Butcher tallow soap

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Andy7891

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Hi all, just thought I’d share my experience of my latest batch of soap, and a few insights I had. Here’s the recipe:
Beef tallow- 226g 50%
Olive oil- 113g 25%
Coconut oil- 95g 21%
Castor oil- 18g 4%
Distilled water- 130g
Lye- NaOH- 64g
(Lye concentration 33%)

Took forever to trace- I wanted a thin trace because I wanted to try a drop swirl. A lot of hand stirring and I was 95% sure it traced but I was worried it hadn’t. Seems to have performed just fine in the mold, though (hardened up over 12 hours but still softer than I expected because I’ve heard beef tallow makes hard soap.) I was able to get my oil and lye close to the same temp by putting lye water in the fridge and wrapping a towel around the oil. I think an ice bath for each and insulation (a towel) could let me speed up/slow down the cooling of the two, respectively. Soap did not seem to gel. I’m not sure what kind of beef fat it was, the butcher just handed me a bag (it was my first time asking and they were really busy- can’t beat free though!) But I was happy with how the drop swirl came out, think it looks wispy like clouds or maybe fire. No fragrance because I’m still trying to get the basics down, but maybe a fragrance to speed up trace may have been helpful! There’s a black spot on my camera permanently just FYI. Cheers happy soaping.
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AliOop

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I like it! The front one looks like a tree, the the branches almost reaching the ground.

Your recipe should harden up very nicely as it cures.
 

Andy7891

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I like it! The front one looks like a tree, the the branches almost reaching the ground.
Thanks! Yes I thought of a tree as well! Glad to hear it will harden up- I’m looking forward to trying out a nice hard bar.

I forgot to mention I used two colors on this drop swirl- red mica and the natural soap color.
 

Arimara

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What calculator did you use? There seems to be a wrong measurement in your steps. Using SMFriend, Your lye measurement is much lower than it out to be if you were aiming for a 5% superfat.

Edit- never mind. I corrected myself. but still, this soap should be a hard bar after cure.
 

Andy7891

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What calculator did you use? There seems to be a wrong measurement in your steps. Using SMFriend, Your lye measurement is much lower than it out to be if you were aiming for a 5% superfat.

Edit- never mind. I corrected myself. but still, this soap should be a hard bar after cure.
Yes I was aiming for 5% super fat. What makes you say it will be a hard bar? Is it just because of the tallow? I think it was soft out of the mold because it was quite thin when I poured it due to barely reaching trace. An maybe because it was quite cool when I poured because there was a lot of stirring time (about 30 minutes at least). Anyway, I appreciate the feedback.
 

AliOop

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Hardness and longevity are actually two different things. Coconut oil makes for a hard soap, but it is also very soluble, so it doesn't last long. Tallow and olive aren't as soluble, but they do contribute to hardness and longevity. You can check the numbers in the soap calculator to get an an idea of the longevity, hardness, bubbles, etc. The calculator doesn't account for additives such as sugar (more bubbles), goat milk (conditioning), or vinegar (hardness), but it is a starting point.
 

Arimara

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Yes I was aiming for 5% super fat. What makes you say it will be a hard bar? Is it just because of the tallow? I think it was soft out of the mold because it was quite thin when I poured it due to barely reaching trace. An maybe because it was quite cool when I poured because there was a lot of stirring time (about 30 minutes at least). Anyway, I appreciate the feedback.
If you were at light trace when poured into your mold (and given how tallow tends to behave), that soap would be soft for a while unless you gelled it. Ungelled soaps tend to take their sweet time hardening up. Good thing you didn't use 50% olive oil for this soap; it would be a lot softer if you went that route.
 

Andy7891

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Arimara I didn’t know gelled soaps tend to harden up quicker (not related to final hardness though, as far as I know). Olive oil is proving to be quite interesting I thought it took awhile to trace but also stays soft in the mold too hmm. I am surprised that my soap didn’t gel because it usually does, I think this one cooled down a lot by the time I poured into the mold. Maybe because I soap outside in the great state of Texas during the summer is why they tend to gel.
 

Finnegan

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I've made my first tallow soaps about 3 weeks ago, and I was very impressed with my soap. It also stayed at light trace for a long time, which is very nice if you want to make swirls. The soap got hard fast in the mold, did not gel, I could cut it the next day, and the soap is now very hard to the touch. I've use one to test, and the lather is quite good. Tallow is now going to be my go-to oil for soaping.
 

Andy7891

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Hardness and longevity are actually two different things. Coconut oil makes for a hard soap, but it is also very soluble, so it doesn't last long. Tallow and olive aren't as soluble, but they do contribute to hardness and longevity. You can check the numbers in the soap calculator to get an an idea of the longevity, hardness, bubbles, etc. The calculator doesn't account for additives such as sugar (more bubbles), goat milk (conditioning), or vinegar (hardness), but it is a starting point.
I’m looking forward to learning more about and experimenting with solubility. I didn’t know about vinegar and hardness. Sugar and salt are definitely on the experimenting list. I think it’s fun to strike balances between the pros and cons of the different ingredients. Like doing a complicated swirl with a recipe and FO/EO that accelerate. You know hard challenges like that. Still learning to evaluate and gauge the qualities of my finished bars too. Thank you so much for the knowledge!
 

Andy7891

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I've made my first tallow soaps about 3 weeks ago, and I was very impressed with my soap. It also stayed at light trace for a long time, which is very nice if you want to make swirls. The soap got hard fast in the mold, did not gel, I could cut it the next day, and the soap is now very hard to the touch. I've use one to test, and the lather is quite good. Tallow is now going to be my go-to oil for soaping.
Yes I was wanting to do a drop swirl and wanted a very light trace so it worked out perfectly! Looking forward to seeing how the lather is. All my soaps seem to get pretty hard so I’m excited to see the hardness on these. I’m looking forward to using tallow as well, because I can get it for free at the butcher! Cheers thanks for sharing your experience with tallow.
 

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