The Fresh Loaf

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brushing bread with egg wash

Delbadry's picture

brushing bread with egg wash


I was wondering if anyone had tried brushing their sandwich loaves with egg wash during baking.. I've found that when I brush prior to baking and sprinkle with seeds, the loaf comes out uneven. During the oven spring, the seeds are left to one side of the loaf, and the other side expands to reveal a seed-free section. So I thought perhaps by brushing and sprinkling the seeds after this stage, perhaps halfway through baking, I might end up with a more symetrical-looking loaf..  Does this break any holy bread-baking rules? :) I also have a sneaky suspicion that the egg wash inhibits the rise in some way. Am I imagining this? Oh, and I should mention that I have tried brushing, sprinkling and then scoring - only to find that the same thing happens and I have a score that is also off center. And I prefer not to score sandwich loaves anyway. Sorry for being so picky; I like symetrical loaves, lol.

Thanks :)

yy's picture

It sounds like your problem is related less to the egg wash and more to shaping and proofing. If your loaf is expanding too much, there will be a lot of un-eggwashed surface exposed during baking, so leaving your loaf to proof until quite puffy will help.

Secondly, if you're getting asymmetrical expansion in the oven, there may be a shaping issue. Are you rolling the loaf up, pinching the seam closed securely, and placing the seam facing downward and securely in the middle of the pan?

Delbadry's picture

I think you may be right - I even suspected that it may have to do with underproofing somewhere in the back of my mind. I have had more evenly-shaped loaves when I've proofed them longer on the second rise - but then recipes on websites such as King Arthur Flour, all say to proof until the loaf peaks 1 - 1.5 inches above the rim of the pan, which made me think that perhaps I was overproofing by letting them rise to 2 - 2.25 inches.

I'm sure I'm shaping them properly though. Thank you so much for your help. :)

FlourChild's picture

Loaf pans are not perfectly uniform in size/capacity due to the angles of the sides, shape of the rim, etc.  So King Arthur's test kithcen pans may not be the same as yours, which means that the height above the rim is just a loose guideline, not a hard and fast rule.  Learn to read the dough, as detailed so excellently below, and you should see better results and also learn a skill that will help with every yeasted product you bake :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I also find that adding an egg wash late into the bake has its problems, the egg cooking within seconds while painting it on the hot bread surface. It gets quite opaque and messy unless a scrambled egg look is desired on the crust.  If you don't like to score, then don't.  Even egg washes can dry out while the dough is rising, brush twice or keep a mister handy or cover.    

Delbadry's picture

Ok, so egg wash during baking is a no-no. Got it. The only reason I use the egg wash for this specific recipe is to keep the sesame seeds on.

Which reminds me; when I brush the egg wash on prior to baking, the surface of the loaf gets quite bubbly with in seconds, and I have to use my lame to pop the larger bubbles as I fight to sprinkle the seeds and get it in the oven as soon as possible. It's quite annoying, which was another reason why I was looking to egg wash later in the bake.

Thank you so much for your help! :)

hanseata's picture

The egg wash doesn't inhibit the oven spring. My guess is that the loaf was a bit underproofed. Scoring isn't really necessary for sandwich loaves, I make some with and some without, depending on the look I want to give it.


Delbadry's picture

Thanks, I'll have the courage to proof further on the second rise from now on.

I've only been baking for a year now; will more experience enable me to get rid of the ruler I have on hand every time I bake a sandwich loaf?

Thanks again for the help! :)

hanseata's picture

The best way to judge whether your loaf has proofed enough is not the size, but the finger poke test: Poke the bread gently with your finger to make an indentation. If it fills right up, it needs more proofing. Ideally, it should slowly come back a little bit, but still leave a visible dent for a time.

Here is the full version of the sophisticated, highly scientific finger poke scale Nontox ( came up with:

1. The dough feels firm and elastic: “I’m just getting comfortable in my proofing basket, please leave me alone!”
2. The dough feels already a bit spongy, but springs right back: “I have enough pressure to stand for another half hour.”
3. The dough is nice and fluffy, but still springs back into his old shape: “I’m barely proofed, and can go into the oven, if you really want the slashes to crack wide open.”
4. The dough keeps the dent for a while, and then slowly comes back: “I’m ready for baking – now or never!”
5. The dough moans, caves in a bit where it was poked, and doesn’t recover again: “Now! Please now!”
6. The dough turns to dust – even at the slightest touch. “I already was with Ramses and Tut-Ankh-Amun – let me die in peace….”

PaddyL's picture

I have, in my time, brushed breads part way through baking with egg white wash, and they came out perfectly well.

BreadChubby's picture

I have heard that some people wash with egg on the second rise and just before the oven (like doing a challah bread) Has anyone tried this? I can't imagine washing during the bake process as you let out heat from the oven which is not good no?

dabrownman's picture

lots of seeds.  Once at the beginning of proof, stick the seeds on and then wash again right before the oven.  Works and the seeds don't fall off this way.

Robert Kray's picture
Robert Kray

Applying egg wash with the multiSPRAY in Bakery

Jeanna's picture

Robert, oh my gosh -- that sprayer is great. So quick. Would be much faster than a pastry brush for egg wash when I have pans and pans of rolls to brush.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

be sure to rupture the egg yolk sack and discard (save for cooking) saving only the liquid to blend with milk, oil or water.  The yolk sack can make lumps and plug the sprayer.  :)

BakerSophie's picture

Cool, thx for the comments & ideas - that helps!... I bought this Swiss sprayer in the video just a couple of weeks ago, as I do not have compressed air in my facility... very helpful!, ... I will post my work soon :-)