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bott12

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Hi! I’m so glad I found this forum. My son and I have started to make soap for fun. It has been a little frustrating. We made 3 batches yesterday with the same recipe and I think the same process with 3 different results. I really like the smooth ones on top. The other batches get chunky early and never recover. Please help.

Joe


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bott12

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Thank you! I used the top end of liquid and went for 5% excess fat. I basically mix it together and blend constantly. I used a blender like for cake mixes. I dont think thats what most people use, but it turned out ok on the top one. There are three batches on my picture. There is also a rogue piece on the top that is from a few weeks ago...
 

bott12

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Thank you! I used 7 OZ of milk and I used 2.5 oz of lye. 75 grams basically. That is it. I mixed all the batches constantly.

The first batch did not get chunky, and I waited for the temperature to get to 130 before I added wintergreen scent. It continued to be easy to pour. The second two batches started to get chunky at 150 degrees, so I added wintergreen at that point. I wait until the last step to add fragrance, so in this case, that did not impact the outcome.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Hmmm. I noticed your recipe calls for 19 oz. of lard which is unusual -- lard is normally sold in 1 lb (16 oz) boxes. Did you weigh the lard?
 

Zany_in_CO

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At what temp. was your lard and lye solution when you soaped?
Thank you! I used 7 OZ of milk and I used 2.5 oz of lye. 75 grams basically. That is it. I mixed all the batches constantly.

The first batch did not get chunky, and I waited for the temperature to get to 130 before I added wintergreen scent. It continued to be easy to pour. The second two batches started to get chunky at 150 degrees, so I added wintergreen at that point. I wait until the last step to add fragrance, so in this case, that did not impact the outcome.
 

bott12

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I dont understand the question "when you soaped". Those temps in the previous response was when I added scent, but maybe you are asking a different question. I typically melt my lard because it is frozen, then I add it and milk in a mixing bowl, then I add lye to all that. The last batch I heated the lard and milk together, then added lye. The time before the lard and milk were room temperature. Both of those batches turned out chunky.
 

dibbles

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By 'when you soaped', lsg means when you made soap. What were the temps of your lye solution and melted lard before you combined them, or what was the temperature when you first combined them? If you waited until 130 to add the fragrance in the first batch, and added at 150 for the others, I would say the temps are way too high. I usually soap at 90-100F.

One other note - have you checked the usage rate for the wintergreen EO?
 

bott12

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The scents were added way at the end and way after any lumpiness started...
 
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I am going to guess it may be your soaping temperatures since your first batch with Wintergreen did not accelerate. Lard is extremely easy to soap with and I assume the is pig fat, you would be surprised some folks do not realize only pig fat is lard, and very slow to trace. I used to soap with a lot of Wintergreen and never found it to accelerate, and if you were using the same bottle of Wintergreen for all batches that wereSoapy Stuff not your problem. So I am thinking it is your soaping temp. Also, higher amounts of water can accelerate heating in batter, and heat can accelerate trace.

What I would do is lower the water next time to the lowest recommendation if using The Sage which gives you an approx 33% Lye Concentration which you can read about here. I just posted her menu page since there is a wealth of information on DeeAnna's page. I also would advise investing in a Stick Blender the high shear is much more suited to soap making than a pastry blender since it does not whip in a lot of air into your batter. Pastry blenders work for making whipped soaps but that is a whole different procedure for another post.

So to sum it up Less Water, Cooler temps 100-110ºF, and Stick Blender. I like to blend to emulsion when the liquid and oils just come together then added in my fragrance then continue to light trace. But all that comes with experience.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I typically melt my lard because it is frozen, then I add it and milk in a mixing bowl, then I add lye to all that

If I understand you correctly, you don't make a separate "lye solution"?
Interesting. I'll have to try that some time. But, for now, that may explain why you are having problems...

So, for CP (Cold Process Soap). Typically, I
- Weigh my water into a container. Set the container in the sink.
- Put on my gloves, mask, and safety glasses.
- Weigh my lye into a container. Add it slowly to the water in the sink while stirring, averting my face to avoid fumes.
- I let the lye cool down while I melt the lard to 120°-135°F.
- Once both the lard and the lye solution have cooled to approximately the same temp, I add the lye solution to the melted lard while stirring.
- I use a stick blender, on and off, until I reach light trace and pour into my mold.

As for using milk -- that's an advanced technique that causes acceleration unless you soap cool or cold. Some folks freeze the milk before making the lye solution. I make my lye solution and chill it ahead of time I add it to room temp oils (or warm lard) straight from the fridge.

Find the Beginners Learn to Soap Online thread that will help you get off on the right foot for making your first batches. Scroll down to "Lovin' Soap Studio" for clear instructions for making CP (Cold Process).
 

dibbles

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If I understand you correctly, you don't make a separate "lye solution"?
Interesting. I'll have to try that some time. But, for now, that may explain why you are having problems...
Good catch - I missed that completely. I've never heard of mixing fats and liquid, then adding lye to that. It sounds risky to me - I'd be afraid the lye wouldn't all dissolve properly. And I think that is at least part of your problem. Try making the lye solution by mixing your liquid and lye (always add the lye to the liquid), then add that solution to the melted lard. It should go a lot better.
 

bott12

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OK. This is helpful.

This is my plan:
I bought a stick blender

1. melt the lard and then let it cool to about 110
2. combine the milk and lye, let it activate, then cool to about 110 (I'm going to continue to try milk, if it fails I will use water)
3. add whatever scents I want at this stage
4. mix this with my new stick blender
5. update this thread with the results

Am I missing or misunderstanding anything?

So one thing I need to add is that I use a mix of lard and tallow. Basically fat of most kinds of animals you eat are in there.
 
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OK. This is helpful.

This is my plan:
I bought a stick blender

1. melt the lard and then let it cool to about 110
2. combine the milk and lye, let it activate, then cool to about 110 (I'm going to continue to try milk, if it fails I will use water)
3. add whatever scents I want at this stage
4. mix this with my new stick blender
5. update this thread with the results

Am I missing or misunderstanding anything?

So one thing I need to add is that I use a mix of lard and tallow. Basically fat of most kinds of animals you eat are in there.
If you don't want the milk to scorch and turn brown, and stink really badly, try freezing it into ice cube trays, or even into a solid block. Then add the lye crystals to the frozen milk a bit at a time, stirring to dissolve each addition of lye before adding more. Here is a YouTube video that shows this process. She used goat milk, but the same rules apply for any type of animal milk.

This is a great YT channel for learning more about soapmaking in general, btw. You can also search "goat milk soap" here on SMF and read about how other members keep the temperatures down to avoid scorching and stink.

Another possibility is to replace only some of the water with milk, and mix the remaining liquid as milk into the oils. Here is another YouTube video that explains this "milk in oil" process. She also freezes her distilled water, which isn't strictly necessary, but it will keep your lye solution cooler, or save time waiting for it to cool down. The cool temp is the major key to making great milk soap.
 
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