Quantcast

Browning and Consistency during Hot Process Cooking

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

LazyUmbrella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
93
Reaction score
68
Hey Soap-Gurus,

So I've started experimenting with the hot process method.
I bought a slow cooker like this one - it only has a "Low" and "High" temperature setting. Nothing too fancy, but not too expensive either

Anyway, during my first batch, I cooked it for a few hours and toward the end, noticed that the soap started to brown.

Either this is normal behaviour during the HP method, or I'm cooking at too high a temperature.

What is your experience when making HP soap? Do you think I'm cooking at too high a temperature or is this just one of the effects of HP soaping?

Also in terms of soap consistency - what should I be looking for? At the end of my cook, the soap was pretty thick and lumpy. I had to spoon it into the molds. I'm fine with this, but just want to be sure that this is the result I should be getting...

thanks!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

new12soap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
1,671
Reaction score
957
I cook a 2lb batch (that's oil weight, not total batch size) in my crockpot on low for 30-45 minutes at most.

I have heard that newer crockpots (mine is very old) are hotter, so I would not use the high setting at all.

It sounds like you probably cooked your soap way too long. As soon as it all comes together in a nice cross between applesauce and mashed potatoes you are done.

If you used any milks, sugars, honey, or beer, those can burn very easily.
 

LazyUmbrella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
93
Reaction score
68
Thanks!
I've actually been cooking for 3+ hours :eek::eek::eek: so maybe that's an issue!
I tried to do it the lazy way - cook it and forget about it... but I guess I should be testing every couple of minutes or so.
Let's see how it goes this weekend!
 

wetshavingproducts

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2014
Messages
245
Reaction score
135
Well, once you know how long it takes, you just set the timer for that time and set it and forget it. But until you know, you have to test.
 

doggonegardener

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
45
Reaction score
34
Location
Wyoming
Careful with set it and forget it

I have only made a few batches and have used only 4 different recipes but here's my experience.

My bastile takes about 40 minutes from trace to no zap. That's on the "low" setting of my new crock pot. My new pot runs hot like most "new" crock pots. I do have to stand and watch the whole time as my bastile recipe will climb right out of the pot right after I put the lid on (about 7-8 minutes into the cook). I also watch carefully for dryness with my new pot and often turn the temp down to the "warm" setting because things are going too fast.

I suggest you pay attention to the feel and appearance of the soap. Look for the distinct stages and then zap test for doneness.

Happy soaping.
 

LazyUmbrella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
93
Reaction score
68
The lazy way is to cook the soap in the crock pot on warm or low (depends on your pot) long enough to get the soap to a stable trace, turn off the crock pot, cover it (some add towels for insulation), and THEN walk away. :)
ohh, that's a good idea!
man, the weekend can't come soon enough!

Thanks everyone!
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,432
Reaction score
10,472
Location
Southern California
When and IF I do hp it takes my batch (63 oz of oil by weight) no more than 30 min. If you do not stir your hp you will start seeing it become turning color around the edges of the crock pot (this is the beginning of gel). Once all the soap is a uniform color it I test for zap. Usually only a few minutes more cook time are required after this stage. Once it no longer zaps I add in fragrance and stir it will. Cooking to long will dry out your soap, making it hard to mold
 

LazyUmbrella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
93
Reaction score
68
So I actually tried to make a batch on Saturday and something strange happened - first here's my recipe (don't laugh, I'm experimenting!):
Castor: 10%
Shea: 5%
Coconut: 0%
Olive: 30%
Sunflower: 55%
SF: 5%
Lye: 456 g
Batch size: 1200 g

I mixed all the liquid oils together (with a stick blender), added the lye, mixed to trace, and proceeded to heat. I was going to add the melted Shea butter after the cook.
So started to cook on Low heat in my crock pot.
After 30 minutes, things looked OK, but then after 60 minutes, everything turned to liquid. This must be the famous "gel" phase everyone talks about, I thought.
90 minutes, still liquid. 120 minutes: liquid. 150 minutes: liquid.

At 180 minutes, and still liquid, i was thinking it was the lack of coconut oil that caused this. I decided to zap test, and I didn't get a zap. I got a JOLT! Pure lye on my tongue!!
Tested with pH paper just for fun (everything seems like fun after you've painted your tongue with caustic soda) and it turned navy blue (in my case that meant pH 14+)

Looked at my various soaping books asking myself how the "emulsion" broke. Somehow, I remembered reading about false trace and thought maybe this is what happened.
So once the mixture cooled down, I mixed again with the stick blender and got trace almost immediately!

For good measure I added the whisk "extension" and stirred that thing until I got a super traced gob that I spooned into the mold (after adding the melted shea)

Am waiting to see if the soap is usable, but I'm also wondering how I got the false trace when there was actually no "solid oil" to begin with?
If I understand correctly, false trace happens when oils start to solidify at cooler temperatures.

Maybe this wasn't technically false trace, but rather some other misleading phenomenon?
 

new12soap

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
1,671
Reaction score
957
Your soap is EXTREMELY lye heavy!!!

