Wondering how in the world you can get that perfect browning on your vegan baked goods? Vegan egg wash to the rescue!
Vegan baking basics are BACK! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, but I’ve found they are super helpful for just navigating and figuring out how to do vegan baking best. I’ve covered everything from baking with dates to the wonders of cashews and the process of converting a non-vegan recipe to a vegan recipe. I’m here to help you out!
Now, onto the business at hand, vegan egg wash! For a long time, while I was navigating the waters of vegan baking, I just kind of forgot about/left out the whole egg wash things on a lot of baked goods. Typically, egg wash is brushed on to put a little bit of browning on your scones or making sure your pies get deeply browned on top, which is really the signature of a pretty pie. The egg is beaten together with a little bit of milk and brushed onto the top of the baked goods, resulting in a shiny and lovely exterior that makes a sweet treat that much more appealing. So what’s a vegan baker to do without the trusty egg wash?
I’ve found there are two methods that work best: coconut oil or a milk/agave mixture that mimics the effects of a regular egg wash. The coconut oil wash is best for savory goods, like homemade soft pretzels or savory scones, since it doesn’t have a sweetness or flavor to it. Trust me, when you have savory goods, you want to do with the coconut oil wash, don’t even try the milk/agave mixture. I made the mistake of thinking the sweetness would just bake off (what was I thinking?!) when I brushed it onto a batch of savory scones and the end result was just weird. It was as if my taste buds were very confused about what I was eating. Was it savory? But there was sweetness too! It was very odd and resulted in a bust of a batch of scones. The coconut oil vegan egg wash method would also be perfect for biscuits or any other savory/bread baked good. The basic process of using this method is the melt 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil and lightly brush it onto the tops of your baked goods, taking care not to use too much.
The milk and agave mixture is something that I believe I found somewhere on Food 52. I can’t find it again at the moment (that’s what you get for Googling the crap out of something), but I know I came across a suggestion of whisking together a combination of non-dairy milk to agave nectar, resulting in a great solution for a vegan egg wash. The proteins in the non-dairy milk give the same effect as the eggs, creating a smooth sheen. The agave nectar adds that hint of sweetness and caramelizes when baked, resulting in the gorgeous light brown sheen that is the trademark on so many pies.
I typically use about 2 tablespoons of almond milk whisked with 1 teaspoon of agave nectar, lightly brushed onto the tops of a pie or scones. You could probably sub in maple syrup in a pinch, but agave is light in color and doesn’t result in an overly browned color, which can sometimes end up looking burnt after baking.
So now that you can make the tops of your pies all glossy and your scones looking fly with the easiest vegan egg wash, go forth and bake!
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Previously on Heart of Baker