Glazing Your Bread With....

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by isa, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. isa

    isa

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    ...Lye????


    In Rose Levy Beranbaum new book's The Bread Bible, she used a lye solution to glaze a pretzel bread. The recipe, she says is from Daniel Boulud's chef boulanger.


    She writes:

    Lye 4% Solution:

    9.5g lye
    236g water
    3.3g salt, preferably sel gris

    You are to use 2 tablespoons of this solution for each batch of bread.


    I've never heard of using lye in any food. I'm not sure what to make of this....
     
  2. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Lutefisk! :lips:
     
  3. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Food grade lye is commonly used to give pretzels their unique exterior. It's NOT the same as drain lye!! A lot of bakers nowadays use a baking soda solution, which yeilds a similar result. I've never used lye, myself.
     
  4. isa

    isa

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    Thank you Momo for clearing that up.


    Rose Levy Beranbaum is talking of Red Devil lye that can be found in hardware or plumbing stores. Is it really safe??


    Could you please give me the proportion for the replacing glaze with baking soda?


    Thanks!
     
  5. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Using lye in baking especially cookies has a long tradition in Greece, they use it especially in melomakarona.

    I have never heard of using lye in glazing though.

    Interesting. Will you try it Isa?
     
  6. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Red Devil, eh? I'm sure she knows what she's talking about, but I have always understood that baker's lye is somehow different. As far as I know, the proportions for baking soda are the same as for lye: 1 tablespoon per quart of cold water, then brought to a boil.
     
  7. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    The following definition is what I found at the online dictionary and something tells me one must be absolutely certain of the exact composition before proceeding with the recipe in order to avoid deadly consequences:

    Main Entry: lye
    Pronunciation: 'lI
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English lEag; akin to Old High German louga lye, Latin lavare, lavere to wash, Greek louein
    Date: before 12th century
    1 : a strong alkaline liquor rich in potassium carbonate leached from wood ashes and used especially in making soap and washing; broadly : a strong alkaline solution (as of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide)
    2 : a solid caustic (as sodium hydroxide)
     
  8. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    This is exactly what we call lye in Greece :)

    Everybody who has a fireplace can prepare lye. A teaspoon of ashes solved in a glass of water makes enough lye for one dosage of melomakarona. Very scientific measurements :p
     
  9. isa

    isa

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    This seems like a mistake. I don't klnow if Rose Levy Berambaum really tried that recipe and ate the results but I'm not willing to take a chance with this glaze. If it is so powerful that you are advise to wear a mask and gloves to glaze your bread and you should not taste it, I won't make it. I'll use Momo's glaze or try to find ash and try Athenaeus's glaze.



    All I am looking for is to try pretzels not clear my drains.....
     
  10. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Still, I find it extravagant, why not use the old safe way to glaze bread?
     
  11. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Athenaeus, what is the function of lye in melomakarona? I've made them according to a couple of recipes (one used olive oil for shortening, the other used butter, etc.). Does it make them crisp?

    I recall a similar discussion about baker's ammonia and the kind you clean with a while back. Those were different compounds, too as I recall.
     
  12. isa

    isa

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    I'd feel safer using Momo's baking soda replacement or your lye recipe Athenaeus than the red devil kind....
     
  13. salingergroupie

    salingergroupie

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    I have been eating Louga Bretzeln (pretzels made with lye) for most of my life. After the last of the local Philadelphia bakeries to produce these closed, I had the luck to speak with the owner of this bakery, and get as detailed instructions as he could give me about the making of Louga Bretzeln. I have detailed instructions if anyone would want them. But as a background, I found out that it is in fact fine to use soap-grade lye from the cleaning isle at your supermarket, to baste the pretzels. VERY importantly, though, it is necessary to first boil the lye in a water dilution. Lye is used commonly as rat poison, but is not toxic, per se. It's danger and rat-killing property is that dry lye, when wettened, heats up. The lye a rat swallows essentially burns out the inside of the rat, with heat. (Sorry for the graphic description, there!). -- Now, for the good part! Louga Bretzeln, which are native to South Western Germany (Schwaben), are made by basting the ready-to-bake pretzels with the pre-boiled solution. They are then to be cooked on a baker's screen (a screen one would fry or bake doughnuts on), and the lye will mostly cook off, but lend a buttery flavour that I do not think can be duplicated or approximated, otherwise. (Haven't tried the baking soda thing, though). They are delish beyond compare, and best eaten heated in the toaster overn, split in half, with unsalted whipped butter. Alternatively, German smoke-cured ham such as Westfalienschinken, Lachsschinken, or Schwqarzwalderschinken (close to Prosciutto) can be eaten, with butter, on a baked louga pretzel sandwich.
     
  14. siduri

    siduri

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    Is lye the same as quicklime? You use it to make olives, right? I have a small olive tree on my terrace and it makes olives. I tried to find the recipe to make them edible and they all included quicklime. I guess that's lye. Unless i'm translating the italian term wrong.
     
  15. shoemaker

    shoemaker

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    I grew up just outside of Philadelphia (Bristol PA) and good pretzels are one thing I do miss about the area. Well, that and going down the shore :cool: .... and real pizza and hoagies and cheesesteaks. This southern food just ain't the same ;)
     
  16. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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  17. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Siduri, please see my previous post.
     
  18. siduri

    siduri

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    ok, kokopuffs, thanks. Neither of them (lye or quicklime) are things i'd expect to find in my food, but i guess they are!
     
  19. sourdoughty

    sourdoughty

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    I would love an authentic recipe for Louga Bretzeln! I have tried baking soda pretzels - a waste of time. They do firm a little bit of the classic pretzel colour, but taste like soda bread, not pretzels. The only pretzels I have been able to find for sale are never fresh enough, often too sweet, and never a patch on the delicious fresh ones in Germany.

    I found a recipe for melomakarona which referenced home-making lye http://www.terrasparta.com/en/syntages/20-2010-12-30-12-48-46.html I hear traditional moustalevria used lye, though can't figure out how. Used to process olives. For hominy corn. Lutefisk already mentioned.

    It seems that lye made from wood ash, is mainly a solution of a mix of potash and caustic soda. I remember hearing that ash trees produce an ash richer in the second, so different trees may give ash with different properties - this ratio was important in how hard or soft a soap the lye can make. There could be heavy metals apparently in wood ash, but I can only assume this would be if they were in the soil the tree grew in - basically only from trees grown in polluted soils. I can't find anything clear about the risks of cleaning-product lye, but I guess it's about scents of additives for texture/colour etc. Also the lack of potash may mean getting only one side of the flavour effect..

    The dissolving of caustic soda into water creates heat, and if put in an aluminum pan it will react creating flammable hydrogen - an explosive cocktail to happen with a caustic liquid! On top presumably of seriously damaging the pan! Definitely stuff to approach with caution, and not with any aluminium pots