Beginner Question -- Butter wash?
I'm a beginner baking the "Lean Bread" from Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day -- just about the simplest recipe there is. My first attempt tasted great and had a good crumb, but the crust was a little chewy and became impenetrable after a day or so. For my second attempt, I'm using the same recipe, but I want to attempt to improve my crust. I'm considering an egg wash and a butter wash; my understanding is that they have similar effects, but that the butter wash will make the bread richer. A couple of questions.
- Do I apply a wash before the loaves go into the oven, or after a certain amount of time in there?
- Which wash is the best for my purposes?
If you have other suggestions for improving the crust, I'd love to hear them.