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Dec 8, 2010 10:38 AM

Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide in the Bay area

Anyone who has been to southern Germany knows how great the pretzels are - turns out that you need soda lye water to get the crust right - Anyone know where I can get food grade sodium Hydroxide in the Bay Area?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. This thread on sourcing lye (sodium hydroxide) for curing olives might help you out. Please let us know what you find.

    1. If it's used in German baking, Lehr's most likely has it. Calcium hydroxide is readily available at Mexican markets.

      Lehr's German Specialties
      1581 Church St, San Francisco, CA

      5 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Lehr's unfortunately doesn't carry it. They do have Potash, but that's for cookies, not pretzel

          1. re: wolfe

            Thanks for the link. I've got a couple of pounds on order. All set for pretzels, homemade soap, drain cleaning....

            1. re: jlally

              That should last for quite a while since you use a dilute solution. Safe usage tips
              Make the lye solution: Don gloves and goggles. Place 1 quart of water in a plastic or glass container, weigh 1 ounce of food grade into a bowl and add slowly to the water, stirring with a plastic spoon or similar object.

            2. re: wolfe

              Thanks for the heads-up on Essential Depot. OK price, good delivery for true food grade lye. I'm happy to report that the pretzels turned out perfectly. Only downside - my German instructor now wants them for class each Saturday....

        1. May be you don't need lye.

          Can't seem to get the link to work. NY Times Sept 15 2010. Harold McGee discusses baked soda for lye-dipped pretzels. Google it. Or put the two below together.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

            Link didn't work for me. See this experiment. I know it probably lacks peer review.

          2. Traditionally a lot of Cantonese (e.g., wonton) noodles are prepared with lye to prevent the noodles from getting "soggy" or overly tender. I bet most large Asian grocery stores will sell bottles of lye at very low prices. I actually have a bottle of lye sitting inside my kitchen cabinet right now.

            1 Reply
            1. re: vincentlo

              Yep, find a big Asian grocery. I got a bottle of "lye water" at Pacific supermarket on Alemany in SF last weekend. There's different formulations of lye amongst the different brands; some have potassium hydroxide, or a blend of bases. The brand I got, "Tropics," has USP-grade sodium hydroxide and water only.