I just put it thru soapcalc, and w a 5% sf your lye should have been 152g!!!

I think you may have accidentally used the water amount as your lye? Anyways, PLEASE don't try to use this soap!

If you add another 2400g of oils (I guess in a very large stainless steel stockpot and process it in the oven) it may be salvageable, but that is a LOT of soap to experiment with.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,964
Reaction score
9,015
Location
Austria
I ran some numbers. You have made a large error somewhere as that recipe needs 152 grams NaOH for a 5% superfat

I worked through at got to a -175% that needs 442g Lye, so you were somewhere beyond that.

Unless you mean "Water" at 456, which is correct. But in that case, how much lye did you use?
 

LazyUmbrella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
93
Reaction score
68
how embarrassing!:oops::oops::oops:

i actually did put 152 g Lye and 456 g water
just copy/pasted the wrong value from my Excel file!

false alarm - apologies!
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,933
Reaction score
18,034
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
"...everything turned to liquid. This must be the famous "gel" phase everyone talks about..."

Um, you didn't have "false trace" or gel. You didn't have any trace or gel at all. I'd chalk this experience up as a valuable lesson in your learning curve.

When you stick blend a mixture, it does get creamy while you blend and it will stay that way for a short while afterwards. It's like shaking a vinaigrette salad dressing -- you get a little time after shaking to pour the dressing on your salad, but work quick!

The fact that the mixture became clear again (and I'm betting it was also still quite liquid-y) just meant the emulsion was a temporary one created only by the stick blending. Upon sitting, there was nothing to keep the mixture mixed, so the batter separated back out into a clear oil layer on top and a clear lye solution on bottom.

Ya gotta stir or stick blend the batter to keep it mixed until the batter clearly begins to thicken and stays that way. At that point, the batter has saponified enough so there is enough soap to keep the emulsion stable without further mixing. Gel happens only after the soap batter is emulsified and has thickened.

It's intimate mixing that makes emulsification and saponification start to happen. By letting a non-emulsified soap batter sit, even with the added heat from a crockpot, it just won't saponify -- as you found out the hard way. (I hope your tongue is okay!) The only place where a little soap will form in this kind of situation is right at the interface between the two layers.
 

LazyUmbrella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2014
Messages
93
Reaction score
68
hee, hee - I quickly realized that it wasn't gel phase after the 3rd hour of sitting on the crock pot! But at the time, I was all "wow! so this is what gel phase looks like - it's so liquidy!"

tongue is fine - thanks for asking - i regularly burn it on coffee and soup so it was more scary (like OMG I have lye on my tongue) than painful.

i was due for a "screw up". i've been riding on luck for the past few months and probably got a little overconfident and cocky, so it's good that I had this happen to bring my ego down a few notches! :)
 

dosco

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
202
Reaction score
81
You're lucky that you didn't chemical burn yourself. I burned my tongue and it literally melted the flesh. About a week later and it was fine but I'll never zap test again.

The way I do it lately is to melt the fats in a stainless steel pot on the stove over very low heat. Once melted I shut off the burner and pitch the lye water, then stick blend. Once trace has happened I transfer the mess into a crockpot and let it cook for about an hour ... my crockpot tends to run hot so I pay close attention and stir frequently. I may even turn it off after 20 or 30 minutes of heating.

The heat of reaction is enough to keep the batch hot without the use of the crockpot. Plus I can use a very large pot that helps mitigate the possibility of lye volcano.

Cheers-
Dave
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,933
Reaction score
18,034
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
Okay, folks, here's the latest Public Service Announcement about zap testing....

If you have any shred of doubt about your soap being zap free, do not, DO NOT touch your tongue to the soap. Rub your fingertip lightly on the soap and lightly touch said fingertip to tongue. If you get a zap, rinse your mouth immediately with cool water and spit, don't swallow. If you do not get a zap, feel free to lick on your soap to your heart's content.

If you are a new soaper, you really need to use this fingertip zap test until you have more experience with soaping and are making consistently good batches. And for any soaper, any soap that doesn't look right -- separation, weeping, unusual voids, unexpected color changes, etc. -- should be zap tested with caution.

To be honest, I pretty much know anymore when my soap is going to be zappy before I test it. I sometimes test a soap that I am pretty sure is "hot", but if I'm not monitoring zappiness to satisfy my inner geek, I don't test until I'm reasonably certain the soap is zap free.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,964
Reaction score
9,015
Location
Austria
+1 for this! The method I use, too

Dave, please don't let one bad experience flavour your view of a valid and important tool that soapers have.
 

dosco

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
202
Reaction score
81
Dave, please don't let one bad experience flavour your view of a valid and important tool that soapers have.
First, don't let me set any rules for anyone ... if it works, it works.

I was just stating from a personal standpoint that I won't be using "zap" anymore. I'm happy to cook and wait a little bit longer. If I really cared that much I'd get some test strips.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,964
Reaction score
9,015
Location
Austria
Sorry Dave, didn't mean to imply that it would affect others, just you - zap testing actually gives you important information that you can't get from pH testing - take a look at the recent thread on it and you'll see what I mean.
 

Latest posts

Top