Botched First Batch?

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JessieD

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Walk with me down the path of my first soap making experience long, long ago…..last monday. <gig>

Ok…I had done what I thought was a sufficient amount of research to step into the world of soap making instead of hovering around the edges looking in. There were a few things that I did right, and a few I did wrong. Some I can't explain, and am hoping for some advice with...

1. I found a basic recipe and put it through the lye calculator on SoapCalc.
Here it is:
Coconut oil 30%
Palm Oil 30%
Castor oil 10%
Sunflower Oil 15%
olive oil 10%
cocoa butter 5 %
I made a 3lb batch, so it calculated lye at 6.878oz and water at 18.24oz.

2.I went shopping. I live in a small town in northern Alberta…waaay north. It takes 5 hours to drive south to Edmonton. I don't have a lot of options and couldn't find many of the ingredients. I wasn't quite into ordering online either. I wanted to try it first. So…armed with SoapCalc…I changed the recipe to this:

30% Coconut
30% Lard
10% Castor
15% sunflower
15% Olive

3. I ran it through Soap Calc and got my lye/water measurements. Then I started measuring out my fats/oils. I hadn't done anything with the lye yet. The first thing I measured was my coconut…I hadn't bought enough. I ran back to the Soap Calc, put in the measurement that I did have, and readjusted by adding the difference in Lard. I had lots of Lard!
Then I measured my Castor Oil….I also didn't have enough….(apparently this stuff weighs less than I thought)…
Sooo…ran back to the calculator….added the missing castor oil to the sunflower and olive oil…recalculated the lye….was I ever GLAD I didn't mix the lye yet!
In the end…this was my recipe. Because I hadn't measured the lye yet…I was able to do it afterwards. It should be fine…in theory.

Coconut 26.67% (I know…)
Lard 33.33%
Castor Oil 6.67%
Sunflower Oil 17.67%
Olive oil 15.67%
3lb batch…5% Superfat…Lye 6.818oz…water 18.24oz.

4. Ok…here is where I made my biggest mistake (I think). I thought I could hand stir the soap. My grandmother did. My great grandmother did. They didn't own stick blenders! (Yes…I can be a little defiant…to my detriment)

2 hours of stirring later….I hit a very faint trace. I cried a little, and called it good enough.:cry:

5. I poured my soap into 4 moulds. To the first, I added nothing. The second got some cedar wood EO, the third got Tangerine EO, and the fourth got Spearmint EO. I mixed the EOs in and set the trays aside. The soap was sitting at about 80˚F by this time. I had added the lye to the oils at 110˚F…but after 2 hours of stirring….things got a little cool...:shifty: I didn't think gelling was something to even consider…so I set the moulds aside and walked away, wondering what on earth I had got myself into.

6. 24 hours later…All my soaps were still a little soft. Kinda like cream cheese. I decided to wait another 24hrs before unmoulding.

7. 48 hours later…everything had hardened up fairly well. My unscented was hard and so was my cedar wood. My tangerine and my spearmint were a little soft still but I could handle them. I took them out of the moulds and cut them and placed them on racks.

Fast forward to today….It's now been a week to the day. There is a milky white/ashy layer that is deeper than what can be wiped off with a soft cloth. Some of the soaps have it all around, some just on what the top was in the mould. Remember..I didn't cover them at all. I decided to get brave and zap test them. I was thinking my hand mixing may have failed…or something. I don't know.

Here is where it gets weird. I zap tested all 4. The unscented, Tangerine, and Sandalwood all zapped. The Spearmint didn't. :shock: What does this mean? Can any of it be saved? Just the spearmint? I have since bought a stick blender, should I try rebatching? If all were made in one batch, and the only difference is the EOs…shouldn't they all zap or not zap? ...Help…

Jessie
 

Hazel

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I double checked your recipe and the amounts looked fine. I don't know why three zapped and the spearmint didn't. Non-gelled soap does take a little longer to saponify but by now all the lye should have been used up. The longest I've ever had a batch keep zapping was 6 days and that was unusual. Normally, my batches are zapless after 3 days and that's with keeping them in the frig.

