Does Bread Need Eggs?

Bread, a staple food in many cultures worldwide, has countless variations. But when it comes to making bread, a common question that arises is whether or not it needs eggs.

In this article, we will explore the topic of whether bread dough needs eggs or if they can be omitted. Understanding the role of eggs in bread-making can be essential for readers who have dietary restrictions or who want to experiment with different recipes.

Basic bread recipes do not require eggs. However, some enriched dough breads, such as brioche, requires the addition of whole eggs or egg yolks.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced baker, understanding the impact of eggs in bread-making can help you achieve perfect and consistent results.


The Effect of Eggs on Bread Dough

Adding eggs to bread dough affects both its texture and taste. It is vital to note that adding eggs to bread can also change its flavor and nutritional profile.

Eggs contain lipids that coat the gluten and hinder its development. Therefore, doughs containing eggs are heavier, take longer to rise, and often require more yeast than plain bread dough.

Moreover, eggs can create a stickier texture due to their proteins and fats, which can interfere with gluten formation and create a softer, less structured dough.


Egg yolks increase the browning of the bread crust due to their protein content. Hence, it is recommended to lower the baking temperature by 10-20°F/6-12°C. The yolks also add a yellow color to the bread.

Eggs contain flavor components and fats that give baked goods a luxurious taste. Eggs also contain nutrients such as iron and calcium, which increase the nutritional value of bread.

Eggs are a rich source of proteins and nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and choline. By adding eggs to bread, you can increase the nutritional value of the bread.

The egg yolk contains lecithin, a natural emulsifier that helps to preserve the bread’s moisture content and delay staling.

Applying Egg Wash to Bread

Egg wash is a mixture of beaten whole eggs or egg yolks and water, or milk that is brushed onto the surface of bread dough before baking. This technique affects the final product in several ways:

  • The egg wash gives the bread a crispy crust and a slightly eggy flavor.
  • The proteins in the egg help to create a glossy surface and a more even browning on the crust of the bread.
  • Egg wash can be used as a glue to help toppings or seasonings such as seeds or coarse salt adhere to the surface of the bread, and create a decorative and flavorful crust.

Overall, egg wash can enhance the appearance, texture, and flavor of the bread crust. It is a common technique used by bakers to improve the quality of their baked goods.


Examples of Bread Traditionally Made with Eggs

These enriched bread recipes often contain sugar, butter, and milk instead of water.

  • Challah is a traditional Jewish ceremonial bread typically served on the Sabbath and other holidays. The Challah is enriched with eggs, giving it a rich flavor and golden color.
  • Brioche is a French bread made with eggs, butter, and sometimes sugar. It has a tender, buttery crumb, and a slightly sweet flavor. Brioche is often used for French toast or bread pudding.
Martha Stewart’s Panettone
  • Panettone is a sweet Italian bread typically made with eggs, butter, sugar, and dried fruits. It is often served during the Christmas season.
  • Tsoureki is a Greek Easter bread made with eggs and usually braided. Its taste is determined by ground mastic. The eggs in the bread symbolize the renewal and rebirth associated with Easter.
  • Hot cross buns are a sweet and spicy bread traditionally served on Good Friday in many Christian countries. These buns are made with eggs and marked with a cross on top, symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus.

Eggs are a common ingredient in bread-making traditions worldwide and often carry symbolic meanings associated with renewal, rebirth, and new life.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, adding eggs to bread dough affects its texture, taste, nutritional profile, and appearance. While certain bread types traditionally contain eggs, basic bread recipes do not require them.

Incorporating an egg into bread dough can make it more luxurious, tender, and moist. Applying egg wash to bread can enhance the appearance and flavor of the bread crust.

Understanding the role of eggs in bread-making can assist you in achieving success when experimenting with different recipes. While we’re on the subject of the impact of eggs on baked goods, you may be interested in my article about the function of eggs in pastry dough.



My name is Debora, the founder of My Delicious Sweets, and a qualified confectioner with broad experience in the confectionery industry. On my blog, I will share important, interesting, and fun facts about food, along with some of my favorite recipes.

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