5 Best Substitutes You Can Use Instead of Brioche Bread

Brioche is a rich buttery bread. It combines slightly sweet and rich buttery flavor with a soft and tender texture, making it a breakfast favorite. You can do so much with brioche bread, but my two favorite foods are french toast and bread pudding loaded with nuts and warm spices. However, if you can’t find a fresh loaf or just aren’t a fan of it, I know a few good brioche substitutes.

Brioche Bread Substitute

But before we get to that, let’s do a cursory review of brioche bread.

What is brioche bread?

Brioche is a bread of French origin whose high egg and butter content gives it a rich and tender crumb.

How is it different from regular bread?

Brioche bread is a very ‘rich’ bread. Whereas traditional breads are made from nothing more than water, flour, salt, and yeast, brioche contains plenty of eggs, milk, and butter making it very ‘rich.’ The high fat and protein contents of these ingredients also add to its value.

What does it taste like?

Brioche bread is a soft, moist, buttery bread often braided and baked as a loaf. However, you can also find brioche rolls and buns being sold. Brioche bread tastes just like a croissant but so much easier to make!

Is it good for my health?

Brioche is basically France’s attempt at dressing butter up in a bread costume. It’s just butter with enough flour mixed in it to create the semblance of a carbohydrate. A brioche hamburger or sandwich bun will likely run you 300 or more calories.

What can I use instead of Brioche bread?

5 Best Substitutes You Can Use Instead of Brioche Bread

I’ve run out of brioche numerous times and each time I tried a new replacement. Here are my five favorite brioche alternatives:

1. Challah Bread

Challah, which loosely translates to loaf or cake, is like a sister to brioche bread. It is a staple of Jewish cuisine and is often braided before baking. Challah bread is also very buttery in taste. However, most challah bread is not made with dairy products despite its taste.

Brioche Bread Substitute - Challah Bread

Ingredients Compared to Brioche

Similar to brioche, challah is made with flour, sugar, yeast, and eggs. A small amount of oil, typically canola or any other vegetable oil, is used too. However, due to religious reasons, challah bread doesn’t contain any dairy products. Therefore, it is a great option for lactose intolerants and those on a vegan diet.

Texture Compared to Brioche

Challah is not quite as dense as challah. However, it is still dry enough to absorb some liquid without losing structure. Personally, I found it a suitable brioche substitute for french toast and bread pudding.

Taste Compared to Brioche

Concerning taste, challah bread is a little less buttery. However, apart from this, there isn’t any difference in taste. We can owe this to the large number of eggs that make up either bread.  


2. Hawaiian Bread

Another great substitute for brioche bread is Hawaiian bread. Hawaiian bread is very similar to Portuguese sweet bread. Some believe them to be the same thing with different names. Regardless, Hawaiian bread shares many properties with brioche.

Brioche Bread Substitute - Hawaiian Bread

Both brioche and Hawaiian bread are enriched with butter and eggs. However, unlike brioche, there is less fat and more sugar in Hawaiian bread. Moreover, it also contains potato flour which keeps the bread moist for days after baking.

Ingredients Compared to Brioche

Like brioche, Hawaiian has eggs, sugar, butter, and flour. However, some varieties also obtain pineapple juice and potato flour. Therefore, this substitute doesn’t work for all recipes.

Texture Compared to Brioche

Hawaiian bread and rolls are soft, fluffy, and tender to touch. Thus, they can retain a lot of liquid, making them an excellent substitute for brioche in sweet recipes like French Toast or bread pudding.

Taste Compared to Brioche

In terms of taste, the only thing that sets Hawaiian bread apart is its extra sweetness. Moreover, added juices like pineapple juice give it a slightly tropical taste.


3. Portuguese Sweet Bread (Massa Sovada)

Portuguese sweet bread is to Christmas what turkey is to thanksgiving. A similar bread, called Folar da Pascoa, is also baked on Easter.

Brioche Bread Substitute - Portuguese Sweet Bread (Massa Sovada)

It’s typically baked as a round loaf or rolls. In Portugal, it’s enjoyed plain or with butter.

