a popular choice for breakfast or dinner and can have various flavors. The classic recipe uses four cups of flour and one cup of water, with the dough left to rise overnight before baking. Different regions may introduce variations with ingredients like eggs, butter, sugar, honey, cinnamon, or orange peel, resulting in various sizes and shapes of Kubaneh bread.

Pullman Loaf

A Pullman loaf, also called “pain de mie” in French, is a white sandwich bread named after the Pullman railway car coach due to its square shape. Baked in a Pullman pan, it achieves a soft, light texture and a slightly sweet taste. This versatile bread is excellent for toasting, crafting sandwiches, creating croutons, and canapés, and producing bread crumbs.

Vegan challah

Vegan challah is egg-free yet retains a soft, delightful texture like the traditional version. You can easily make it at home using flour, salt, sugar, oil, water, yeast, and some poppy or sesame seeds. A touch of maple syrup can add a lovely glaze.


Cozonac is a sweet, enriched bread popular in Romania and southeastern Europe. It’s made with flour, milk, eggs, sugar, butter, yeast, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Shaped in a spiral or knot, it can be enjoyed warm or cold and is often served with honey or jam. Filled with walnuts, poppy seeds, or fruits, it’s a tasty dessert and a great Challah bread alternative.

Whole wheat challah

Whole wheat challah is crafted from whole wheat flour, salt, olive oil, eggs, yeast, and honey. It offers a complex flavor and rich texture, packed with great health benefits due to the use of whole wheat. Compared to traditional challah, the main difference lies in the flour, making whole wheat challah a great alternative with its deep flavor and richness.

Kalach Bread

Kalach bread, also known as colac, hails from Eastern Europe. The name “kolo” comes from Old Slavonic, meaning circle or wheel, reflecting its distinct circular shape. This sweet, fluffy bread, made with flour, honey, sugar, eggs, and oil, makes a great alternative to challah bread. Enjoy it on its own or as an accompaniment.

Slovak Vanocka Bread

Slovak Vanocka bread is a cherished Christmas tradition in Slovakia. It’s typically braided or shaped into a wreath and baked. This festive bread can be enjoyed warm or cold, plain, or with accompaniments like jam, honey, or Nutella. Many Slovaks make their own Vanocka at home, but it’s also readily available in stores.

Zopf Bread

Zopf bread, a traditional German and Swiss favorite, is sweet and somewhat dense, with raisins or currants. Its distinct braided shape gives it the name “Zopf.” Typically enjoyed with butter, honey, or jam. It also comes in flavors like lemon or chocolate and can be creatively decorated.


Pulla bread aka cardamom bread in English, is a Finnish sweet cinnamon braid. It’s typically enjoyed as a dessert or for breakfast. This braid features a delectable filling of cinnamon, sugar, and butter, while the dough is prepared using milk, yeast, sugar, butter, and flour. You can also opt to add frosting or glaze for extra sweetness.


Mouna is a traditional Lebanese breakfast bread. It’s somewhat like Challah Bread and traditionally baked in a wood-fired oven, resulting in a soft, chewy texture and a subtly sweet, unique taste. Mouna bread is versatile and great for sandwiches, wraps, or snacks. Its simplicity appeals to all ages.


Kravi bread is sourdough with a unique texture. It’s dense and slightly sour, perfect for toast or sandwiches. People in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia enjoy this Balkan favorite. While it’s not common elsewhere, sourdough fans should give it a try.

Related Questions

How does Challah differ from brioche?

Challah is dairy-free and braided, while brioche contains milk, cream, and butter, giving it a rich flavor. What makes Challah unique is its deep-rooted tradition in Jewish culture, often enjoyed during Sabbath and holidays.

What makes Challah bread unique?

Challah, a traditional Jewish bread, stands out for its cultural significance during the Sabbath and holidays.

What’s the difference between Challah and Brioche French Toast?

Challah bread is rich and eggy with extra egg yolks and more sugar, while traditional French toast uses bread dipped in beaten eggs before frying.

Is Challah bread identical to egg bread?

Challah bread is a type of egg bread, but not all egg bread is Challah. It is a special egg bread for religious occasions, known for its rich flavor and soft texture.


Challah bread, a timeless favorite with numerous variations and flavors, is delicious for toasting, making sandwiches, or enjoying with jam or honey. Additionally, you can explore other bread types as substitutes for Challah and savor their unique flavors.

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