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Nov 13, 2006 02:43 PM

Sodium Hydroxide ?? for Pretzel Wash

I am told that Natrium Hydroxide or as we know it "Sodium Hydroxide" is what the Germans use as a 4% bath for the pretzels that we all know and love. It can be bought at the Apotheke(drugstore) there. Does anyone know where it can be bought here? Only need about 15g to 30g by batch. Any suggestions would be helpful.

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  1. I don't know if something is lost in translation here, but sodium hydroxide is a very strong BASE, not an acid. AKA lye, used in cleaning, making soap, etc. The exact opposite of an acid. I know nothing about pretzel cooking, so I don't know if you're looking for an acid or a base...

    1. hmm, very interesting translation from a German recipe and my wife that is also German, this is what they use. NatriumHydroxide, which Na, the atomic symbol is Latin for Sodium. I am reading on it and you are correct it is a lye, and for the purposes know to us, not seen in cooking at all. I referred to an acid wash I guess out of terms, basically what I meant was the washing before the baking, as in Bagels, Pretzels, etc? If you know someone that can translate German maybe they can get something different out of this message I was given

      1. It is in fact a lye like substance you are looking for, not an acid. If you have a European style bakery nearby they should be able to hook you up with a commercial dip for this purpose. You have to use a glass or stainless steel vessel for the dip, and be very careful with it. A commercial supplier of this solution is Abel&Schaffer, a German bakery supply company. It is also the ingredient in Drano. Baking the products makes them safe to eat.

        1. Learning to make these Bretzeln is like cracking the DaVinci code, thanks Mattrapp !! :-)

          1. Lye—Sodium Hydroxide—is widely used in food processing. Common uses include washing or chemical peeling of fruits and vegetables, chocolate and cocoa processing, caramel color production, poultry scalding, soft drink processing, thickening ice cream. Foods processed with lye include olives, lutefisx, hominy/grits, corn nuts, 100 year eggs, pretzels, and German lye rolls.

            Lye can be purchased at hardware stores and drug stores. Note that while many plumbing products such as Draino do contain lye, they often contain other chemicals that render them unsafe for food processing.