Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Would Never Tell A Lye

Now playing: Eurythmics - Would I Lie to You?
via FoxyTunes

I've been baking with my friend Lucie. You will find her recipe in her own words divided up among my pictures. I added a few words here and there. If you want to try this please read through all of the instructions first and set up a well planned mise en place. As, you can probably guess; working with lye can be tricky, messy and even dangerous, but with the proper set-up it is a lark and well worth it.

Yes, lye! It isn't so new. Hominy is made with lye. Olives are often cured with lye. Asian cuisine uses lye at times, noodles in particular. Of course, pretzels too, they taste better this way!

Laugenbroetchen/Laugenweckle (I think I found the Swabian name for it, is this right Lucie?)

This is for a starter dough, or what I learned to call a poolish, or sponge.

150 g bread flour
200 ml water
½ tsp salt
1 pinch dry yeast
Mix, cover and let rest overnight at room temperature at least 12 hours

600 g bread flour
250 – 300 ml half water half milk , warm
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry yeast
50 - 60 g butter ( or lard) at room temperature
8 g diastatic barley malt

Pictured is the malt with the German name for it.

With the standmixer, I make a rather wet dough and then slowly add more flour until the dough won’t stick to the bowl anymore. This is the consistency I like to work with. Then let knead for another 5 minutes.
Let dough rise about 1 hour, knead, let rise for another hour.

Divide dough into 100 g pieces. Shape round rolls and put on a floured baking sheet.
Let rise at room temperature for another hour.

Then let cool uncovered in the refrigerator for 1 ½ - 2 hours, so the outside will form a kind of a dry skin.


0.5 liter cold water
20 g NaOH Sodium Hydroxide food grade
Makes a 4% lye mixture

Put the NaOH into the water NEVER the other way around ( If you pour water onto NaOH the reaction is like boiling water which will result in a mess and maybe injuries, so be careful)
Stir until the NaOH is dissolved.
Use a heatproof glass bowl since the mixture will get quite warm.

The mixture is not very dangerous but still should be handled with care.
If you get it on your skin, or anywhere else wash off right away.
The lye will dull surfaces of any kind, when not cleaned right away.
I cover my countertop with plastic sheets and wear old clothes, safety goggles and rubber gloves while handling the lye.
Also I use old baking sheets only for making those rolls. The lye is going to “eat” through the parchment paper and over time destroys the coating.

The lye can be used 4 times for the recipe above. I pour it in a Ball jar to store it.
Be careful to label it and store it in a safe place.

Dunk the rolls into the lye for about 3 seconds. Put on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, let the lye dry a couple of minutes.

Just before baking sprinkle the rolls with coarse sea salt and with a very sharp knife ( I use my boning knife) cut across the top. Make a deep cut so the rolls have room to rise while baking.

Bake at Conv 400 F for 15 minutes.

Cool on a rack so they don't sing 'I am a Man of Constant Sorrow' by the SOGGY BOTTOM boys.

Want to know more? Look here:



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