In the culinary arts, the term “EGG WASH” refers to a mixture of beaten eggs and some sort of liquid brushed onto bread and other baked goods before baking. Egg wash for bread and other baked goods makes your food pretty!
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 it and then find a recipe to make one.
Let me teach you the beautiful things egg wash can do to your bread, 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.
Why Use Egg Wash?
The three main reasons egg wash is used are appearance, texture, and structure.
How does it add color to the pastry? It’s simple. The proteins and fat in the egg yolk and egg white promote browning and sheen. When you brush it onto the pastry, it magically browns when it is baked in the oven. Pastry without the wash appears pale and dry looking.
Texture and Structure
This egg mixture sometimes 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 glue to seal two pastry edges together.
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 heavy cream can also be used in the mixture.
Different Types of Egg Wash
Variations in the mixture will have different effects on your baked goods. The chart below illustrates what different mixtures do for your baked goods and when to use a certain combination.
|What To Use It On
|Whole Egg & Milk
|Pies and pastries
|Whole Egg & Water
|Puff pastry and bread
|Egg White Only
|Very Light Browning
|Sealing pastry edges
|Egg White & Milk
|Sprinkle with sugar on pie dough for sparkle
How to Make and Use Egg Wash
It’s very simple to make an egg wash. All you 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 lets you spread the wash thinly 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.
- Whisk the egg and liquid together well to ensure it distributes evenly.
- Brush on the egg wash evenly so that it isn’t streaky or too thick. Don’t miss areas, or it will show up after baking.
- Apply egg wash right before your baked goods go into the oven. If it sits on them too long, the dough can become soggy.
- Store leftover egg wash sealed tightly in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- 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.
Recipes That Use Egg Wash
- Classic Chicken Pot Pie – used to give the pie crust a nice golden brown color.
- Broccoli-Cauliflower Galette – applied to puff pastry to help it brown.
- 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.
If you don’t have any baked goods to brush it on within the three days, it is stored in the fridge; you can add the mixture to your scrambled eggs.
Yes, for added flavor, you may add salt to the mixture.
No. In fact, the mixture could speed up browning, causing it to burn.
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.