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Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide in the Bay area

jlally Dec 8, 2010 10:38 AM

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. Melanie Wong RE: jlally Dec 8, 2010 10:46 AM

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

    1. Robert Lauriston RE: jlally Dec 8, 2010 10:49 AM

      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
        jlally RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 8, 2010 11:36 AM

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

        1. re: jlally
          wolfe RE: jlally Dec 8, 2010 12:17 PM

          Suggested source from other Sodium hydroxide threads.
          Accept no substitutes.

          1. re: wolfe
            jlally RE: wolfe Dec 8, 2010 03:39 PM

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

            1. re: jlally
              wolfe RE: jlally Dec 8, 2010 04:19 PM

              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
              jlally RE: wolfe Dec 20, 2010 08:54 AM

              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....

        2. Gustavo Glenmorangie RE: jlally Dec 8, 2010 04:58 PM

          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
            wolfe RE: Gustavo Glenmorangie Dec 8, 2010 05:01 PM

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

          2. vincentlo RE: jlally Dec 10, 2010 12:34 AM

            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
              stilton RE: vincentlo Dec 10, 2010 03:54 AM

              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.

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