Thanksgiving video tips: Choosing the right bread wash (and a recipe)

Egg, milk, butter and more -- choosing the right "wash" for your baked goods

Bread, biscuit and roll recipes often call for some sort of "wash" or glaze before baking. Sometimes a recipe may call for egg, sometimes milk. Even butter. Different washes are used to achieve different results. So how do you choose the right one for your project?

EGG: Using beaten whole eggs will give color and sheen to a bread. Egg yolk provides rich color, browning easily in the oven. Egg white provides a nice sheen.

MILK: Brushing with milk will help to color the crust, the sugars in the milk helping to brown it.
WATER: 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: This will give the bread a softer crust and richer flavor.
SWEETENERS: Brushing with honey, syrup, etc. will give bread a sweeter, softer crust.

Craving more? Check out our handy holiday recipes and cooking tips page to help you out with your Thanksgiving planning. Not only do we cover familiar holiday dishes, we also share tips and tricks to save you time and energy during this busy time of year. And you can find all your Thanksgiving recipe needs in our California Cookbook. If you have any tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.



Total time: 50 minutes, plus 2 hours, 15 minutes rising time and optional overnight refrigerating time | Serves 16

Note: If you do not have an electric mixer, use a wooden spoon to make the dough. Because the dough can keep in the refrigerator for 48 hours, you can shape as many rolls as you need for fresh-made bread each day. (The egg yolk glaze can be refrigerated for a day as well.).

    1/4 cup potato flour or potato starch
    3/4 cup whole wheat flour
    1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
    2 teaspoons salt
    3 tablespoons sugar
    2 1/2 to 3 cups flour, divided
    1 1/4 cups buttermilk, warmed to 120 to 130 degrees
    1/4 cup melted butter
    1 egg
    1 egg yolk

1. In a large bowl, stir together the potato flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, sugar and one-half cup of the flour. Add the warm buttermilk, melted butter and egg. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat at high speed for 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Gradually add the remaining flour, about one-half cup at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. The dough will come away from the sides of the bowl.

2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface (if there are any dry bits at the bottom of the bowl, discard them). Knead the dough for a couple of minutes until smooth and elastic; if it's too sticky, sprinkle flour as needed.

3. Place in a greased bowl. Turn over to grease the top, and cover. Let rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough until you are ready to bake. First, deflate the dough by pressing down the middle and pulling the sides toward the center. Turn it over in the bowl, then brush the top with melted butter or press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a crust from forming. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 48 hours. Punch down and let stand at room temperature for about an hour. Proceed with the next step at least 2 hours before serving.

5. Line a baking sheet or large baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it into an 8-inch square, about an inch high. Using a sharp knife and a downward motion, cut the dough into 16 (2-inch) squares. Form each square into a ball, then pull down the sides to create smooth tops and firmly tuck the edges underneath.

6. Arrange the rolls on the lined sheet with the sides almost touching. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. They should look like puffy cushions.

7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water to make a glaze. Gently but thoroughly brush the tops of the rolls (you will have some glaze left over). Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm, or cool on a rack.

Each serving: 158 calories; 5 grams protein; 27 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 4 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 34 mg. cholesterol; 318 mg. sodium.

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