What Happens If You Only Use Egg Yolks For An Egg Wash

Whether you're whipping up a pie, puff pastry, yeast rolls, scones, danishes, or even sandwich bread, this list of unique baked goods have one thing in common: they often are finished with an egg wash before entering the oven. 

Solely meant to enhance the appearance, an egg wash has little to no effect on the actual taste or outcome of your recipe. Oftentimes, egg washes are meant to have other particles adhere to the tops to add crunch, such as turbinado sugar or flaky sea salt, but it can also provide a beautiful browning effect that makes your dish that much more picture-perfect.

When hearing the term "egg wash," it's assumed that you're using a whole egg with both the yolk and the white. However, these two separate components to an egg do very different things. When testing out an egg wash using an egg white, a whole egg, and an egg yolk, the results are quite surprising.

It will yield shiny, golden brown tops

When comparing all the various types of egg washes on separate mini pies, it helps to recognize the different appearances in each. For starters, when brushing an egg white onto the tops of a pie, it will come out slightly shiny, with very little difference in color compared to before it was baked. 

When using a whole egg, it will come out with slightly more shine, and a more golden hue. When brushing your pastry with solely just an egg yolk, this will yield the most shine, and a darker, yet more ideal golden brown tint. Compared to no egg wash at all, which results in a dull, matte top with very little browning, using an egg yolk will give you the perfect finish and only tacks on a few extra minutes of your prep time.

If you only have one or two yolks accessible for the egg wash and need to stretch it further, try whisking in a few teaspoons of water. This will yield the same result while giving you more to work with.

If you want to try an egg-less egg wash, you can easily swap in heavy cream, melted butter, milk, olive oil, or your oil of choice for brushing onto your before-baked goods. Just note that using different ingredients will result in different levels of shine and browning.