Use of Chemicals to influence Maillard reaction and flavor
I have questions concerning the use of chemicals for dipping baked goods into. Specifically pertaining to pretzels. Specifically these chemicals- Lye, Potassium Hydroxide, Calcium Hydroxide (Lime), Sodium Carbonate, Baking Soda, Salt, and Alkaline Water. My reasoning for choosing all of these ingredients is because they are alkaline and influence the Maillard Reaction. Which is essentially where the color and taste of a pretzel comes from.
1) Does anyone know what are the common or rare/secret ingredients, used in the browning solution that gives pretzels their color and taste? I know Lye (NaOH, Sodium Hydroxide, Caustic Soda) is the main ingredient responsible for the distinct flavor/color, as well as baking soda and sodium carbonate (Washing Soda) being the more common ones used.
2) I've never used Potassium Hydroxide (Caustic Potash, KOH), but I know it has similar properties as Lye. Does anyone know its affects on flavor? I know it influences the Maillard Reaction.
2a)Also, I plan to mix these chemicals together in water, are there any adverse effects when mixing these two togther?
3) Does anyone know if alkaline water would be better suited for my needs instead of tap or filtered water? I figure it couldn't hurt considering the objective is to increase alkalinty in the solution to enhance flavor and color. The soltuion is already becoming alkaline with the addition of any of the chemicals listed.
4) I've seen some browning solutions contain salt in addition to lye, but never any of the other ingredients previously listed. I have very limited knowledge and experience with Chemistry, so I don't want to just go a head mixing up strong alkalie solutions and injure myself. Does anyone, with reputable knowledge of Chemistry, have any ideas if I can mix Lye, Sodium Carbonate, Calcium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, and Salt, in multiple combinations of ingredients and amounts?
4a)Also, when mixing the lye bath, the goal is a 4% or weaker solution. If I add other alkaline ingredients, how will I have to compensate to still achieve a 4% solution?
4b)Or should the solution total 4% of whatever ingredients being added to the solution? Meaning, in 1000g of water I only have 40g to play with. Do all the ingredients added have to total 40g?
4c)Or can I just add 4% of each ingedient, meaning, each ingredient is 40g in 1000g of water. For example, if I have 1000g Water and I add Potassium Hydroxide and Lye, should I add 40g of each ingredient equalling 4% each, but now totaling 8%?
20g Lye= 2%
10g Potassium Hydroxide= 1%
5g Sodium Carbonate= .5%
Total= 4% Alkaline Solution
40g Potassium Hydroxide= 4%
40g Lye= 4%
80g combined= 8% Alkaline Solution
How alkaline of a solution can only be determined with a pH meter/strip.
I realize that these ingredients all do the same thing, just in varying degrees, which is why I'm interested to know their effects when mixed together. It's not about picking which is best, but which are best together.
If you don't know about all of the ingredients, the most important ones to consider are the Lye, Potassium Hydroxide, Calcium Hydroxide, Sodium Carbonate (in order of importance), and how they react together, and any insight into their effects on flavor.
Thank you in advance for any contributions.