Ingredients Compared to Brioche

Similar to brioche, Portuguese Sweet Bread is made with eggs, yeast, sugar, flour, and milk. However, other varieties of Portuguese Sweet Bread also contain lemon or vanilla, which is not an ingredient used in brioche.

Texture Compared to Brioche

Portuguese Sweet Bread tends to be tender and fluffy. However, it is also fairly sturdy. Since it is a sweet bread, you can use it for french toast and bread pudding. Just remember to decrease the amount of sugar/ sweeteners you add.

Taste Compared to Brioche

As its name hints, Portuguese Sweet Bread is a lot sweeter than brioche. Therefore keep this in mind when using it as a substitute for brioche.


4. Pullman Loaf (Sandwich Loaf, Pain De Mie, or Pan Bread)

The Pullman loaf, known by the French as Pain de Mie or crustless loaf, is a bread made from wheat flour, water, salt, sugar, shortening, and yeast. Although it is generally made, sold, sliced, and packaged in supermarkets at an industrial level, you can easily bake it at home too.

Brioche Bread Substitute - Pullman Loaf

Pain de mie is usually baked in rectangular covered pans. This ensures the characteristic Pullman loaf shape as the cover stops the bread from rising completely, resulting in a fine and compact crumb.

Ingredients Compared to Brioche

Just like brioche, Pain de Mie also contains flour, yeast, sugar, butter, eggs, and milk. So they have a similar taste. However, it is milkier and less buttery than brioche. 

Texture Compared to Brioche

The Pain de Mie is lighter, fluffier and less dense than brioche. But if you keep the slices thick enough, this problem will be solved too. Even so, Pullman loaf works sufficiently well for preparing French toast but not entirely well as brioche for recipes like bread pudding.

Taste Compared to Brioche

The soft and crumbly texture of the Pullman loaf is made yet more tempting by its versatile flavor profile. It tastes strangely neutral when compared with the eggy richness of brioche.

Therefore, remember to be a little generous with your spices or sweeteners when using them as a substitute. The shape and thickness of Pain de Mie make it ideal for making the classic French sandwich croque-monsieur.


5. Baguette

The word baguette was first used in 1920. It was derived from the Latin root baculum, meaning stick or staff, which later became the Italian word bacchetto.

Brioche Bread Substitute - Baguette

Baguettes were first baked as long, wide loaves of bread. However, a 1920 law thwarted workers from beginning work before 4 AM, making it impossible for bakers to finish making this bread in time for breakfast.

Thus, they improvised by giving baguettes their characteristic long, thin shape to hasten the baking process. The French bakers baked it in steam ovens, which were first brought to Paris by August Zang, an Austrian entrepreneur credited for the invention of baguettes by some French sources.

Ingredients Compared to Brioche

Similar to brioche, baguettes contain flour, yeast, and salt. However, they don’t contain eggs or butter, which takes away the rich taste we love in brioche. 

Taste Compared to Brioche

Unlike brioche, which is rich and buttery, baguettes are lightly salted. You can detect a hint of toast-like flavor. They are neither sour nor do they taste like whole wheat.

Texture Compared to Brioche

The texture and flavor of a perfect baguette can recast any sandwich into a gourmet meal. Moreover, baguettes are flexible; they can be turned into bruschettas, croutons, or garlic bread. You can also use them for mopping up sauces or simply dip them in olive oil and enjoy them as a snack.


Frequently Asked Question

Is it better to make bread with milk or water?
Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. I prefer milk as it produces a softer loaf. This is because of the milk fat content, which, by the way, also gives the bread a richer flavor. Moreover, bread made with milk browns more quickly than bread made with water, as the lactose caramelizes due to high heat.
Why are brioche buns so expensive?
Brioche bread is expensive because of its upped ingredients. Butter, eggs, milk, and sugar are not usually used in bread, so that is where the extra expense comes from. However, with the help of a good brioche bread recipe, you can easily make it at home and cut down on extra costs.
What is the difference between a brioche bun and a regular bun?
A brioche bun is very soft, buttery, fluffy, and tender. However, unlike regular buns, they are very high in carbs and fat. This makes them a less ideal option to regular buns.



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