Although they’re both delicious yeast-based breads, challah and babka have very different textures and babka often contains the addition of raisins, nuts, or chocolate which add another level of sweetness. Challah is a traditional bread made from eggs, water, yeast, flour, sugar, and salt and is often braided and can be baked in varying shapes for different holidays. Challah is often served on the Jewish Sabbath and at many other holidays celebrations and the texture of the loaf is similar to an egg-based brioche. It also freezes well and is a great pick if you’re making several loaves at once and want to stock your freezer.
Babka is a yeast-based dough of Eastern European origin that is baked in a loaf pan and has swirls of chocolate or cinnamon. A cake-bread hybrid, babka has grown in popularity (it’s now available at Trader Joe’s for instance) and there are many variations. But the most popular is the twisted bread with ribbons of filling. Babka is sweet, buttery, and goes well with coffee for breakfast or dessert.
Try out these recipes for babka and challah for yourself and find out the differences between these two breads—with the aroma of fresh-baked bread filling your kitchen, you won’t be sorry.
This is a classic, easy challah recipe that offers step-by-step instructional photos on how to braid challah bread. Cover with egg wash and poppy seeds or sesame seeds for an added crunch. Get our Classic Challah Recipe.
This sweet babka is packed with golden and dark raisins (soak them in warm water to make sure they’re rehydrated), toasted walnuts, and cinnamon, and topped with a cinnamon glaze. Get the Raisin-Walnut Babka recipe.
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This whole wheat challah recipe adds two tablespoons of vital wheat gluten, which adds elasticity to the dough. Get the Whole Wheat Challah recipe.
When you’ve mastered the art of homemade challah, you’ll need this French toast recipe to use up your day-old slices. Serve with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar. Get our Challah French Toast recipe.
This chocolate babka recipe has cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, toasted nuts, and the surprise addition of crumbled brownie bits to add an extra decadent touch of chocolate. Get the Chocolate Babka recipe.
These mini babkas—baked in a muffin tin—are flavored with bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon, brown sugar, dark rum, honey, ground espresso, cocoa nibs, and finely ground chocolate wafer cookies for a perfect chocolate-coffee blend. Get the Chocolate Espresso Babka Muffins recipe.
If you’re looking to get creative and build on the traditional challah recipe, this rendition with pickle juice in the dough is an amazing pick for an inspired sandwich. Red pepper flakes, dill, sea salt, and minced dried garlic are added into the traditional egg wash for an extra dose of flavor. Get the Dill Pickle Challah recipe.
Related Video: Challah Bread
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