Does it really matter what grade lye I use

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Arimara

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If I get technical grade lye in a pinch if I can't get food grade lye? I was told my soap is trash because I didn't use food grade lye but I'm comfortable with my soap as it is.
 

shunt2011

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It really doesn't matter which you use. I've used both with no problem. I've even used hardware store lye. At long as it states 100% lye.
 

cmzaha

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I always use tech grade lye purchased in 50# bags, before that I used hardware store lye. Unless making bagels, pretzels etc that are dipped in lye why waste money on food grade?
 

Arimara

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That's actually the same thing I said, Carolyn, and I stated that soap rinses off. It's not like I'm making a lotion (yet) where I'd really have to scrutinize everything.

I guess someone wants me to try my hand at pretzels?
 

IrishLass

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As the others have said- tech-grade is perfectly fine. It's all I've used since day 1 of soaping, although I do have food-grade on hand for pretzel-making (it's the only way to make them if you ask me, i.e., instead of baking soda- huge difference).

And yes- I have tried my food-grade lye in about 8 of my batches, and can attest that there was absolutely no difference in the outcome of my soaps.


IrishLass :)
 

galaxyMLP

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I've used the lye from the hardware store and food grade as well. Couldn't tell a difference.

If you're worried about the difference in purity, it is likely not very different at all.

Most lye is make by the "chloroalkali" process which start with salt and water and runs an electric current through it. It is very unlikely that they would use rock salt in their reactions (that could be contaminated with heavy metals) because then you could create different side reactions which could present some problems during production. That means they probably use refined salt which is already low in heavy metal contaminants. So, in this case, tech grade and food grade are probably very close to one another. And probably differ in the handling after production or the place of manufacturers' certification.

I know that for a lot of lab grade stuff, the difference between one grade and another is actually the testing and certification done on it. Its possible that's some of whats happening with the lye. Of course, I'll never know for certain and this is just speculation.
 
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Arimara

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It's a good speculation, Galaxy.
 

JuneP

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In Germany they have a Bretzel roll that goes through the same dough dipping in food grade lye before baking.

Traditionally they serve it with lots of butter and camembert cheese as a breakfast choice. I bought food grade lye a couple of years ago and never got around to making those. I will do it one of these days. :)

Bagels boiled in food grade lye are AMAZING. Just saying.
 

IrishLass

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Laugen croissants (criossants dipped in a lye-wash before baking) are awesome, too. Gee-wiz I'm getting hungry!


IrishLass :)
 

JuneP

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Ooooh, we don't just do pretzels and rolls. We also have Laugencroissants, Laugenstangen, Laugenkonfekt, Laugenkranz, Laugenburger, Laugenecken...

We're a bit crazy for everything that has lye on it, but who could blame us. It's delicious!
Our daughter and her husband, who is German live i Munich and he makes those Bretzel rolls. Erin, our daughter says that he's gotten very good at making bagels too. I didn't know about the other rolls. They're ripping my kitchen out Nov,. 12 and it will be a month before I have a full functional kitchen, so baking will probably have to wait till next year!
 

quiltertoo

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You all have me curious now. I have made pretzels several times with the baking soda wash but never heard of a lye wash. How much lye to how much water. Is it a 1 minute dip like the baking soda wash?

Mary Lou
 

IrishLass

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annalee2003

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IrishLass, those look absolutely delicious! I've made pretzels before, but only with a baking soda solution. I think I will use a lye solution from now on.
My mouth is watering! It's overcast and drizzling rain here today, perfect day for baking :D
 
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