Just a suggestion: I'd wait a couple of days more to see if they're still zappy. If so, then I'd rebatch. Do you have a double boiler? I prefer using one for small loaves and it does sound like they may be a little small since you split the recipe 4 ways. This way you could keep them separate but I think you might lose some if not all of the scent from the EOs. Or you could combine the 3 into a crockpot. I think Tangerine Sandalwood sounds like a nice blend but it depends on what you like.
 

JessieD

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Just a suggestion: I'd wait a couple of days more to see if they're still zappy. If so, then I'd rebatch. Do you have a double boiler? I prefer using one for small loaves and it does sound like they may be a little small since you split the recipe 4 ways. This way you could keep them separate but I think you might lose some if not all of the scent from the EOs. Or you could combine the 3 into a crockpot. I think Tangerine Sandalwood sounds like a nice blend but it depends on what you like.
Thank you Hazel! I was beginning to think no one would attempt to reply to this. Lol. I know it sounds strange how it all worked out. :shock:

If I were to rebatch, should I just melt and mix and remould, or would you add anything to it first?
 

cmzaha

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You will need to add in some liquid, milk work great, and you might add in some extra oil 1-2 percent of your original oils weight. If there is still live lye the extra oil will be saponified and if not you have a higher superfatted soap. Weird that they are zappy with the calculations if your scale is reliable. For me rebatching in the oven gives me a much smoother, better pourable batter
 

JessieD

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Thank you cmzaha! I think I will try the oven method. I may mix my scents too, just to make life easier. There's no point in trying to keep them separate and possibly losing the scent anyway. Good to know that I will need more oil. I was wondering if that would be the case, since it was zapping. I'll post later how it turns out :D
 

dixiedragon

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Like you, when I made my first batch I was so excited I did 3 or 4 different scents and colors. Also, I added some camilla buds, which I highly do NOT recommend. :wink: When you try again (and you will, lol), try to contain yourself and just do ONE scent and/or ONE color. I know, I know - there are SO many awesome scents and colors and I want you to limit yourself to just one?! That's so CRUEL.

I
 

OverUnder

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Was it the softer soaps that formed ash all over or is it a mixed bag throughout the different types? If this was my soap I think my next experiment would be to cut into one of the zappy bars to see if the innards of the soap zapped as well. I'm not sure if a minor separation of lye would manifest as a coating on the outside of a bar.
 

JessieD

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Like you, when I made my first batch I was so excited I did 3 or 4 different scents and colors. Also, I added some camilla buds, which I highly do NOT recommend. :wink: When you try again (and you will, lol), try to contain yourself and just do ONE scent and/or ONE color. I know, I know - there are SO many awesome scents and colors and I want you to limit yourself to just one?! That's so CRUEL.
Haha! You think just like I do! And you're right. I tried again today…and I simplified things and slowed down a bit…..BUT I couldn't keep it too simple ;)…it was a goat milk/honey/oat recipe….but I didn't add anything other than the milk, honey and oats. No scent, no colours…and so far so good. But, I just made it this morning :). I didn't burn the milk though, so that has to be a good sign :thumbup:.

OverUnder said:
If this was my soap I think my next experiment would be to cut into one of the zappy bars to see if the innards of the soap zapped as well. I'm not sure if a minor separation of lye would manifest as a coating on the outside of a bar.
If I do this, and the inside doesn't zap, does that mean there is still hope for the soap?

Jessie
 

OverUnder

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If it was for personal use and this was the case I would still use the soap. I would be hesitant to share the soap though. I would probably just let it cure and make sure I rinsed the first layer bars when they started to get used. I don't know if lye would act this way but I am always willing to experiment and use myself as a guinea pig. I like to claim that my soaps are tested on animals....me.
 

JessieD

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Maybe I'll just leave the soap then if it doesn't zap in the centre. I wasn't planning on giving any away unless I used a bar and thought it was AMAZING! Thus the reason for my 4 different bars. If there was one I really liked, then I was going to make another batch for friends and family. That idea kind of went out the window when I had to change the oils so much though. I don't think I will try to duplicate that one again. Lol

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm willing to guinea pig myself any day!

Jessie
 

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