So you're probably wondering what is vegan egg wash? Vegan egg wash is a form of liquid that is topically applied to food products such as breads and pastries to give them a shiny glaze or browning effect.
Vegan egg wash can also be use as a glue to help pastries stick together such as bonding two pastry edges (think pies) or helping toppings stick. For example helping sesame seeds stick to puff pastry, as per my Purslane pockets Lebanese bakleh.
Substitute egg wash can also be used for breading (crumbing), which is the process of coating foods with bread crumbs. The substitute egg aids the bread crumbs to stick to foods. A simple method for this is to dip the food into flour, then substitute egg wash and then into bread crumbs. This is suited for frying or baking, e.g., breaded tofu.
The above picture is a great result of freshly baked vegan dinner rolls where I used coconut oil as an alternative to egg wash. The bread rolls came out golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Traditionally when baking some recipes call for the use of egg wash. What is Egg wash? Egg wash is usually beaten egg + liquid (either milk or water) which is used to brush over bread doughs prior (think pies) to baking to achieve a gorgeous golden browning on the finished product.
Yes, for a basic eggless egg wash use coconut oil or plant milk with a syrup such as agave in a 3:1 ratio. E.g., 3 tbsp almond milk + 1 tbsp agave syrup. (this is a general rule of thumb)
So what are some alternatives vegan egg washes?
- Oils - various oils make a good substitute and result in nice browning. Oils such as vegetable, olive, coconut, rice, corn. For thicker oils, try thinning out with a little bit of water/milk mix in well. Oils as a vegan egg wash for baking is great, check out an example of baked puff pastry here purslane pockets or vegan dinner rolls which use coconut oil instead of egg wash. Both have a lovely golden hue.
- Milks - plant based milks such as almond, soy, oat and rice work well too. Try unsweetened versions as sugar browns (quicker) when exposed to heat. Milks also make a great vegan egg wash for baking, they have a lovely sheen.
- Natural sweeteners - date syrup, agave nectar, carob syrup, rice malt syrup, molasses, golden syrup diluted (1:1 ratio) with water or vegan milk to avoid over browning. This substitute egg wash is good for a sweeter type of baking.
- For a savoury type bread/pastry - barbecue sauce diluted in water. This is an ideal egg wash substitute for pastries such as vegan sausage rolls, pasties, pies and similar.
- Maple syrup - I list this one seperate to natural sweetener as it’s thinner in consistency and can be mixed with a little bit of plant milk instead (2:1 ratio). A good substitute egg wash for sweet baking.
- Aquafaba - the juice of chickpeas or beans. Can be used on its own as it’s light in flavour and can have an added sweetener (a good egg wash substitute for bonding or coating using a brush) Check out some amazing uses of aquafaba recipe
- Flaxseed meal mixed with water - flaxseed meal comes in a dark and light version. Again can be brushed onto pastries or breads.
- Flour mixed with water - this is great for breading/crumbing, but also good as a simple batter. Simply mix flour with water to make a thick glue like paste and then dip food into it. Great for frying or baking. For a breading example check out vegan jalapeno poppers. For a non-traditional use of this, check out how to make vegan hash browns.
- I highly recommend you test out any vegan wash before committing, this will give ensure best results are yielded.
- Sweetness from any syrups used will yield a sweet alternative egg wash and may not be suitable for savoury baked goods.
- Sweet vegan egg washes will caramelise and create a browning effect
- Hard oils should be melted before brushing on to goods before baking.
Below is an example of using aquafaba for in the breading process, I made vegan gluten jalapeno poppers.
Have you got a tried and tested an alternative to egg wash? Please share it in the comment section below. If you're curious about veganism, check out this list of vegan documentaries to a better understanding.
Want to receive more helpful tips like this? Sign up the the Plant Based Folk newsletter.