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contessa

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Has anyone used or know about using a food dehydrator to quicken they drying/setting time of fresh made soap?

I was just sitting here pondering while looking at my new, wet soap and thought "I wonder if the food dehydrator would do it in 20 minutes instead of a month..."

Its worth a shot, I guess, but I was wondering if anyone had tried it.
 

Emily Klesick

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I usually place mine in a freezer a little while after (a few days) and then I put them in a refridgerator. They harden pretty fast.
 

Tabitha

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Emily, are refering to cold process soap making or melt & pour?
 

Emily Klesick

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Oh yeah, it totally spaced me, I make CP. that is what I was referring to. I have never made M&P.
 

Tabitha

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I have never heard of putting CP in the freezer, that is why I asked.Ii thought you wanted it to set out & continue to cook for weeks on end to allow the lye to burn off. Wouldn't putting it in a cold enviornment prevent that?

I have no clue but am curious.

Most people do put M&P in the freezer so it will pop out of the mold easier. That is what confused me.
 

Emily Klesick

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yeah, I put it in the freezer when I make big batches. it works fine and they pop out of molds faster as well. I always ph test and the lye has evaporated, so it is not a problem. Do you make M&P? I have been makign about 40 bars at a time. If you put a small batch in the freezer.
 

Tabitha

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In the beggining (5 years ago) I started off w/ CP. I made about 10 batches, 2 or 3 were regular CP, the rest I popped in the oven.

I mostly make B&B stuff now. I do make some M&P just because people want soap to match their B&B items & I do not have the patients to wait for CP to cure... LOL!

That is very interesting, I have never known anyone to put CP in the fridge/freezer. So, how long is total cure time doing by your method?
 

Emily Klesick

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It all depends on the recipe. Typically goats milk wil take about 3 weeks, and the others about 4 weeks.
 

michelleB

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Hiya!

Just thought I'd jump in and clarify a couple of things that might help everybody out a little. The saponification process of cp soapmaking is often misunderstood, so please don't think I'm talking down to anyone. I've just learned a lot over the years and would like to share if you'll allow me to. Once a soap has been mixed, poured, gelled, and cooled, the saponification is 100% complete at this point and there is no lye left. During the saponification process, the lye reacts with the oils and creates the soap (to put it simply, although there's more to it). Lye doesn't burn off and/or evaporate...it goes through a chemical change into soap and it's finished by the time you unmold.

The curing process isn't designed around diminishing the lye content of soap, as there's no lye in there at that point. What the curing process IS for, is to ensure mildness, firmness, and improved lathering abilities. It's the water that needs to evaporate during the curing, which takes time depending on the recipe you use. I use a water discount on my goat milk soaps, so I cut my curing process down to around 2-3 weeks, but my personal preference is still for a 4-6 week old bar of soap just because it's much milder on my skin and it lathers better. Also, I won't sell a bar that hasn't had at least 4 weeks of curing. (wouldn't want to send one out that's gonna dry out somebody's skin). Raw soap is harsh, and over a period of days/weeks, it achieves a lovely mildness. All soaps get better with time. I've got a few bars around here from over a year ago and they're wonderful! I liked them after I first made them, but they suds up even better now and leave my skin silky soft.

As for putting your soaps into the fridge or freezer, that helps with solidifying it to make it easier to unmold and cut. You can get around this by adding 1 tsp of salt ppo to your batch. This gives you the same effect, a quickly hardening soap that's easier to handle. It's only temporary though. This causes a short-term firmness that just gives you an edge on getting it out of the mold and onto the curing rack. It'll still need time for evaporating out the excess fluid. Hope this helps ya! :D

And nope, I'm not a know-it-all by any means. But you tend to get crash courses in chemistry when you're a cp soaper! LOL!
 

UVsaturated

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michelleB said:
Hiya!

Just thought I'd jump in and clarify a couple of things that might help everybody out a little. The saponification process of cp soapmaking is often misunderstood, so please don't think I'm talking down to anyone. I've just learned a lot over the years and would like to share if you'll allow me to. Once a soap has been mixed, poured, gelled, and cooled, the saponification is 100% complete at this point and there is no lye left. During the saponification process, the lye reacts with the oils and creates the soap (to put it simply, although there's more to it). Lye doesn't burn off and/or evaporate...it goes through a chemical change into soap and it's finished by the time you unmold.
Thats pretty much what I have read as well. The perfectly balanced pH batch of soap will yield no extra oil or lye but cure in the shortest time getting rid of excess water. But, I wonder if the evaporation process could be sped up by just a nominal heat source or and extremely dry place?

