An egg wash is usually made with 1 tablespoon of milk, cream, or water for each large egg, or 3 parts egg to 1 part liquid.
Using an egg wash on yeast breads and rolls can help in the browning process and makes it possible to attach seeds, grains, or sugars to the crust. Should you use a whole egg, a yolk, or just the white? Here's a handy chart with the results of each type of egg wash.
|Whole Egg + Milk||Color, Shine|
|Whole Egg + Water||Soft Crust, Shine, Color|
|Egg Yolk + Milk or Cream||Soft Crust, Shine, Color|
|Egg White + Water||Firm Crust, Shine|
In addition, using milk or cream alone will result in a soft crust with a little color, and water alone will help achieve a crisp crust.
An egg wash can be applied to shaped bread or rolls before or after proofing, but always before baking. If applying after proofing, use a light touch to avoid deflating the bread. Avoid using too much egg wash, and if it does or pool in places, dab with a paper towel to absorb the excess.