Using egg washes and glazes
Many pastries are coated with egg wash or glaze before baking. There are different mixture however that give you slightly different results. Egg washes are primarily used to give you an appealing appearnce to the finished pasties.
Egg wash types
Whole-egg egg wash
This is the most common egg-wash being used.
TIP: Here's a little trick to when using whole-egg wash. Add 1% of salt in the whole-egg egg wash in order to give the pastry a more golden color when baked. So if you are using one egg, add 1/2g of salt. (will need an accurate scale for small quantities). The salt acts also as a preservative extending the storage life of the egg-wash in the refrigerator.
If you leave the egg-wash over night it will be more liquidy for easy application. If you need to use the egg-wash immediately, it would be a good idea to straing the egg-wash before using. This would remove the umbilical cord and any pieces of egg shell that may have fallen into the mixture accidentally. Is this done in pastry shops? No, but if a pastry shop uses whole egg wash, it comes in a box ready-made, so they don't have to strain it.
Egg-yolk egg wash
Using egg-yolk egg wash gives a firmer and darker color end result than using whole-egg egg wash. Egg-yolk egg wash can be used when making cookies and certain cakes.
Using just milk or buttermilk would give a matt look to the finished product.
Using milk with a bit of sugar or salt is usually applied before proofing to prevent a crust from forming. Once proofing is done, then you can apply the whole-egg or egg-yolk egg wash (depending on the desired final result) just before baking.
Whole-egg/water or egg-yolk/water wash
You can use this wash, if the item you are baking needs to be baked for more than 20 minutes, in order to slow down the burning of the egg-wash itself.
A mist of water/sugar solution before baking can aid in achieving a shinny crust.
Other egg wash variations
Sometimes other ingredients can be added to an egg wash to give it a even darker appearance. You can use anything that has a desired color for the end result. For example coffee extract for darker result.
Tips and tricks
It is always better to use two thin layers of egg was than one thick one. Excess egg wash dripping from the pastry onto the sheetpan may prevent proper rising of the pastry.
Pastry items that require glazing
Here's some example of pastry items that require glazing using egg wash;
- Cream puff pastry (Pate a choux)
- Pie doughs
- Tart doughs (2 thin coats applied)
- Puff pastry dough (2 thin coats applied)
- Danish (optional)
- Shortbread cookies
- Turnovers (apple, etc)
- Viennese pastry doughs; brioche, milk bread, etc.
Storing egg wash
Egg washes should be stored in a metal container in the refrigerator (2-5deg.C). Salted whole-egg and salted egg-yolk washes can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days maximum. Egg washes with milk should not be kept for for than 2 days.
TIP Never leave a pastry brush in the eggs wash, because it may rust and spoil the egg wash.