Washes are liquid mixtures that are applied to yeast products to give them their final look and texture.
The most common washes are:
1. Water - used predominantly in hard crusted products (ie. French bread)
2. Starch paste - primarily used for rye breads. The starch paste gives it shine and keeps the crust from drying out too quickly.
3. Egg wash - used for soft, shiny brown crusts such as rolls and rich doughs.