Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Ingredient

Food-grade Lye

Buy Now
Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Buy Now
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note
Buy Now

aka

Sodium Hydroxide, Caustic Soda

What is it?

Sodium hydroxide, an alkaline compound that has been used for centuries to cure olives, make hominy from corn, to alkalize cocoa, and in some Asian cuisines. Dunking pretzels in a lye bath before baking is what gives them their characteristic shiny, mahogany-colored shell.

How to use it

Lye is very caustic; if can sting your skin and stain or pit some work surfaces, so use caution when working with it. Wear protective gloves. If they are nondisposable, wash them in cool soapy water and rinse well after using. If splashes occur, immediately rinse with cool water.

Use a stainless-steel bowl to hold a lye bath. Never let the lye come in contact with aluminum, including foil; lye reacts to aluminum, releasing flammable hydrogen gas.

Dispose of a lye bath by slowly pouring it down the sink drain and then flush the pipes with cold running water for a few seconds.

Don’t have it?

You can substitute a baking soda bath when making pretzels; however, the pretzels don’t come out quite so dark and shiny.

Click here to purchase

    Recipes

  • Recipe

    Bavarian-Style Soft Pretzels

    And an oil mister comes in handy because it releases less oil than a can of cooking spray does. Whichever you use, mist only as necessary to prevent the dough…

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Videos

View All

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.