How to Make and Use Egg Wash?
To egg wash or not to egg wash. That is the question, and here’s the answer. Give your baking treats the loveliest glossy look with this quick egg wash guide.
Using an egg wash is a pro move that can elevate your baking projects from good to great. All pastry chefs and bakers use an egg wash from time to time, and you can tell.
Here’s all you need to know about egg wash, when and how to use it. This might be an easy technique, but it’s a game-changer.
What Is Egg Wash?
An egg wash combines beaten eggs, sometimes with a splash of water or milk. Still, the apparently simple concoction can change how a pastry looks significantly. By applying a thin egg wash coating, you can add a golden, glossy look to bread or any other flour-based baking treat, whether sweet or savory. Of course, the egg to water or milk ratio matters, meaning not all egg washes are the same.
Also, there are several uses for an egg wash, and they’re not all about the looks. Sure, everyone loves glossy bread, but an egg wash can also give integrity to your bake — we’ll talk about that in a second.
Let’s talk about the egg wash, its uses, recipe and why it works. If you’re not using it in your baking projects, you’ve been missing out, but don’t worry. After reading this, you’ll be an expert. Let’s get started!
How To Make Egg Wash?
A reliable egg wash recipe typically calls for a 1:1 ratio between beaten eggs and water or milk/cream. This runny egg wash is easy to brush and spread and produces beautiful results — glossy bread crusts every time.
Still, you can always use more eggs in your egg wash recipe if you want a darker look. Experiment with adding only two tablespoons of liquid for every egg and see how your bread looks. It will be darker, for sure.
To make an egg wash, beat the egg, and incorporate the water or milk one splash at a time while mixing. Over-mixing is not an issue with egg washes, but you want to ensure you don’t add too much liquid, or your egg wash won’t work as expected.
You might wonder, should you use water or milk for your egg wash? It depends. Pastry chefs and home bakers use water-based egg washes to give a brown look to bakes. On the other hand, milk-based washes create a golden-brown crust with a characteristic shine. What finish are you looking for? Glossiness or color?
Milk (and cream) have sugar, although it’s not the same type of sugar you use to sweeten things. Still, these sugar molecules caramelize when heated. A water-based egg wash does not contain sugar but protein. And although the protein in the egg also promotes browning, there’s a significant difference between what you get when baking with a protein wash (egg & water) and sugars (egg & milk/cream).
How To Use an Egg Wash?
To use an egg wash, ensure your bread or baking treat is ready to hit the oven. That means you’ve preheated the oven for at least 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to apply an egg wash to the dough and let it sit, as the water’s moisture will break down the complex molecular structure in the dough.
Apply your egg wash and bake. Don’t overdo it either; a thin egg wash layer is enough to get consistent results. Too much egg wash can indeed give your bread an egg-like flavor.
An egg wash is more than a way to give color and a glossy look to bread. You can also use it when baking pies. Apply the egg wash over the pie crust before pouring your pie filling to create a protective layer that will prevent the crust from getting soggy.
And here’s another tip. If you’re scoring the dough with a knife, like when making a loaf, apply egg wash before cutting to prevent the wash from finding its way into the bread. Here’s when and how to use different egg washes and what to expect from each.
Egg white only. Use this type of egg wash to get a slight browning with almost no shine.
Egg yolk only. Use this type of egg wash to get a more intense browning with little shine.
Egg with water. Use the typical egg wash to get an even browning and a medium gloss.
Egg with milk/cream. You’ll get the browning and the glossiness. This type of egg wash creates the most noticeable results.
Remember that the egg to water or dairy ratio also matters, meaning there are dozens of different types of egg wash. You’ll have to experiment a little to find the right ingredients and proportion for the results you’re after.
What Are The Substitutes for Egg Wash?
Sometimes you can’t use egg for an egg wash, but you still want your bake to have a golden-brown color or a glossy look. In that case, these egg wash alternatives can help-
Whether making vegan bread or sharing your baking treat with someone allergic to eggs, the best egg wash substitutes include oil, non-dairy milk and butter. Most of the time, a combination of these will work best.
Combine canola oil or any other neutral oil with a milk alternative, such as almond or soy milk, to create a reliable egg-free wash. Use melted butter instead of oil if you don’t mind using dairy.
Oil and milk, oil and a milk alternative, butter and milk or butter and vegan milk; these are all good alternatives. Again, you’ll have to find the right one for you, as the right wash depends on the type of food you’re baking, the temperature and the time in the oven.
Egg Wash is Your Best Friend!
Now you know that not all types of egg wash are the same. The worse part? Most baking recipes don’t tell you what proportion of egg and liquid to use. This shouldn’t represent an obstacle, but an opportunity.
Experiment with different ingredients and ratios and find the right type of egg wash for your project. You’ll soon find a recipe you’re comfortable with but know that you can change it to get different results; that’s the best part. Making an egg wash is a creative endeavor! How do you make your egg wash? Are you all about the glossy look or the golden color?
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