Coconut milk rookie questions


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Well-Known Member
Jan 14, 2021
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Sorry if I'm just too stupid/impatient to search for these answers here. I'm sure they are somewhere buried in this forum, and I just didn't find them in the haystack of other coconut milk-related requests.

I have no (soap) experience with coconut milk, but I'm considering to use it (additive-free, 16% fat) in a slow-moving recipe via split-batter (SBed into the oils). I have a few questions on its properties in soap batter/bars:
  1. Does coconut milk accelerate trace? My conception is that the solid coconut bits somewhat stabilise emulsion (like they do in the coconut milk itself). The increased surface area between oils and finely dispersed aqueous phase might offset/replace some of the job of the stick blender. I remember instructions that call for dissolving lye in frozen coconut milk, and warn of the coconut lye to set/saponify quite rapidly. This might be desired in many cases (shorter SB times), but not so much if it makes swirl designs more hectic. (Any temporary proximity to a running SMF challenge is purely coincidental.)
  2. What about opacity in the finished bar? Do the “unsaponifiables” (finely dispersed coconut pulp) contribute to an opaque, marble-white appearance in a noticeable way? Ideally, someone has already made a side-to-side comparison of soap with, say, 12.5%ppo coconut milk proper, versus “poor man's” coconut milk (increase CO by 2% and water by 10.5%ppo). This would also be a good occasion to challenge the purported effects of coconut milk (skin feel, lather boost etc.).


Supporting Member
Nov 16, 2018
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Hamilton, New Zealand
I haven't had problems with CM accelerating either. I use a split method and have formulated a recipe that has a lower superfat to account for the extra fat in the CM, and obviously less water to account for the water in the CM.
I mix the water with the lye first, and add the CM to my oils. I think mixing the lye into the CM would cause it to start saponifying the fats int there and you might get a lumpy mess.
The CM soaps do not have any texture to them - they are smooth as any other soap I make.

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