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Advice for superfatting?

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federalist

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How do you determine the amount of superfat? I've seen lots of recipes that use 3% to 8%. But coconut soaps can contain as much as 20% superfat!

And is it okay to add the superfat at trace? I was thinking that it might be neat to superfat with a specific skin-conditioning oil like avocado oil. So if I am making a lard/CO/OO, would it be okay to make the superfat all avocado-oil by adding that in at trace, thereby separating it from the oils that get saponified?
 

TeaLeavesandTweed

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How do you determine the amount of superfat? I've seen lots of recipes that use 3% to 8%. But coconut soaps can contain as much as 20% superfat!

And is it okay to add the superfat at trace? I was thinking that it might be neat to superfat with a specific skin-conditioning oil like avocado oil. So if I am making a lard/CO/OO, would it be okay to make the superfat all avocado-oil by adding that in at trace, thereby separating it from the oils that get saponified?
If you are making CP soap, you would calculate a lye discount, and the superfat would be whatever didn't saponify. You don't get to choose which oils those are. So you just weigh your oils, calculate how much lye you need to saponify all of it, and then subtract however much you want to superfat. For example, if you want a 5% superfat, you would use 95% of the lye needed to saponify all the oil. Remember that saponification may begin at trace, but it doesn't end there. For CP soap, saponification can continue for days after you pour the batter into a mold, so any oils added at trace are part of the saponification party.

If you want a specific oil to be your superfat, you need to hot-process the soap with no lye discount and then add the extra oil after saponification is complete, which is well after trace.
 

shunt2011

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You can pick your superfat by changing what you would like it to be right in the soap calculator. It's default is 5%. I generally SF at 7% and 20% for 100% CO Bath Soap and Salt bars.

As for adding your SF after trace when doing CP it wouldn't make a difference as the lye is still active. To pick your SF you would need to do Hot Process and add them after the cook.
 

BrewerGeorge

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...

As for adding your SF after trace when doing CP it wouldn't make a difference as the lye is still active. To pick your SF you would need to do Hot Process and add them after the cook.
I've read variations on this online a lot, but I don't understand it. Of course you can't guarantee that ALL your superfat will be a particular oil by adding it after trace. However, chemical reactions occur based on probability and probabilities increase with concentration. Though there will be some free alkalinity left at trace, there won't be as much since a good portion of it will have already paired up with the bulk oils. It would seem to me, then, that you could improve your chances of having more (not all) of a specific oil remain unsaponified by adding it later in the process.

Why would that be wrong?
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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That would be wrong. At trace, the binding has begun, but takes about 24+ hours for it to finish, unless heat it added. During this time the lye can still easily break the bond with the oil and, for example, bond with your skin!

DeeAnna explained it best along these lines - at a dance, people are pairing up. But no one has gone home with anyone at that stage so a new comer can still hook up with someone.

Kevin Dunn also did some quantifiable experiments on this and found no difference between adding at trace or with the oils at the start - the final superfat was so similar that it would make no difference
 

shunt2011

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Thanks TEG.... I was just going to respond pretty much the same way. DeeAnna explained it so clearly.
 

mymy

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Just for the ease of mind, I'd like to clear a doubt. If I use soapcalc and set the superfat at 5% it does mean that there's 5% of oil that didn't saponify, correct?

What if i want a specific oil to not be saponified for an example I set the SF to 1% for all of the oil I use in the blend just to be safe as oil does stick to the measuring cup. At trace, I add the remaining 4% of luxury oil that I want the benefits such as Argan oil. Wrong theory by me?
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Aye, it is wrong - if you add an oil like argon at trace, it will still saponify as if you added it at the start.

The only way to have a chance of selectively superfatting is to use hp and add the other oil after the cook
 

mymy

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Aye, it is wrong - if you add an oil like argon at trace, it will still saponify as if you added it at the start.

The only way to have a chance of selectively superfatting is to use hp and add the other oil after the cook
Ahhhh silly me! I didn't think of that. CP is really tricky. So, my theory is only work for HP right? So is it ok if I set the SF value to 1%?
 

Dharlee

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That would be wrong. At trace, the binding has begun, but takes about 24+ hours for it to finish, unless heat it added. During this time the lye can still easily break the bond with the oil and, for example, bond with your skin!
Your skin? Wow! Scary, that!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Your skin? Wow! Scary, that!

Okay, maybe 'bond' was the wrong word - but as you know, until the lye is totally bonded with the oils, it can still burn.

Anyone thinking that an oil added at trace won't react with the lye should try putting a finger in that same trace-batter and see if there is a reaction!

Safety notice - do not try putting your fingers in soap batter.
 

mymy

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Okay, maybe 'bond' was the wrong word - but as you know, until the lye is totally bonded with the oils, it can still burn.

Anyone thinking that an oil added at trace won't react with the lye should try putting a finger in that same trace-batter and see if there is a reaction!

Safety notice - do not try putting your fingers in soap batter.
I keep cleaning my utensils used for soapmaking bare handedly and I notice my hands didn't like it. Gotta use some protections next time.
 
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