Has anyone baked on a low heat their soap in an oven to cure it? This would evaporate water quickly.
 

michelleB

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I think you're referring to CPOP method, and yep it speeds things up just a titch. It's also reeeeeeally helpful if your soap isn't gelling on its own & you want to give it a hand.

When I cpop, I preheat my oven to just barely under 200 degrees and then cut it off. Then I put my log mold on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven overnight (make sure oven's off! LOL) I unmold in the morning, cut in the afternoon/early evening & let it cure for about a week to two weeks before handing it out. I still won't break my 4-6 week selling rule, but I'll hand them out to friends & family a whole lot quicker this way. I start testing them myself as soon as 2-3 days after cutting. Although the soap itself is still a little drying at that point, I can get a good idea of the lather & firmness by then & know whether or not I like that recipe.

You'll still notice bar shrinkage as they cure though, cuz most of the evaporation is done after cutting (more surface area for water to evap). But overall...cpop does cut down on your wait time.
 

UVsaturated

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michelleB said:
I think you're referring to CPOP method
I am a newby newby, meaning I am not only a newby to this forum but a newby to soapmaking.

Newby^cubed.

LOL

But what is CPOP dear?
 

michelleB

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I'm sorry! (smacking myself on the head)

CPOP = Cold process/Oven process
Meaning you do the normal cold process method all the way through to molding your soap. Then afterwards, you place it in a warm oven while still in the mold.

LOL at "Newbie^cubed"! I like that!
 

Tabitha

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Thanks michelleB,
That was a plethora of info!

I wasn't sure why the lye was no longer there (in it's original form), I just knew it wasn't.

Once a soap has been mixed, poured, gelled, and cooled, the saponification is 100% complete at this point and there is no lye left.
How long does it generally take for the soap to cool?
 

michelleB

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Hi Tabitha!

Gosh I'm so glad my post was well-received! Whew!
Ya never know how you're gonna be taken when you're new, and I really didn't want to come across like a soap-dictator, lol. There's still soooo much left for me to learn too, but I like sharing what I've already learned if it can help somebody else.

If you're asking how long soap logs take to cool after pouring...usually the whole gel process is over with in a few hours and it starts to return to room temperature shortly after that. So maybe 6-7 hours, give or take and it should be cooling down nicely. It's real hard to predict exactly, but this is a fair estimate. Some recipes are slow to gel, and some (especially with milk or honey) get really hot, so these might take a little longer to cool.

If you prevent gel altogether (whether by refrigeration, or soaping at very cool temps) then you don't have the cooling down issue, BUT the soap takes longer to firm up, so you should let it sit for 36-48 hours before unmolding. Preventing gel also means waiting longer before you can cut the bars (4-5 days) because of the extra softness & they'll need the full amount of curing time (6 weeks) to evaporate all of the excess fluid. Whether you gel your soaps or not is a personal preference. You still end up with lovely soap. Some people don't like to gel their soaps because it can turn a milk soap a slightly darker shade of tan & they want to avoid that.

I've tried both ways - gelled and ungelled, and I prefer to gel my soaps. It's a visible sign of your soap being saponified & you can tell when it's done. An ungelled soap...you never know the exact moment when the saponification is complete because there's no way to tell by looking. I mean, it's over within a day or so at most, but still, I just like to know before I go grabbing it outta the mold. Raw/fresh soap chaps my hands something fierce, so I like to play it safe.

I'm sorry...there I go again! I didn't mean to ramble on. :oops:
 

Emily Klesick

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Thanks sooo much! I really appreciated the information that you gave us all, I think a good amount of us needed a clarification! I have only been doing it for a while, but am trying to get into soap selling! I have a few trusty recips I have been using then I hand mill it when it is totally cure 4-6 weeks. Most of what you mentioned I kind of new... but wasn't very sure! So Thanks!
 

PSW

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Michelle gave a wonderful amount of information to every newbie to soapmaking. Perhaps her posts could be combined into a sticky?

Like, Michelle, being a newbie to the board you never know how you will be received, but it seems like most people here are new to soapmaking. I remember when I was new to it and wanted to get my hands on all the correct information I could find.

An avid soapmaker, I always gel. I too prefer to know my soap went through gel and is ready for cut and cure. You can tell it is going through gel when it becomes darker, and the dark spreads from the center outward. The soap becomes clearer, and well, looks like gel.

I don't OP, so can't give much advice on that. The only time I use the freezer is when I pour soap into specialty molds. Then I only put the soap in the freezer after it has gelled and cooled. The freezer is only used to help release the soap from the detailed molds.
 

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