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after making batch larger the soap gelled in the middle

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Stjarnir

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Hi. I need help with this.
I have made a Room temperature method soap, same recipe for 4 yrs now. Have always made it in 500g batches. And then poured into single soap silicone forms after. Getting 20 single soaps out of the batch

Now I wanted to make double as much. A 1000g batch with the same recipe. In a wooden box, (the sides and bottom are around 5mm thick), which I then have to cut into single soaps after. But my problem after trying 3 times, is that the soap gelled in the middle.
How would that be, am I doing something wrong, or should I go back to how I did it before? Maybe my recipe isn't cut for larger batches and forms?

I have thought about it, and tried to make it work. Hope someone can help me.
I use coconut milk (half of the liquid amount is coconut milk, that I poure in after the soap has traced). I also put 2 tbsp honey in after it traces.

First try: I used CP method instead of room temperature method.
Second try: I used CP method. Tried to bring the oil mixture and lye solution to similar temperatures. I stopped at around 45-50 celcius. Because the lye turned white??? (can anyone explain this).
Third try: CP method where I tried to bring the temperature a little more down, but was worried about the lye turning white, so I couldn't get it down to 32 degrees celsius. I had the coconut milk in the fridge and the honey in the freezer.
It all looked good, also when I poured it in the wooden box. I was so happy, but after 15 min. I noticed, that the middle had startet to gel again. I then put the soap in the freezer to coole it down, but it still gelled in the middle.

Does anyone know, if there is another way, or what I'm doing wrong? Maybe alot :) I'm still learning to make soap. MAybe I should use the room temperature method, but am not sure if the lye solution produces enough heat to melt all the hard oils.

Thank you
 

TeresaGG

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Okay, reasons first. The soap is insulating itself as it has a larger mass. Also possibly the wood can be more insulating then silicone.
Possible solutions. Wrap it up and let it go to full gel so you don't have any lines between gel and ungelled. Or, knowing that it gels, try immediately popping it in the freezer.
Just my thoughts. I'm not super experienced.
 

shunt2011

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I always gel my load molds. It’s extremely difficult to get it not to. Especially with milk and honey in it. I would insulate it to get full gel personally.
 

earlene

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Your biggest difference that is causing the gelling is the volume of the molds. Before you used individual molds and now you are using a box-type or loaf-type mold. If you don't want gel, the best way with that much heat producing ingredients is to go back to individual molds.

Not sure why the lye turns white if nothing else has changed and it never did before. Maybe the volume of the lye is partly to blame for that. After all, you did double the recipe. I assume you re-ran the changes through a lye calculator to make sure all numbers for weights are correct?
 

BrewerGeorge

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I hope this doesn't sound condescending, but just to be clear: You know it's not a problem if it gels, right?

Your description makes it sound really bad... Could you mean 'overheat' instead of gel? Is it wrinkly and weepy in the middle or just clearer/gelled?
 

Stjarnir

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. So, as I understand, it's the mass, and therefore it's not easy for the batch not to gel.
So either I should insulate and get the whole batch to gel or I should go back to my old method :)

BrewerGeorge :) I know it's not a problem, but I liked the other colour better, it was creamy white, now it's brown. And the people I sold them to, don't recognise the soap. So now, from all the answers, I'm finally sure that I can't make a large batch with milk and honey in it, without the soap going to gel.
I probably will go back to what I used to do.
 

SaltedFig

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To avoid gelling in this slightly larger batch size, there are a number of things you can do:
1/ Melt your oils to just liquid and then leave them to get as cool as possible (until they just start to form solid bits at the edges is fine)
2/ Dissolve your lye in cold water, this does not need heating (it will heat itself), cover it and leave it to cool
3/ Add honey to the lye water ... it will heat back up again, but this heat will be generated before you add it to the soap, not in the soap itself
4/ Reduce the amount of water in your soap (less water means the soap needs to get hotter to gel, which makes it easier to stop gelling altogether). For example, if you have been soaping at at 30% lye solution, try changing to a 33% lye solution
5/ Lightly cover the soap with a cotton cloth or curtain (don't let the cloth touch the soap - it's just to to keep dust off) and cool the soap on a soap rack with air flow (fan/breeze) over the soap - the air movement will carry away some heat.

There are extra steps you could take, but these should more than enough to stop gelling in a 1kg batch (you might be able to just do up to step 3 - adding the honey to the lye water could be enough to stop gelling).

I stopped at around 45-50 celcius. Because the lye turned white??? (can anyone explain this).
Gas is less soluable at higher temperatures.

You can sometimes see the same effect if you fill a large (clear) jug with very hot water from your tap (run the tap for a few moments first).
The tap water will appear white initially, and as the water cools, it will go clear (from the bottom up, as the gases rise to the surface).

If you are making hot lye solutions, cover your container while it cools (and avoid breathing the fumes)
 

lucycat

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A wooden log mold will insulate more than a silicone mold. Consider purchase of a silicone mold that is self supporting (not one that has to be in a wooden box). You would still have to take some precautions for partial gel but it would make it easier.
 

Stjarnir

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A wooden log mold will insulate more than a silicone mold. Consider purchase of a silicone mold that is self supporting (not one that has to be in a wooden box). You would still have to take some precautions for partial gel but it would make it easier.
Have you tried stainless steel mold? My boyfriend has the opportunity to make one. And then I will use silicone lining inside?
 

SaltedFig

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Have you tried stainless steel mold? My boyfriend has the opportunity to make one. And then I will use silicone lining inside?
I'm sure your boyfriend would know, but for the "just in case" ... tell him he'll need to use different rods to weld the stainless - if he uses the same ones he uses for high carbon steel, you'll end up with rust spots in your soaps at the joints.

Stainless molds make it a lot easier to control the heat of the soap.

You don't need a silicone lining inside, but a liner (it doesn't have to be silicone - any soap-suitable flexible sheet would work) is handy if your mold is stiff, otherwise you will be left waiting for the soap to release from the mold in it's own time. Upside: stainless molds tolerate being upturned and thumped (to get the soap out) really well ... :)
 

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