In the culinary arts, the term “EGG WASH” refers to a mixture of beaten eggs and some sort of liquid brushed onto pastry dough before baking.
I never really knew how important an egg wash could be when making anything with pastry dough until after I used it for the first time. Honestly, I had to stop in the middle of a recipe to search for what it was and then find a recipe so that I could make one.
Let me teach you the beautiful things it can do to your pastries and baked goods.
What’s An Egg Wash?
In the culinary arts, the term “EGG WASH” refers to a mixture of beaten eggs and some sort of liquid brushed onto food, such as pastry, before baking to add a golden color and sheen to the cooked pastry.
- For Appearance: How does it add color to pastry? It’s simple. The proteins and fat within both the egg yolk and white promote browning and sheen. When you brush it onto the pastry, and it magically browns when it is baked in the oven. Pastry without the wash appears pale and dry looking.
- For Texture and Structure: At times this egg mixture acts as a barrier to the bottom of a pie crust before the filling goes in to help prevent it from becoming soggy. It can act as a sort of glue to seal two edges of pastry together.
- Variations: If you want to brown without sheen, only use the egg white instead of the whole egg. Click HERE to learn more about how different mixtures can do different things to your pastry.
What is the Ratio for an Egg Wash Mixture?
Typically a basic egg wash recipe is a 1:1 ratio, meaning only one egg per tablespoon of cold liquid. Water is the most common liquid, but milk or cream can also be used in the mixture.
How to Make and Use Egg Wash
It’s very simple to make an egg wash. All you have to do is blend the egg and water with a whisk or fork.
The best way to apply an egg wash to your pastry is with a pastry brush. A brush allows you to spread the wash in a nice thin layer over the pastry dough.
You can find a pastry brush just about anywhere that sells kitchen utensils. I have even seen these brushes on the grocery store aisles. I prefer natural bristles over silicone pastry brushes. Just remember to keep your brush clean! Wash the brush in soapy hot water immediately after each use, so there is no threat of salmonella.
Recipes That Use It
- Classic Chicken Pot Pie – used to give the pie crust a nice golden brown sheen.
- Broccoli-Cauliflower Galette – applied to puff pastry to help browning.
- Easy Mini Cherry Pies – acts as a glue and helps to brown the pastry dough.
- Mushroom Wellingtons – applied to puff pastry to help turn it golden brown.
- Use caution when using puff pastry. Drips of egg wash in unwanted areas can glue the layers together and prevent the pastry from puffing when it bakes.
- It can seal up slits. If you need to score or cut slits in the top of pie or bread, apply the egg wash before cutting, or it may seal the slits closed.
I hope learning about an egg wash helps your pastries become appetizing and golden brown!
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a small bowl, add the water and egg; whisk until well incorporated.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the egg mixture onto pastry dough.
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