Best Soaping Temperature for Slow Trace?

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twaburds

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Hi,

I am wondering how people find the temperature you mix your oils and lye water affects trace?

I am a relative newbie with maybe a dozen or so batches under my belt and I have tried soaping at between 110-130F and under 100F.

I find I reach a more even trace at higher temperatures whereas at lower temps it tends to trace under the stick blender, almost starting t rice sometimes, and takes longer for the rest to trace and by the time it has all reached a trace it is medium.

I am making very small test batches (say 500g) so wonder if this affects it?

I am looking for a light trace so wondered if best to soap higher or lower?

Thanks in advance!

Ashley
 

shunt2011

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That's hard to give an answer to. There are many things that affect things when you make soap. So, it will vary from recipe to recipe. High olive oil you can soap cooler than a recipe with a lot of hard oils and butters. It's mostly finding that happy spot for your recipe. I don't use a thermometer I just go by my recipe and feel and experience.
 

penelopejane

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^^^^ yes!

If you are coming to trace before your ingredients are mixed SB before adding lye. (Good for hard butters that have to be melted and kept warm or they separate and form swirls or dots-for me anyway!)
Or only SB for half your usual time and hand mix the rest. That gives you a little better control.
 

cmzaha

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^^You are really not coming to trace before adding in the lye solution. If your oils are thickening up and you are using some butters they can start to re-solidify and thicken up. Also if soaping a high butter recipe with cool lye and room temp oils you can end up with the same thickening which is referred to as false trace, it is again the butters cooling down and trying to re-solidify. With tallows and butters it is best to be above room temp and not use chilled or cold lye solution. Like Shari I do not use a thermometer but soap by feeling the temp of my bucket. Olive Oil and lard will help slow trace in a recipe as will cutting down on castor oil. In my slow trace recipe I do not use over 3% castor and it really makes a difference. As you get more experience you will be able to recognize when your batter has come to a stable emulsion and not take it to trace to gain more working time.
 

DeeAnna

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I agree with what the others are saying -- soap as warm as needed to ensure your solid fats are fully melted but no warmer than that.

What I find as or more important is the amount of stick blending -- less is more if you want a long working time. In a recent video I made of a gardener's soap that has mostly lard, a dab of coconut oil, and 5% castor. The fats were comfortably warm to the touch -- 110-120 degrees F. That is plenty warm enough to keep lard fully melted. I stick blended for a total of 10 seconds in about 2 minutes of elapsed time to get the soap to a stable emulsion. I worked with the soap for another 19 minutes before it hit heavy trace.
 

Luv2Soap

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I 100% agree with DeeAnna. Too many times my solid fats began to re-solidify because I wanted to wait until everything came to 'room temperature' before I soaped. My suggestion is somewhere between 100 and 110 degrees F if you're using a recipe with a high volume of solid fats. If not, you can push this down a little to somewhere between 95-105 IMHO :)
 

JuneP

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I soap at room temperature; but my hard oils are only 48% in my usual recipe. So if you have a high percentage of your hard oils in butters (the most % of butters I use is 8 or 9% and I usually use mango butter), then room temperature wouldn't work well. I've seen recipes with 20% butters! And I pretty much stop using the stick blender at emulsion, or use it very little afterwards for mixing in colorants.
 

lisajudy2009

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I found cooler the oils and lye the quicker they trace. And that they are the same temp. I am not super experienced but that's my finding. :)
 

cmzaha

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^^^they are most likely not tracing but trying to re-solidfy and thickening up,(referred to as "false trace", which is not truly tracing. Usually once the exothermic reaction of the lye gets going it will start melting, thinning back out, and change color as true emulsion then trace is happening. Lard is the one, as mentioned above, that can be very pesky and not properly saponify if soaped to cool.
 
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