How to Egg Wash Yeast Doughs and Other Pastries

Egg Wash Adds Color and Shine

Egg Washing Dough
© Yvonne Duivenvoorden / Getty Images

An egg wash is a finishing touch for breads, rolls, pastries, cookies, and other desserts.

What Egg Wash Does for Your Baked Goods

Not only does it give your creations color and shine that enhance their visual impact, it can also act as a glue when sticking two pieces of dough together or when getting sprinkles or other sugar decorations to adhere to your baked goods.

When to Apply Egg Wash

Lightly brush egg wash on breads, rolls, cookies, pastries and other baked goods prior to baking, or 15 minutes before the end of baking to prevent over-browning.

The undiluted whole egg and egg yolk-only washes are concentrated and, thus, will produce color more quickly, so it is best to apply these before the end of baking, not before the product goes into the oven.

Different Types of Egg Wash

Egg washes are typically whole egg, whole egg mixed with milk or water, egg yolk, egg yolk mixed with water, egg yolk mixed with milk or cream, egg white, egg white with water and egg white with milk. Each produces a different color as listed below:

  • Beaten Whole Egg: Shiny, dark color. Apply this one 15 minutes before the end of baking.
  • Beaten Whole Egg with Milk: Medium-shiny color.
  • Beaten Whole Egg with Water: Lighter shiny color.
  • Beaten Egg Yolk: Shiny, deep lemon-yellow color. Apply this one 15 minutes before the end of baking.
  • Beaten Egg Yolk with Water: Shiny, lighter lemon-yellow color.
  • Beaten Egg Yolk with Cream: Shiny-brown color.
  • Beaten Egg White: Crisp, transparent surface color.
  • Beaten Egg White with Water: Sticky transparent surface for adhering nuts and / or seeds.
  • Beaten Egg White with Milk: Transparent shiny surface.

What to Do With Leftover Egg Whites or Egg Yolks

  • How to Freeze Leftover Egg Whites: If you freeze your whites until you've accumulated enough for a recipe, you'll never find yourself in the situation of throwing away costly egg whites that have stuck around the fridge too long. Read how to do it.
  • 15 Leftover Egg White Recipes: So now that you've accumulated those egg whites, what can you make with them? Here are 15 ideas that range from 2 to 12 or more.
  • How to Freeze Leftover Egg Yolks: You can't just throw egg yolks into the freezer and expect them to thaw correctly. As they freeze, they become gelatinous unless you add a simple ingredient to keep them liquid when thawed. Read on.

Leftover Egg Yolk Recipes