12 Glaze Effects, Tried and Tested
It's a non-essential part of baking that I usually omit, from sheer lack of time. If you're more of a hastily-stick-it-in-the-oven person, I understand.
But, on occasion, you may want to add a certain je ne sais quoi to your bread; a certain something to make it look a bit more special.
On those days, a glaze can do the trick.
So, what to use?
For this article, I have baked 12 bread rolls and treated each one with a different glaze, to show you the different effects.
The 'best' result is a matter of personal preference but hopefully this little experiment of mine will help you to have an informed opinion.
The 12 Rolls And Their Glazes
Starting from the top, looking left to right, row by row as if reading, the glazes were:
1. No glaze (the control)
3. Egg white (I mixed a tiny pinch of salt in with it because I read that this can help the egg to spread more easily. I also beat it with a fork before brushing it on)
4. Egg yolk (I beat this with a fork to make it easier to spread)
5. Whole egg (white and yolk beaten together)
6. Olive oil
7. Melted butter
8. Sugar water (a small amount of sugar dissolved in a small amount of water)
10. Melted butter applied after baking
11. Sugar water applied after baking
12. Water with some plain flour sprinkled over it
Let's have a closer look...
This roll looked relatively pale compared to some of its glazed friends. It had a matt appearance and the crust was more chewy than crispy.
This roll looked darker than the one without glaze, but not as dark as some of the other types of glaze. It was quite matt in appearance but slightly shinier than the unglazed roll.
Egg White Glaze
This was very similar in appearance to the milk glaze. Quite a matt appearance and a lovely golden brown colour.
Egg Yolk Glaze
This was markedly one of the more shiny glazes, and one of the more richly coloured.
Whole Egg Glaze
Very similar to the egg yolk glaze, this roll was shiny and pleasingly brown.
Olive Oil Glaze
I was surprised how matt this one looked. It wasn't at all shiny. The crust was a light colour and slightly crunchier than unglazed bread.
Melted Butter Glaze
I had thought this might be shinier, but it was quite matt, with a slightly cracked appearance. This was one of the darker rolls, with a richer, more pleasing colour than most.
Sugar Water Glaze
This resulted in a matt appearance with a lovely darkened crust. I enjoyed the subtly sweet taste of the glaze on this roll.
For a speedy, no hassle glaze, this had excellent results. The roll was a nicer (in my opinion!) colour than the unglazed one. It also had a crunchier crust.
Butter Glaze After Baking
Here, I had brushed melted butter over the roll as it came out of the oven. The result is a pleasing shine but a less browned appearance.
Sugar Water Glaze After Baking
Here, I had brushed sugar water over the roll when it was still warm from the oven. I loved the shiny appearance and the subtly sugary flavour. I used this glazing technique to good effect on my hot cross buns, as you may recall.
Water and Flour
Not sure why this one has peaked and almost exploded upwards, but I still like the highlight that the flour gives to the bread. This is the roll that the children all wanted, incidentally.
This is purely subjective, but I like the shiny glazes. Egg (I probably wouldn't bother separating it, but the yolk is the more important component here) is probably the nicest option, unless you're wanting a bit of sweetness, in which case the sugar water makes a nice alternative (although, for the shine, you'd have to brush it on after baking.)
I very much like the simplicity of the water and flour option. I think the flour looks pretty, and highlights the shape of the bread.
Don't Stop There!
Of course, these are not the only glazing alternatives. This is another chance to be original and use your imagination. And don't forget, a glaze makes a good glue for sticking seeds, such as sesame or poppy seeds, to the top of your bread. Let me know if you have any great favourites that I'd like to try.
An Important Announcement
The How To Bake Beautiful Bread tutorial package will be available from this Friday, the 23rd!
It's for you, if (like many of us!) your bread has tended to be more functional than beautiful.
I've been gathering useful know-how, professional techniques and troubleshooting tips to help you make bread that not only tastes good but looks great.
It's all packaged together with step-by-step guides and video tutorials that will show you how to get the best results.
You can download your copy on Friday, when it will be available at an introductory rate over the weekend.
Freshly Baked subscribers, take note! You will receive an extra special discount as a thank you for your ongoing support. I'll be emailing you with more details later in the week (so if you haven't signed up yet, now is a good time!)