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How to Make an Egg Wash

Today’s Best Recipe is  Egg Wash. Learn about the different types of egg wash and how they affect baked goods.

Many recipes call for egg wash.

It’s a mixture of an egg and a liquid.

It is commonly used on a pastry or bread before it goes into the oven to bake.

It is used to seal pastry, add sheen, and produce golden color.

Egg wash is pretty general as there are several types of egg wash, each creating its own result.

The ratio is usually no more than 1 tbsp liquid per egg, but recipes do vary, so always follow the recipe’s directions.

Why Use an Egg Wash?

Egg wash is used for several reasons in cooking:

  1. Appearance: Egg wash gives a beautiful golden or shiny finish to baked goods, enhancing their visual appeal. It helps create an attractive crust on pastries, bread, and other baked items, making them more enticing and appetizing.
  2. Browning: When exposed to heat in the oven, the proteins and sugars present in the egg wash undergo a Maillard reaction, resulting in a desirable golden-brown color. This browning adds depth of flavor and improves the overall appearance of the dish.
  3. Crust Texture: The proteins in the egg wash can contribute to the formation of a crisp and slightly glossy crust on pastries and bread. This creates a pleasant contrast with the soft interior of the baked goods.
  4. Sealing and Binding: When making stuffed pastries or sealing the edges of pie crusts, an egg wash acts as an adhesive, helping to seal the layers together. It prevents the filling from leaking out during baking and helps maintain the shape of the baked item.
  5. Breading Adhesion: For recipes that involve coating food items with breadcrumbs or flour, an egg wash acts as a binding agent. It helps the breading adhere to the surface of the food, ensuring a more even and crispy coating when frying or baking.
  6. Flavor Enhancement: Egg wash can add a subtle richness and flavor to certain dishes, complementing the other ingredients used. Additionally, you can customize the egg wash by adding spices, herbs, or other seasonings to infuse the baked goods with additional taste.

It’s important to note that while egg wash is commonly used, it’s not essential for every recipe. Depending on dietary restrictions or personal preferences, alternative options like milk, non-dairy milk, or specialized egg substitutes can be used as substitutes for egg wash in certain recipes.

What is an Egg Wash?

In cooking, an egg wash refers to a mixture of beaten eggs that is used as a glaze or coating for various baked goods. It is commonly used to enhance the appearance, texture, and flavor of pastries, bread, and other dishes.

To make an egg wash, you typically beat one or more eggs together until the yolks and whites are well combined. Sometimes, a small amount of water, milk, cream, or other liquids may be added to the beaten eggs to thin out the mixture or adjust the consistency.

Egg wash serves multiple purposes depending on the desired outcome:

  1. Glazing: When brushed onto baked goods before they go into the oven, egg wash creates a shiny, golden-brown crust. This is particularly common for pastries like pie crusts, bread rolls, and croissants.
  2. Binding: Egg wash can act as an adhesive to help ingredients stick together. For example, when making stuffed pastries, the edges can be brushed with egg wash to seal them shut.
  3. Coating: Some recipes call for dipping food items, such as chicken or fish, in egg wash before coating them in breadcrumbs or flour. This helps the breading adhere to the food and promotes even browning during frying or baking.

Additionally, egg wash can be flavored or enhanced with other ingredients, such as salt, sugar, spices, or herbs, to add extra taste or visual appeal to the finished product.

It’s important to note that people with dietary restrictions or allergies to eggs should avoid using egg wash and can explore alternative options like milk, non-dairy milk, or specialized egg substitutes, depending on the recipe.

egg wash with pastry brush


Egg Wash Types:

The egg will be the star ingredient no matter which type of egg wash, but the amount of egg or the liquid it is mixed with will yield different results. 

Basic egg wash recipe:

  1. Crack an egg into a small bowl and beat it thoroughly with a fork.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of water and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Whisk until combined.
  3. Brush the egg wash onto the surface of your pastry.

Other Egg Wash Recipes

The Only Egg:

Whisk one egg to create the darkest golden brown with a medium sheen.

 If you want to avoid a dark color, apply 10 minutes before you remove the baked good from the oven.

The Only Yolk:

Separate the egg white from the yolk and then whisk the yolk. This will produce a deep golden brown with a good sheen.

Apply this one 10 minutes before you remove the baked good from the oven to avoid browning it too much.

The Only Whites:

Want a paler-baked good and incredible sheen? 

