Baker Bettie

Egg Wash for Baking

An egg wash is a mixture of egg and water that is used to brush on top of breads and pastries before baking to give them a shiny, golden brown finish.

A tray of yeast rolls that have a deep golden brown and shiny appearance from the egg wash that was brushed on them

What is an Egg Wash?

In baking, many recipes call for an egg wash to be brushed on the baked good before it goes into the oven. The purpose of this is to give the final product a golden brown color that is slightly shiny.

An egg wash is made simply by whisking together an egg with about a tablespoon of water. Most baker’s don’t actually measure the amount of water that is whisked in, they just eyeball it until it looks like it is the right consistency.

You want to make sure that the egg white and yolk are completely incorporated and thin enough to easily brush on your dough with a pastry brush.

What is it Used on?

Brushing egg wash on a pan of scones with a pastry brush

Typically egg washes are used on pastries, like a danish or pie crust, or on enriched bread, like soft dinner rolls or sandwich bread. It is also sometimes used as a barrier on a pie crust before the filling goes in to help prevent a soggy bottom.

The main purpose of brushing the egg on your baked good before baking is appearance. If you see it in a recipe, it is almost always optional and will not affect the final texture or flavor of your baked good- only the appearance.

If you look at a baked good side by side with and without an egg wash, the one that did not get brushed before baking will look more dull or rustic. The one that did get brushed will have a brighter golden color. It tends to look a bit more professional.

TIP: Make sure that the consistency of the egg wash is fluid before brushing it on the baked good. If there are clumps of yolk that did not get incorporated fully in with the white, it can leave a blotchy look to your final product.

Is there a Substitute?

The best substitute for an egg wash that I have found is using oil. The oil will help the baked good get a nice golden brown color. However, be aware, that it won’t have as much shine as it does with an egg.

How to Store

If you don’t use all of your egg wash for your bake, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. I often just throw it into my scrambled eggs the next day. But if you will be baking again in a few days, then you will have it ready to go!

Brushing egg wash on top of a scone with a pastry brush

Basic Egg Wash

Yield: 1/4 Cup
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

This is a basic egg wash that can be used to brush on scones, pie crusts, breads, and pastries.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Combine the egg and the water together and whisk vigorously until well combined and very smooth. You can add a bit more water if needed to thin out.
  2. Brush on top of your baked goods before baking.
  3. If you have leftover egg wash, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. I typically just throw any leftover into my scrambled eggs the next day.

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