Many of my readers are egg intolerant or has someone in their household that has an allergy to eggs. Several readers have asked me for an egg free egg wash substitute. There is a solution for both sealing and coating the tops of pastry.
The Purpose of Egg Wash
Often egg, egg yolk, or egg white mixed with water is called for coating and sealing pastry. Its purpose is sometimes two-fold. Egg wash not only browns the crust, but the egg white makes the crust shine. Sometime a recipe will call for a whole egg, which provides both elements. When egg yolk alone is called for in a recipe, its purpose is to brown. When egg white alone is called for in a recipe its purpose is to shine. When egg wash is used to seal pastry layers together, a whole egg is fine to use if you are not worried about it leaking out and showing a little brown color. Otherwise egg white alone works well.
Gluten Free Egg Free Egg Wash Substitute for Pastry Tops (With Dairy-Free Options)
As an egg-free egg wash substitute, real, melted butter works the best as long as the pastry is not extremely thin. If it is, butter tends to make ripples in the crust. Cream (or less optimal, cow’s milk) mixed with tapioca starch makes an adequate egg wash substitute for coating the tops of pastry for browning purposed. Tapioca browns more than any other starch; and milk browns, as well. However, your pastry will not be as nearly brown as with the egg wash. The dates add a darker color. For a dairy-free substitute, use homemade almond milk sweetened with dates instead mixed with tapioca starch. If you have nut, egg, and dairy allergies, use water.
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Egg-Free Egg Wash Substitute for Pastry Sealing
For sealing your pastry layers together, you can use a mixture of any starch you desire with water. If you do not have any starch on hand, try mixing a little cold water with leftover, cold mashed potatoes.