Whisk only the egg white. 

It’s most commonly used to create a liquid-tight barrier between the crust and the filling on a blind-baked pie

Use it also to help sugar stick to pastry, like pie.

The Egg and Water:

This is probably the most common egg wash.

Egg whisked with water will create a golden brown finish with a medium shine.

The Egg with Milk

Whisking eggs with milk or cream will create a light golden brown finish and a fair shine.

The Milk Wash

This one leaves the eggs out.

It’s commonly used on some pies and top of biscuits.

It gives a shimmer without adding the browning of the baked good.

Pastry Brushes:

Silicone pastry brushes are often used because they can be cleaned easily and are dishwasher safe.

A natural bristle brush can also be used, but the bristles may be more challenging to clean after an egg wash.

How to Clean the Pastry Brush:

Cleaning a pastry brush after using egg wash is relatively simple.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Remove Excess Egg Wash: Scrape off any excess egg wash from the pastry brush using a spatula or the edge of a bowl. Be gentle to avoid damaging the bristles.
  2. Rinse with Warm Water: Hold the brush under warm running water to remove as much of the remaining egg wash as possible. Use your fingers to gently massage and rinse the bristles.
  3. Soap and Water: Apply a small amount of mild dish soap to the bristles of the pastry brush. Gently rub the bristles together or use your fingers to work the soap into the bristles, removing any residual egg wash.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the brush under warm water again to remove the soap. Make sure to rinse until all the soap suds are gone.
  5. Shake Off Excess Water: Shake the brush gently to remove excess water from the bristles. Alternatively, you can pat the bristles lightly with a clean towel or paper towel to absorb the moisture.
  6. Air Dry: Place the pastry brush in a well-ventilated area with the bristles facing upwards or hang it up using a hook or utensil holder. Allow the brush to air dry completely before storing it. This will help prevent any moisture buildup or potential mold growth.

It’s important to clean the pastry brush promptly after use to prevent the egg wash from drying and hardening on the bristles. By following these steps, you should be able to effectively clean your pastry brush and keep it in good condition for future use.

woman egg washing croissants

Egg Wash Application

To apply egg wash, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the Egg Wash: In a small bowl, crack the desired number of eggs and whisk them together until the yolks and whites are well combined. You can also add a small amount of liquid like water, milk, or cream to thin out the mixture if needed. Optionally, you can season the egg wash with salt, sugar, spices, or herbs to add extra flavor.
  2. Choose a Brush: Select a clean pastry brush with soft bristles. Using a brush specifically designated for food use is preferable to avoid cross-contamination of flavors.
  3. Brush the Surface: Lightly dip the pastry brush into the egg wash, ensuring the bristles are evenly coated. Hold the brush over the bowl for a moment to allow any excess egg wash to drip off.
  4. Apply the Egg Wash: Gently and evenly brush the surface you want to glaze or coat with the egg wash. This can include the top of pastries, bread, or any other food item you want to give a shiny or golden-brown appearance. Apply a thin, even layer, making sure to cover the entire surface. If needed, you can apply multiple coats of egg wash, allowing each layer to dry slightly before applying the next.
  5. Clean Up: After applying the egg wash, promptly clean the pastry brush following the cleaning instructions mentioned earlier.
  6. Proceed with Recipe: Once you have applied the egg wash, you can proceed with the recipe as instructed, whether it involves baking, frying, or any other cooking method.

Remember that egg wash is versatile, and the desired effect may vary depending on the recipe. Adjust the thickness of the egg wash and the number of coats applied to achieve the desired level of shine, color, and texture on your baked goods.

How Long Does Egg Wash Last?

Egg wash is best used immediately after preparing it. Storing egg wash for an extended period of time is not recommended due to food safety concerns.

This is made with raw eggs, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria such as Salmonella if left at room temperature or stored improperly. To avoid the risk of foodborne illness, it’s important to handle egg wash safely and discard any leftover wash that has been sitting out for more than 2 hours.

If you have leftover and you wish to save it for a short time, you can cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. However, keep in mind that the quality and consistency of the  wash may be compromised, and it may not perform as well as freshly made egg wash. Before using refrigerated egg wash, give it a good stir to recombine any separated liquids.

It’s generally recommended to make only the amount of egg wash that you need for immediate use to ensure the best results and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

An easy way to use the egg wash is by adding it when making scrambled eggs

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