Ditch The Whisk And Use Soy Milk For A Waste-Free, Vegan Egg Wash

egg wash over croissants
egg wash over croissants - Popovic Dragan/Shutterstock

You're ready to bake some fluffy vegan biscuits to pair with tempeh sausage. The final step before baking most biscuits is to color them with a wash, and that wash is usually made with eggs. Well, ditch the whisk, and don't worry about needing to use eggs. Use soy milk instead as a waste-free, vegan "egg wash." Soy milk, usually made from ground soybeans and water, is vegan and, like other plant-based milk, is one of 22 ingredients every vegan baker needs to have.

We typically crack a whole egg into a bowl and whisk it with a little milk or water to create an egg wash. We then dip a pastry brush into this mixture to wash it over our pastries before baking. However, this often leaves us with a leftover egg mixture. (We usually cook this leftover egg in the microwave and give it to our dog to minimize waste). However, as a pastry wash, soy milk will remove the worry of wasting or repurposing the leftover egg mixture. With soy milk as a vegan egg wash, you only have to use what you need, and you don't need to whisk the soy milk like you have to whisk the egg.

Read more: 23 Whole Foods Baked Goods, Ranked

Vegan Egg Washes Are Not Just For Vegan Bakers To Use

soy milk
soy milk - Rassamee Design/Shutterstock

Egg and vegan egg washes add shine and color to your baked pastries. But how exactly does that work? We need to delve into a little food science to answer this question. Eggs contain proteins and fat. When you bake a pastry brushed with egg wash, the fat in the egg undergoes the Maillard reaction in the oven, adding a brown color to the pastry. Just imagine butter in a hot pan; it eventually turns brown, right? That's what's happening to the fat in the egg wash. Eggs also have protein, and when heated, they give off a shiny sheen. For this reason, baked macarons and meringue are often shiny.

Soy milk is high in protein, and you'll notice that soy milk-washed pastries often have a nice sheen or shine, comparable to egg washes. However, soy milk has a lower fat content than eggs and cow milk. Naturally, soy milk would not add as much brown color to pastries as eggs do. So, to enhance the browning effect of soy milk on pastries as a vegan egg wash, we recommend mixing brown sugar or maple syrup with the soy milk and using that mixture as a pastry wash.

Using soy milk as a vegan egg wash alternative is not a trick exclusive to vegan bakers. Imagine you're baking scones and have run out of eggs. Don't worry about rushing out to buy eggs. Reach for the soy milk in your fridge, or try our nifty 2-ingredient vegan egg wash substitute that pairs perfectly with pastries.

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