As I understand it (which is just barely), the lye provides alkalinity and that produces the snap. I've found arguments on all sides - some saying that you can control the pH with baking soda and others who feel strongly that for authentic crispness, you need lye. Even though this is food-grade lye, I think I'm too skittish to bring lye into my kitchen. Has anyone done this? Or found a great recipe that doesn't use it?
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(Oh, and $10 off your order of $50 or more in the Food52 Shop, too.)