Where to buy food-grade lye for German Laugenbrezeln

Does anyone know where to by food-grade lye either as a poweder or liquid?  I would like to make German Laugenbrezeln and lye is the essential ingredients.  I'm in Melbourne.


Following is a link to a site that uses the words "Food Grade Lye" http://www.aaa-chemicals.com/sodium-hydroxide.html

Thank you for the link wforrest_s, however, the company is in US and shipps only to US and Canada (I'm in Melbourne - Australia).

I bought a bottle to make sour dough pretzels from an asia supermarket  almost on the corner of Nicholson St and Victoria St  Abbotsford

Thanks pansyflower, I'll check asian supermarkets.  

Any info on the bottle about percentage/strength of the lye?  Or what is it used for?

How did your precels turn out?


They turned out great I got the recipe from my first sour dough book it is  called Breads from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton it is a great book .It is still available in Australia or you could buy it from Amazon it even has recipes for using up excess starter eg sourbough pancakes my partner made they when he was alive also my starter recipe came from this book and it is now fourteen years old There are no instructions on the bottle but I use 15mls to1.25 lt but you have to ware long rubber glove and goggles as it is caustic

Hi pansyflower,

I've found a bottle of LYE WATER in an Asian supermarket.  I've made bretzeln, dipped them in a bit stronger solution than you did, but they didn't have the look or taste of German bretzeln.  Just nice bretzel shaped bread.

The lye I bought is potassium carbonate.  The lye for German bretzeln should be made of sodium hydroxide.  I've found a few sources in Perth and Tasmania, but as a "dangerous" chemical, it can't be shipped, not even in small amounts.  So I'll keep searching for it in Melbourne.

Check out www.essentialdepot.com , their Lye is cheap and has no impurities, which is great for food use! 

 Dear Bill,

Essential depot are an US company and do not deliver anywhere outside of the US. Does anyone know a food grade lye provider in Australia?


hey everyone, just to keep you guys updated, Essential Depot ( www.essentialdepot.com ) is selling high quality food grade Lye, 2lb's for 3.44

                                                                                     hey everyone, back once again with yet another update!  Essential Depot is giving out the discount code "EDPC10"  worth a 10% discount on your total order cost - including shipping and handling!

Well, just a few days ago i came across this recipe for these really tasty pretzels, (and yes, they are mighty tasty) and as much as i would lke to share the finished product with you guys i cant, but ill share the next best thing, the recipe.. so here it is ....ENJOY!


2 envelopes dry yeast
1 qt. milk, 2% is fine
1/2 c. warm water
3/4 c. shortening (I mix lard & butter & flavored Crisco)
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
12 c. all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
Coarse salt to sprinkle


2 level tbsp. lye
2 quarts. cold water

Soften yeast in 1/2 cup water. Scald milk. Stir in shortening. Cool . Add yeast with 6 cups flour. Beat, vigorously. Cover, sit in warm place until risen , this takes just about 30 minutes.

Add remaining flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix until well blended. Turn out on smooth surface. Cover with moist towel 3 minutes. Knead until elastic. Put in big kettle. Cover with towel.  Put in warm place and Let rise until it has doubled in size, usually takes  1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into quarters then Cut quarters into 12 pieces. Cover with towel. Roll each piece into long strip for twisting. Place on stainless steel baking sheet, then put one at a time, pretzels on slotted, stainless steel lifter, dip very briefly in lye, usually a 3-5 second bath, drain on lifter and place back on sheet. As soon as cookie sheet is full, sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in 400 degree oven until brown, about 15 minutes. Place on dry towel to cool. Cover twisted pretzels with towel until half raised.

IMPORTANT: Lye creates a volotile reaction with aluminum! aluminum sheets or dipping tool CANNOT BE USED. Also, I spray sheets with Pam, so there is no sticking.


Hi everyone. I still don't think the original question has been answered. Does anyone know where you can source food-grade lye that CAN BE SHIPPED TO AUSTRALIA? I'm baking bagels the old-fashioned way and want to give it a go.


I recently conducted some research for a potential client that wanted to make pretzels. In regards to lye, no supplier I contacted was prepared to sell sodium hydroxide as 'food grade'. My advice to my potential client was to have several styles of sodium hydroxide tested for impurities at a food lab. Ideally both the sodium hydroxide and the finished pretzel would be tested.

Unfortunately the tests did not proceed due to various OHS reasons. However I am happy to get the testing done for the Sourdough Companion forum if someone has $ for this type of thing. Impurity testing would probably cost around $250 per product, depending on what we are looking for.

After many phone calls, one product stood out as having the most potential (in Australia) for pretzel making...would suggest testing this one first. It does appear that it can be shipped btw, within Australia and with an appropriate carrier. Graham

For those who are looking for lye water, go to Springvale, one of the store opposite the butcher shop sell the lye water. Pls show a picture of the lye water bottle because when I asked they told me that they don't sell it and I decided to show the picture and they easily understand what I'm talking about. Good luck!