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Avoiding Gel Phase

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Anna Fieldhouse

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What is the best method to prevent gel phase? I want to keep the nice creamy colours of ungelled soaps but have found leaving it out on the worktops creates a partial gel. Did a test tonight, soaped at room temp, poured into loaf mould, sprayed with 99% alcohol then put it in the freezer. I’ve just checked on it and it has wrinkly top. I’m wondering if it’s the alcohol? Anyone have any experience with this?
 

TheGecko

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Yes, alcohol can cause wrinkles. If you’re going to chill your soap, you really don’t need to spray.
 

earlene

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Gelling is impacted by recipe, additives, fragrances, molds, and in some cases cannot be avoided by refrigeration. So, if you want to avoid gel altogether, look at all those factors.

High percentage of heat producing ingredients (sugars & liquids that contain sugars, such as alcohol beverages, coconut oil, certain fragrances) can created volcanoes even in the freezer, particularly if it's a large batch in one big mold.

A formula with few heat producing ingredients is less likely to gel, even when not refrigerated, particularly if soaped cool to start with and it's smaller batch or in smaller molds.

Smaller molds, and individual bar molds inhibit gel because there is less volume in the molds to heat up, and the surface area around a smaller mold provides greater cooling with the surrounding air.

If you increase the surfaces open to the air, it will decrease the heat inside the mold. When you leave the soap out on the worktops, are they raised on a rack that provides air to reach the bottom surface of the mold? Or are they flat on the worktop?

Are you able to soap any cooler than you do already? Can you use smaller molds to decrease the volume in the mold that is heating up?
 

Anna Fieldhouse

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Thank you. I have never raised my molds when putting them on the worktops. Would putting them on a wire rack work?
 

Anna Fieldhouse

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Gelling is impacted by recipe, additives, fragrances, molds, and in some cases cannot be avoided by refrigeration. So, if you want to avoid gel altogether, look at all those factors.

High percentage of heat producing ingredients (sugars & liquids that contain sugars, such as alcohol beverages, coconut oil, certain fragrances) can created volcanoes even in the freezer, particularly if it's a large batch in one big mold.

A formula with few heat producing ingredients is less likely to gel, even when not refrigerated, particularly if soaped cool to start with and it's smaller batch or in smaller molds.

Smaller molds, and individual bar molds inhibit gel because there is less volume in the molds to heat up, and the surface area around a smaller mold provides greater cooling with the surrounding air.

If you increase the surfaces open to the air, it will decrease the heat inside the mold. When you leave the soap out on the worktops, are they raised on a rack that provides air to reach the bottom surface of the mold? Or are they flat on the worktop?

Are you able to soap any cooler than you do already? Can you use smaller molds to decrease the volume in the mold that is heating up?
I could chill the oils and lye before soaping. Is there a minimum temp you can Soap at?
 

AliOop

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Yes, a wire rack will work. I wouldn’t chill the lye below 65F because it will precipitate out of solution. And you can get false trace if you chill certain oils or butters. Room temp should be fine.
 

earlene

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I could chill the oils and lye before soaping. Is there a minimum temp you can Soap at?
I'll add to what AliOop said (don't chill the lye below 65F because it will precipitate out of solution. And you can get false trace if you chill certain oils or butters...)
It really depends on your oils. Some hard oils will re-solidify at room temperature, so even that can be too cool. But for a recipe with enough liquid oils to keep the melted hard oils remaining clear (see-through), a comfortable room temperature is fine.
 
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