Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Feb 26, 2011 12:20 PM

Food Grade Lye

Does anyone in Ottawa or Toronto know where I can find it? I've recently found a recipe that requires the product to be briefly cooked in a solution with thisas a portion of the liquid, before baking, but I can't seem to find it. Can anyone help me?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Would that "something" be pretzels?

    1 Reply
    1. re: table4onthefly

      Similar to pretzels, cooked the same way, but they're croissants. Sometimes nicknamed pretzel croissants - in German laugancroissants.

    2. Chinese grocery stores have something called "lye water" used for cooking.
      Otherwise it's basically lye like you can buy at the hardware store mixed with water. You're looking for "sodium hydroxide"
      Be careful.

      From a similar post on the Los Angeles board

      8 Replies
      1. re: monku

        Thanks. We have a big Asian grocery store here in Ottawa, I'll go have a look. The recipe dilutes it right down and apparently the chemical reaction is not harmful. At least now I have the proper name to look for!

        1. re: RuralDeb

          Did you happen to find it at that grocery store by chance?

          1. re: IvannaPretzel

            No, never did but I used baking soda and it gave a nice shine so it worked out ok. Thanks for asking.

            1. re: RuralDeb

              hey ruraldeb -- how did the pretzel croissants turn out? i am a huge fan of the pretzel croissant from city bakery in NYC and have always been curious as to how that's done. would it be possible to share (or point me toward) the recipe you used?


              1. re: autopi

                They were good but a lot of work. I'll try and find the recipe and pass it on. I just don't know if I can find it again.

                1. re: autopi

                  Someone on Chow did find it for me - you might want to search for the recipe in posts while you're waiting.

                  1. re: RuralDeb

                    thanks -- did a quick search and found it on the home cooking board. i was always curious as to how they could do the lye bath w/o destroying the pastry, but reading the recipe made me realize the water doesn't have to be boiling, which was the part i was getting hung up on.

                    1. re: autopi

                      Glad you found the recipe, good luck with the lye!

        2. Bump.

          Anyone know of a source for Food Grade Lye in Toronto ?

          4 Replies
          1. re: PoppiYYZ

            Go to almost any large Asian supermarket ...get yourself to the aisle where the sauces and condiments are kept and look for the area with KoonChun brand products.
            Amidst the soy, hoisin, and other sauces you'll see bottles labeled "Potassium Carbonate".

            This is a very alkaline solution (like lye) and should fit the bill. Just be sure to read up on it to keep yourself safe.

            1. re: PoppiYYZ

              Not sure where in the GTA you are, but Top Foods (an asian grocery store) on Brown's Line at the Gardiner carries it.

              1. re: FrenchSoda

                Thanks FS.

                I get to Long Branch occasionally. Will stop by TF next time (after picking up a Cuban Sandwich from Havana Style too !!).

                Thanks again.

                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                  You're welcome. :)

                  I need to get over to try one of those sandwiches as well. They are in walking distance of my place, I have no excuse...!