# Coconut milk, SoapCalc, confusion, oh my!

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#### soapygoat

##### Member
Oh yes, yet another coconut milk thread. I wouldn't be surprised if I get asked for clarification. I'm going to do my best to articulate what I'm trying to figure out. I've gone back and read many threads on using coconut milk (wow, there's a lot of them!), and looked at a few links that were included in those posts, but I'm still at a loss.

I've never used coconut milk before, but I'm doing a pineapple papaya FO and thought that using some coconut milk might be nice and in-theme for it. But due to the high fat of the coconut milk, I need to account for it so that my SF isn't ridiculously high. The SF on my soaps is 8%, and I'd like to stick at around that.

So the recipe I'm using (which for oils contains olive, palm, coconut, and sweet almond), which is based on an old recipe, has 21.14 oz. of liquid. Here's where things go wonky, and the problem is certainly on my end and a lack of understanding from me, but I'm not sure what to do.

My coconut milk, which is 22% fat, means that with 21.14 ounces of it, I would be adding 4.65 ounces of fat. Putting all of this into SoapCalc (I put the fat from the coconut milk in as milkfat as I wasn't sure where it should go) SoapCalc says that I need 22.65 ounces of liquids.

Stick with me here. I'm really trying not to confuse us all. Would the calculation for the liquids then look something like this?
22.65 (oz. of liquid) - 4.65 (oz of fat) = 18 ounces of liquid from the coconut milk, so then add 4.65 ounces of water to bring it back up to the correct amount of liquids?

Or would I just add 22.65 ounces of coconut milk and call it good? (*cringe*)

Finally, in all the reading I did before asking this question, I saw someone talk about subtracting the fat from the coconut milk from their coconut oil. Is that the better way to go, and if so, how would I go about that? Am I just stunningly and ridiculously wrong with all of this? As I've said in a different post, I have a tried and true recipe that I use now, and I've never really had to worry about this kind of thing. A big part of this might be my lack of experience with SoapCalc, but I know you all have much more experience than I do with creating recipes.

I don't add in extra water when using milks to account for the liquid-fat-portion of my milk so I'd call it good. They behave fine with sticking to the regular recipe water weight.

One thing, if you're dissolving your lye in coconut milk, expect it to get thick as the milk fats start to saponify in the lye solution container. I like to strain this just to make sure all my lye crystals fully dissolve since I cannot see into the solution.

I'm too lazy to account for my milk fats... I just take off a percentage or so of my superfat depending on the amount of milk I'm using. If my recipe calls for 7% SF and I'm using full water substitution with milks, I change it to 5% SF. By no means is that very scientific or even correct, but it works for me. And I'm lazy.

ETA: if you're dissolving your lye in milk, I'm sure you've read to add it a little at a time on top of milk-ice-cubes to prevent scorching.

ETA (again): you might want to make a smaller recipe until you get comfy with using milks.

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Thanks snappyllama. I actually make goat milk soaps. That's currently all that I do, but I'm looking to do this one as a non-goat milk and use coconut milk instead. Goat milk has such a low fat content though that I don't really feel the need to account for it. Coconut milk has a much higher percentage, which is why I asked.

Maybe I'm just completely overthinking this whole thing (and admittedly a bit nervous about straying away from THE recipe). Still, hoping I can figure this out.

I sub coconut milk for all of my soaps. I just SF 5% and call it good. The only batch I have not had turn out was one I tried to CPOP - Cracked/overheated like the devil.

I also use coconut milk often and I usually just drop my SF a few degrees to account for the added fat. I suck too much at math.

I use coconut milk frequently and just drop my SF 2%. Also not scientific. But, it works for me.

So...many...numbers! From Googling around, I think that coconut cream - the thick white stuff that rises to the top of the coconut milk - is mostly fat.
http://www.organicauthority.com/foo...e-between-coconut-cream-and-coconut-milk.html

Coconut cream and coconut oil seem to have a similar sap value:
https://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/resources/sapon.asp
(look at Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Cream Oil)

So, if I wanted to be as precise as possible, I'd pour my coconut milk into a bowl and let it sit out at room temp for a day or so to give the cream time to rise to the top. Then I'd put it in the fridge, and after a day or so I'd lift off the solidified coconut cream from the top. I'd include the liquid left behind as part of my water and count the cream I lifted off as a fat.

