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L.A. Times Test Kitchen tips: Choosing a bread wash

April 21, 2011 |  8:00 am

CarawaycrossBread recipes often call for some sort of "wash"  or glaze before baking, sometimes egg, sometimes milk. Even butter. Different washes are used to achieve different results:

  • Brushing with beaten whole eggs will give both color and sheen to a bread. Egg yolk provides rich color, browning easily in the oven. Egg white provides a nice sheen.
  • Brushing with milk will help to color the crust, the sugars in the milk helping to brown the crust.
  • Water is often sprayed or brushed onto bread before it is placed in a very hot oven, and during baking, to give the bread an extra-crisp crust. Water added to an egg wash helps to thin the wash so it brushes more easily.
  • Butter will give the bread a softer crust and richer flavor.
  • Sweeteners--honey, syrup, etc.--will give bread a sweeter, softer crust.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

-- Noelle Carter

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times