When it comes to pizza, history runs deep -- this dish traces its roots back to the Italian city of Naples in the 1700s. As you might expect for such a seasoned dish, virtually every chef has his own collection of pie-making tips, from how to work the dough to secret ingredients for the sauce. Among these time-tested tips, brushing egg on pizza crust lends both an appealing texture and a subtle new flavor to homemade pizza crust.
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Experience the Difference
Before you brush an egg on your homemade pizza crust, it's important to know what sort of effect it will have on your pie. The technique of brushing raw egg onto dough before baking it is known as applying an “egg wash,” and it often appears in bread making. Just as it does with bread, an egg wash applied to pizza crust lends a slightly richer flavor and gives the crust an appealing golden brown shine.
Brush It On
Brushing egg on pizza crust is a simple procedure. After you've shaped your pizza dough, beat a whole egg in a small bowl. Dip a brush into the bowl and brush the egg onto the raised edges of the pizza crust to create a light, even coating. You can apply an egg wash to homemade pizza crust whether it's made from scratch or a store-bought mix.
Change It Up
Although a simple, whole-egg egg wash is the standard for pizza crusts, it's certainly not your only option. For a healthier alternative with a lighter flavor, leave out the yolk and brush on a beaten egg white. Likewise, you can dilute either a whole egg or egg whites with a teaspoon or so of water for a more subtle egg wash, or add a few dashes of oil for added richness. No matter what combination you use, you can intensify your crust's flavor by adding seasonings such as basil, oregano, garlic or onion to the egg mixture.
Try These Tips
Even if you forget to apply your egg wash, you can brush it onto the crust at the last minute, about five minutes before your pizza is done cooking. If you don't have an egg on hand, you can brush your crust with a simple mixture of oil or melted butter and the seasonings of your choice. To keep your crust from sticking, spread a generous coating of cornmeal on the baking sheet or pizza stone. You can also apply a seasoned egg wash to homemade breadsticks.