The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

cold lye vs boiling lye


cold lye vs boiling lye

Hi guys,


i'm making brioche buns and want a dark brown exterior. Do i need to dip the proofed buns into a boiling lye solution or will a cold lye solution work?

what does the temperature of the lye solution have to do with the end result? is it simply to get a chewy exterior? if so and a cold dip will effect the PH then i'm leaning towards using a cold dip to preserve the soft exterior but achieve a dark brown colour. what are your thoughts? anyone have the knowledge to steer me in the right direction?





MichaelLily's picture

A cold dip will work just fine, but remember that lye is a salt and as such is very salty (pretzely). For a good example of what lye does, bake a blank pretzel and bake a lye pretzel and taste them both. It is true you can use a very weak lye solution instead, but it is the sugars in brioche that cause the intense browning. Lye should not be needed. Even at a very low dilution, lye can dramatically change texture (think good bagels). I recommend using an egg wash and maybe starting at a high baking temp and lowering it after 10 mins or so.

pmccool's picture

Egg wash is definitely the way to go for this bread, not lye.