I have never done this, but it sounds like it might work.

Like the others, I don't adjust my water amount when using any kinds of milks. I know that some people do, but since I've never encountered any problems by just keeping my regular amount of water 'as is', even when using 100% milk, I just don't care to mess with it.

Superfat, on the other hand, is a different matter. When I use 100% milk, I knock my regular superfat % down by 2 points on SoapCalc. If I'm using 50% milk, I knock it down by 1 point, and if I'm using 30% milk, I just keep it where it is (i.e., I don't change it).

The amounts by which I decided to lower it were not reached by any scientific or mathematical equations, mind you, but by simple observations based on my lather output. You see, I have this incurable quirk- I'm a dyed-in-the-wool lather lover that simply refuses to let anything come between me and my bubbly lather output. Knocking the S/F % down keeps my bubbly lather output from going too far below my acceptable levels in my shower.

IrishLass

Alright, it sounds like I'm completely overthinking this. My only concern was one article I read where the guy said that using 100% coconut milk raised his SF by 14%. It sounds though like maybe it's not quite that bad. I'll put some more thought into whether to just go for it (after reducing my SF by a few points) or do as Dixiedragon suggested, but you all have put my mind at ease considerably.

Thanks all!

I use coconut milk frequently and just drop my SF 2%. Also not scientific. But, it works for me.

I do this too but my SF is usually 3%

So...many...numbers! From Googling around, I think that coconut cream - the thick white stuff that rises to the top of the coconut milk - is mostly fat.
http://www.organicauthority.com/foo...e-between-coconut-cream-and-coconut-milk.html

Coconut cream and coconut oil seem to have a similar sap value:
https://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/resources/sapon.asp
(look at Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Cream Oil)

So, if I wanted to be as precise as possible, I'd pour my coconut milk into a bowl and let it sit out at room temp for a day or so to give the cream time to rise to the top. Then I'd put it in the fridge, and after a day or so I'd lift off the solidified coconut cream from the top. I'd include the liquid left behind as part of my water and count the cream I lifted off as a fat.

I have never done this, but it sounds like it might work.

You might not have to do that extra step. I know you can buy cans of coconut cream, (well here on the east cost of Canada hah) and you can buy coconut milk. Coconut cream would be mostly fat (the thick white deliciousness) But if you use coconut milk, and carefully open the can it should already be separated. So you can just pour off the "milk" but it tends to be very watery looking. I know some brands though, this isn't the case. If you take the can and tilt it gently from side to side you should be able to hear if it's separated in the can.

Maybe use coconut water and coconut cream together? I have no theory behind that just and Idea aha I'm still a little hesitant about giving advice on here!!

I use CM and my regular 5 % SF, the soap is wonderful with addition of oats

When I first started using CM I did all the math too, soapygoat! I really wanted to know exactly how it would affect the SF based on the brand and the amount I use. After all was said and done I learned my SF is increased by 2% using a 50/50 split with water. I also like knowing my lye is totally dissolved so I add it to the water portion, stir until it's clear and cool, then add the CM (I do this in an ice bath). I could just SB the CM into my oils if I want also. But no matter what route I take, I know the CM will increase the SF by 2% so I change things up in SoapCalc to accommodate it. But I'm also not a fan of high SF soap so that's part of my decision in the process.

I forgot the OP was in Alaska when I posted my idea! Here in Alabama it's been over 100 this week, so if I were to go today and buy a can of coconut milk, it would probably be completely melted and mixed up by the time I got it home, so I would need to let it separate.

My masterbatched bucket if oils in the basement is also getting a little melty. It is HOT.

Interesting, KristaY. 2% for a 50/50, so approximately 4% on a fully CM recipe. That's a far cry from the 14% I read about! It would appear that I could simply knock the SF down by a couple percent and be just fine.

Dixiedragon - I was actually 105 in Fairbanks last week, but that is uncommon. Hot days in Alaska are generally in the 90s. Fairbanks also sees more wild temperature swings than the southern parts of the state. Still, I think I'll end up holding off on this project for another month. It sounds like if I want to do the separation method, that fat should separate right out once fall settles on Alaska!

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