The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Don't forget the egg wash on the Struan Bread

R.C. Hiersch's picture
R.C. Hiersch

Don't forget the egg wash on the Struan Bread

Dear Floyd,

Thanks for the marvelous website!  Thanks for the recipes, too!   

 There is a detail missing from the Struan bread Recipe, that Peter insisted upon - Egg wash:

We used one egg to about eight ounces of water, in a 12 ounce glass, stirred with a fork, then poured into the plastic reservoir of the paint sprayer we used for that.  Sometimes, for a small batch of a bread, we'd just brush it on, but usually it was sprayed.

A home baker could brush it on.  We used to spray it on with a "buzzer" plug in paint sprayer, at the low table by the bench, before loading the loaves in the shelves on the 175 loaf rolling "train" rack, to go into the proof box.

We didn't use undiluted egg, because it was too thick, and congealed at the edges, giving "scrambled eggs in the pan", as Karen D. would say.

 The reason for Egg, instead of water, was first for retaining more of the seeds, that would otherwise just fall off, next for flavor, and lastly, for the browning of the top.

Many did not agree with it, because of the inevitable mess from overspray, but Peter insisted, and that's how we baked it - from 1990 to 1993, when I was there, from apprentice, bagging, through Slicing, to  Mixer, to Plant Manager, after eight months with that Struan, Cajun Three Pepper, Wild Rice and Onion, Buttermilk Bread, and so on, including the Pullman Loaves.

I remember "MO", the huge ex-Navy slicing machine we used to use, until we shipped it back to PA, and the adjustment period with the new slicer, and the two small belt driven slicers that we often used when everything else failed, and who could forget Brother Juniper's Breadbox!

I remember you were a dependable island of sanity, and  appreciated for your stability and drive, which calmed the atmosphere a great deal. 




Floydm's picture

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your kind words and good to hear from you again.

In the bakery we needed to use egg wash to keep the poppy seeds stuck on through slicing and bagging, but at home I'm delicate enough that I haven't found it to be necessary. But you are right that we always used it and that it does change the color and flavor a bit.

I recall brushing the egg wash on with a paint brush and then shaking the poppy seeds on one with of those glass shakers that they put cheese and chilies in at pizza joints. The only time I used the sprayer was to oil the pans, but I left the bakery before you guys hit peak production. I remember finding it amusing that Father Steven always referred to the Wagner paint sprayer, which most Americans refer to as a "WAG-ner", as the "VOG-ner" like the composer.

profequip's picture

It's so interesting to read about how you guys worked and the equipment that was available at the time. Can you believe the Wagner paint sprayer has evolved? It was good back then  and now the spray gun is food grade/safe and sells under the KREA Swiss brand. Some additional upgrades and the multiSPRAY is a workhorse in many professional kitchens to spray egg wash or oil. We distribute for them in the US and hear good comments back from bakers on the ease of use and reliability and they like that they can ditch their pastry brushes. I guess that's the end of "VOG-ner" -- I can hear the pronunciation in my head. :-)