That is not brioche.

We make challah burger rolls in a city full of restaurants and folks that like brioche burger rolls. Today I did a little research about what are in these very popular brioche rolls we are regularly being compared to. Here is what I found (compliments of their website):

Lebus Brioche - Enriched Flour, Water, Sugar, Margarine, Eggs, Soy Oil , Salt, Yeast, Malted Barley Flour, Ascorbic Acid, Butter, Corn Flour, Annatto, Turmeric, Sodium Alginate, Sunflower Lecithin, Canola Oil

Wild Flour Bakery Challah - King Arthur Special Patent Bread Flour, Eggs, Sugar, Salt,Soybean Oil, Water, and Yeast

Wild Flour Bakery Brioche - King Arthur Special Patent Bread Flour, Eggs, Butter, Water, Sugar, Salt, and Yeast (we only make this in pullman style)

Kinda crazy that there is more margarine than butter, but the biggest differences are the types of ingredients, added stabilizers, conditioners and coloring agents. Here are some things to note:
- Enriched flour is refined flour that Iron, Vitamin B, and sometimes Calcium are added back into. Enriched flour is not absorbed by the body as wheat or a grain, in which case your body could use the energy slowly and effectively, but as a starch.
- Sodium alginate is a stabilizer. It makes the dough less sticky and tougher which is ideal for commercially cut and rounded rolls to make it more suited for machine mixing, cutting, and rolling.
- Sunflower lecithin is a conditioner to keep the bread moist and give an added creamy, smooth mouth feel.
- Annatto is a food coloring, and although it is natural has been known to have some of the same negative side effects of artificial food coloring.
- Ascorbic acid is a conditioner that strengthens the gluten and gives the dough more volume. This is common in commercial bakeries that may over/under mix or over/under proof and over/under bake. It makes the dough more forgiving of mistreatment.
- Not sure why they use canola AND soy oil. I am guessing a price issue, as canola is the cheapest oil and the worst health wise. The biggest issue with soy oil is the GMO issue.
- The corn flour is also a mystery. The best I can figure is it is used as a filler, binder and thickener in cookie, pastry and meat industries. No idea why you would need that brioche or any yeasted bread. In the US, we call that cornstarch.
All that to say, I always find this sort of comparison and research interesting. We are a small artisan bakery and we don't use ingredients that the bread doesn't call for to alter it in any way (ie make it bigger, last longer, feel softer, or compensate for poor treatment of the dough). We just make real bread really well, and that is what we enjoy doing.

Laura Yaghoobian