Most glazes are applied to the dough before baking, but some recipes call for the glaze to be applied after the bread is baked. Glazes add flavor, provide an attractive finish on the bread, and add moisture.
Some glazes, such as egg or honey, are adhesive. When applying these glazes to breads baked in a loaf pan, it is best to keep the glaze away from the sides of the pan to prevent the bread from sticking to the pan. The adhesive nature of the glaze may also prevent the dough from properly expanding while baking if too much of the glaze is applied along the edges of the pan.
An egg wash glaze is one of the most common glazes for breads, resulting in a golden crust and because of its adhesive properties, allows other toppings to easily adhere to the surface of the dough.
Glazes such as olive oil can be applied after baking to soften the crust and to provide a richer flavor.