The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Trouble with egg white glaze on bagels

Torquill's picture

Trouble with egg white glaze on bagels

Hey all... I have a bagel recipe I've been perfecting, and it calls for a glaze of egg whites with a little water.  When I glaze them, however, it seems like most of the time (not all) the top crinkles and puckers -- it looks like the glaze is drying and pulling on the top surface of the bread while it's doing its oven spring.  Yet adding more water to the glaze doesn't seem to make a difference.  I just read about adding salt to egg whites, and I'll give that a shot this time.

The bagels need to be pretty dense without large bubbles, and the yeast is aggressive, so I tend to mix it, shape it, glaze it, and throw it in the oven all in one go to keep it from rising too much.  The surface of the dough isn't dried out when I apply the glaze, but it's hardly sticky either.  I'm using a standard gas oven at about 400 degrees, I think. As a side note, I'm using a gluten-free recipe, but the dough kneads and shapes just like standard wheat flour dough, and I haven't had trouble with milk or whole egg glazes in the past.  Any ideas about what could be causing this?



LindyD's picture

Not sure why anyone would want to do that.  Authentic bagels are not glazed.    They're made with high-gluten flour (KAF's Sir Lancelot is excellent), water, salt, and yeast.  Boiled in water containing barley malt syrup for about 45 seconds before baking.  The boiling adds color and shine to the crust.  Baked at 500F.

I've no experience with gluten free flours and am unsure what the purpose of the egg glaze is.  I guess you could try boiling if you're trying to get some sheen or color on the crust, maybe using molasses to substitute for the barley malt if you're trying to avoid all forms of gluten.  If not, go for the barley malt syrup.  Available at organic/health food stores.

Hope it works for you...

Torquill's picture

The egg glaze is to keep the crust from becoming crunchy, because the nature of the dough doesn't take well to boiling.  (Believe me, I've tried.  And tried.)  I'm not trying to be Absolutely Authentic, I'm trying to make the closest thing to real bagels I can with the materials I have, and an egg glaze is what six months of recipe development has landed me on.

The crinkling problem remains.  Perhaps it would help to think of them as rolls rather than bagels?  :)

Chuck's picture

Can you pull them out of the oven when they're almost done, then glaze them, then put them back in the oven for the last five or so minutes? On loaves, some glazes (butter, cornstarch, etc.) can go on when the loaves come out of the oven and are still hot. An egg glaze though needs to cook a little  ...but maybe not for the whole baking time.

Or what about splitting the glazing into two passes: pass one with mostly water before going in the oven, and pass two with mostly egg near the coming out time?

Torquill's picture

I've been hesitant to try glazing after baking (or after some baking, at least) because I have visions of brushing egg whites on hot bread and ending up with a layer of clumpy white stuff on top.  I know one can do that with butter or milk, but do egg whites do just as well?

I'm doing a batch tonight, and I can try both suggestions... I'll let you know how it comes out.

Torquill's picture

I'm guessing I thinned the egg whites a little more than usual this time (or the salt changed them more than expected) because the end result was only barely shiny, and the crinkle wasn't pronounced.  Still, the best finish I got was from the one where I brushed it with water when putting it in, then brushed with egg white when I rotated the pans fifteen minutes in.  So you may be on to something, Chuck.  I'll play around with it a bit more.  :)

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Perhaps I misunderstand or perhaps this is how one bakes with gluten-free "flour", but it doesn't sound like you're making bagels at all.

You mix, shape, glaze, and bake all in one go?

The bagels need to be pretty dense without large bubbles, and the yeast is aggressive, so I tend to mix it, shape it, glaze it, and throw it in the oven all in one go to keep it from rising too much. 

You don't bulk ferment for ~1hr., then shape into bagels, then retard overnight, then boil for a few seconds, then bake?

This has to be related to the gluten-free issue. This procedure with regular flour would result in torus-shaped flour bricks.


As for your question, try an egg glaze with 1 whole egg and 1 teaspoon water and see if that helps. Bagels aren't usually glazed, so I'm again unsure if this is a requisite step or merely cosmetic.