The term ‘egg wash’ in the culinary arts refers to a mixture of beaten eggs and some sort of liquid that is brushed onto pastry dough before baking. In this article, let’s take a deeper look at the egg wash and its uses for baking and such.
It is amazing how the most basic technique can make such a big difference. A perfect example is making and using an egg wash, which takes less than a minute. A whole egg, egg yolk, or egg white is simply mixed with a small amount of water, milk, or cream. Sometimes, a single beaten egg is also frequently used, which may be more difficult to apply evenly but will still provide a luscious, dark sheen. Bakers will then use this egg-liquid mixture to brush over baked goods such as bread or pastries before baking to help give them a strikingly golden colour and a captivating gloss.
Aside from that, bakers also use an egg wash to seal the edges of filled pastries or hand pies, as well as the adhesion of any sprinkled sugar to the dough. It really is a simple technique that elevates both sweet and savory baked goods. All the more reason to find out why people go creative with the egg wash and its uses for their baked goods, read on.
Making an Egg Wash
Making an egg wash is an amazingly simple two-step process. In a small bowl, whisk together one large egg and one tablespoon of liquid (water, milk, or cream). (Alternatively, combine one large egg white or yolk with one teaspoon of liquid.) Using a pastry brush, evenly coat the surface of the dough. Remember to bake according to the recipe in hand.
Because this technique involves raw egg, the brush should be thoroughly washed after use to avoid cross-contamination, and this technique should not be used if the recipe’s baking time is not followed. Heat is responsible for the desired browning and gloss effect.
How to Use the Egg Wash
Using an egg wash is just as straightforward as it sounds. All that is required is to evenly brush the mixture onto the baked good with a pastry brush. The key word here is “evenly,” as any pooling around the base or on the surface can not only result in an uneven appearance after baking but can also be unpleasant in terms of taste. A silicone pastry brush is preferable for easy clean-up and less concern about loose bristles from a natural pastry brush, which have the potential to shed.
Which liquid to use in an egg wash depends on how much browning and gloss you want. Consider adding more fat and protein to the mixture to increase browning and gloss. A whole egg mixed with water yields golden-brown results with some gloss, whereas a whole egg and cream yields deeply golden-brown results with a little more sheen to it.
If you are wondering whether it is better to use an egg white or an egg yolk, know that an egg white mixed with water is best for baked goods that need a nice gloss and just a touch of golden colour. In contrast, an egg yolk mixed with water produces a deep golden colour; using milk or cream will improve the colour and gloss even more.
Of course, feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The advantage of using a whole egg rather than just an egg white or an egg yolk is that it reduces food waste slightly. So, if you are only using the egg white or yolk for the egg wash, make sure to use the remaining egg in a scramble.
Downsides of Egg Wash
Naturally, when there are the ups in something, there are also the downs. The ability of egg wash to stick things together has its drawbacks. When working with puff pastry, for example, you must be careful with egg wash because if it drips onto the edges of the pastry, it can glue the layers together, preventing the pastry from puffing while baking.
Also, because egg wash is made from raw eggs, it poses a risk of salmonella transmission. Baking will kill the bacteria and make your goods item safe, but never use egg wash on an item that will not be baked. Before using the dishes and brush used to make and apply egg wash for other food preparation tasks, remember to have them thoroughly cleaned.
For Safety Measures
You must immediately wash your pastry brush with cold water after using an egg wash, as hot water will coagulate the egg wash and cause the bristles to stick together. This is especially problematic if your brush is made of natural bristles. After rinsing the brush in cold water, wash and sanitise it in hot water. When applying egg wash, a silicone pastry brush is preferable. It is a lot easier to clean as the bristles will not stick together; silicone bristles also do not absorb odours or fats like natural bristles do. As previously stated, egg wash carries the risk of salmonella, so extra precautions should be taken to avoid cross-contamination and cleanup.
Now that you know about the egg wash and its uses, let’s see your pastries become appetizing and golden brown! Nothing brings people together quite like tasty food. The aromas and flavors; the shared enjoyment of every mouthful and seeing the smile on the faces we love, it is beautiful. If you have enjoyed what you read, we have a plethora of recipes for you and baking & culinary solutions for your needs—all for you to create your next winning dish.