Why should particular care be taken when washing scones with egg wash to ensure that no egg runs down the sides of the pieces of dough

After rolling and cutting out scone dough into round or finger shapes the surface of the scone is commonly washed with egg to obtain a glossy, rich brown skin on baking which makes them so attractive. If the egg wash is allowed to run or dribble down the sides of dough pieces their baked appearance is spoiled.

When the scones are baked the egg on the side walls will coagulate long before the baking powder inside the scone has evolved all of its carbon dioxide. This coagulated egg will form a more or less unyielding band, uniting the top skin with the bottom edge of the scone, and will prevent that side from rising to its full height. The gas produced by the reaction of the baking powder must cause expansion in some direction or other, and will take the line of least resistance. This will often cause the opposite side of the scone to rise even higher than would otherwise have been the case. The end result is that the scone rises unevenly and where the egg ran down the sides it will be spoiled by a yellow streak running from top to bottom, instead of the sides presenting an unbroken, smooth, white colour.

The problem is usually avoided by paying attention to detail, for example avoid getting too much wash on the brush, using too large a brush and too concentrated an egg wash.

See also 12.10 and 12.11.

Continue reading here: Why does our royal icing not harden adequately

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