Quantcast

CP soap gel phase

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Lenka

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Hello guys!!
I'm new to soap making, but I'm already hooked. I started soaping about a month ago, but already all my surfaces at home are occupied by curing soap and I had to hijack my boyfriend's spare bedroom too. I also lay awake at night planning my next batch. I'm sure it will pass one day, but if you have any tips on how to tackle my addiction please feel free to share...

I decided early on that CP is the best method for me and I've had various degrees of success with it, but there is a subject that I'm not entirely sure about. It's the gel phase. I only use vegetable oils and all my soaps have gelled throughout, but is this a good thing? I use a few books as reference and I'm generally happy with them, however none of them cover the subject in much depth and the information I find on the internet is contradictory.

As all my soaps so far have gelled I know what it looks like (-yes, I peaked!!). What I would like to know is:

1. Does the CP soap need to reach that stage? On the web, some say yes, some say it doesn't matter if it does or it doesn't and some say it shouldn't reach this stage at all. Which one is it?
2. When/if the soap gets into gel, do you keep it that way or try to cool it down? Again, some say keep it in that stage for as long as possible, others advise to let some of the heat out
3. Is gel stage something desirable? What are the advantages to the finished product -if any?
4. I read that soap that hasn't gelled is more opaque and cp soap that has gelled tends to be harder. Are there any other differences between the two? How are the base oils, fargrance/essential and/or superfatting oils affected by the gel stage? Will they lose their properties? I was put off the HP method, because I felt I'd be cooking all the goodness out of my oils. If my CP soap gels anyway, then is that the same as cooking it with the HP method?
5. Does the gel stage reduce curing times? If yes, is it a substantial reduction?

Looking forward to your reply
 
G

Guest

I also lay awake at night planning my next batch. I'm sure it will pass one day, but if you have any tips on how to tackle my addiction please feel free to share...
Ummmmmm nope doesn't pass, i think it gets into your blood and becomes part of your soul. Because I know I'm hopelessly addicted and am trying to come up with new variations of different things to make. And how to make them better. And how to formulate a recipe to go with what I have in mind. But it does help to branch out from more than just soaps. Least that is what I did. Oooooops oh wait !!! Stop the press, that just might make it worse !!!!!! But it's also more fun. I think it's so awesome to figure out how to formulate your own recipes so you can customize them to meet your own needs. Or the needs of a friend or family member.




I decided early on that CP is the best method for me and I've had various degrees of success with it,
I don't get hung up on the gelling phase personally. If it does it does and if it doesn't it doesn't.

However I would like to add, if you like CP have you tried RTCP ???
It's a whole lot faster, easier and more fun !!!! And the results are amazing, I'm hooked on RTCP and won't go back to regular CP again.

RTCP = Room Temperature Cold Process

What this means is you take your oils and keep them room temp. However if your using a hard butter like cocoa butter or mango butter I do weigh that seperate and nuke it slightly till it's softened or liquid. And use your stick blender to cream it. Sorta like you would cream your butter and sugar when your making cookies. But you use your stick blender. Then add in your liquid/lye mixture that is also room temp. And this can even be mixed up the day before or several days ahead of time. And then use your stick blender till you have trace. (If you add GM or any dairy you can then add that at trace. I like to use canned GM and aloe juice as my liquids for my soaps. Well not always i do like soap made with heavy cream, as well as tomato juice and a few other liquids that are not dairy.)


Hope that helps and good luck, !!!
 

Lenka

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Thank you so much for the feedback, I love your attitude!

It's the first time anyone has mentioned RTCP and I will definitely give it a go!
Would love to see examples of RTCP soaps if you have any pics available. Which oils work better in this method? Would it take ages to trace?
 

Lane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
Messages
1,577
Reaction score
11
Location
Midwest, USA
Hahahaha! I have said this before and I will say it again...Faithy is the OFFICIAL RTCP recruiter! :lol:

I do RTCP now and I LOVE it. (Thanks Faithy!)
But I also let mine gel. Since you are working at lower temps, And the chemical process (the gelling) will only cause about a ten degree rise in heat, I think it is best to have the soap cool and then let it gel to say 95 degrees, rather than 130 degrees. Does that make sense? Haha. I "seal" the top of my soap with cling wrap, The plastic insulates the soap without causing too much of a heat build up.
 

Lenka

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
You see, that's exactly the kinda thing I don't get.
Why is it best to gel at 95 degrees as opposed to 130? And why do you prefer your soap to gel?
What difference does it make to the final bar?
I know Faithy said not to get too hung up about it, but just wondering. All my batches so far have gelled completely so have nothing to compare them with...

By the way, I'm trying RTCP tonight, wish me luck!
 

Lane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
Messages
1,577
Reaction score
11
Location
Midwest, USA
Good luck with your RTCP!

I came to this forum to ask the "To gel or not to gel" question.... :lol:

I think gelling at a lower temp is better because too high of a temp can burn off your FO/EO. Plus it is "said" that higher temps can damage the properties of your oils.

I perfer my soap to gel simply because of my sister. She doesn't make soap, but she is a chemist. This is her explanation...."Gelling is part of the chemical reaction between lye and the oils. From that reaction comes heat. Without heat, you are inhibiting the reaction and there for possibly preventing the complete process" Also, it does make your bar harder and your colors more vibrant. Why? I don't know.

For about 6 months I was obsessed with the whole gel thing. I have bars that did not gel and they are just as good as the bars that did gel.
 

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
358
Reaction score
2
Good luck with the sleep thing, when you wake up at night searching for the lye calculator its time for some help.
 

Lenka

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
It's fair to say that Faithy has got another convert. I love RTCP and the results so far are pretty good!

Thank you for all your replies re: the gel debate, very helpful and makes sense!
That's one less thing to ponder when I'm lying awake thinking of soaps!

And Neil, I haven't got to that stage yet, but I have got up in the middle of the night to make a supplies list...
 

NEASoapWorks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Messages
330
Reaction score
0
Location
Michigan
Lenka said:
You see, that's exactly the kinda thing I don't get.
Why is it best to gel at 95 degrees as opposed to 130? And why do you prefer your soap to gel?
What difference does it make to the final bar?
I know Faithy said not to get too hung up about it, but just wondering. All my batches so far have gelled completely so have nothing to compare them with...

By the way, I'm trying RTCP tonight, wish me luck!
I try to soap just around 100 degrees, or a little lower even. When I soaped higher (one time), I got my first and only (so far) failed batch of soap. The batter got too hot, and when I added my FO, it turned into "Rice Krispie Treats" right in the pot. It was hand-stirred.

From my understanding of the "chemistry" end of it, saponification causes a rise in temp — that rise in temperature is indicative that the process is beginning, and will basically complete itself, whether the mixture "gels" or not. "Gel" is not necessary. It's all a matter of personal preference.

When my soap gels, it's harder. Just about all my soap gels, including the hand-stirred (which was most of my soap, in the very beginning. I just recently started stick-blending to decrease the preparation time). When using natural colorants, gelling can make the color come through stronger.

Sometimes refrigerating (or placing soap in a cold area, like a back porch) soap can inhibit gelling, but that has never worked for me. I try to keep my soap cool, when I use milk and/or honey. But it still gels.
 

Lenka

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Thank you so much for the feedback. I usually soap around 110 to 120 degrees and my soap so far -also hand stirred- has gelled completely, I have always insulated my soap after pouring. Even my RTCP soap gelled (stick-blended of course!!!), which I also insulated! I'm not complaining, call it beginner's luck, but I haven't had a failed batch yet, just curious to know what would happen if it didn't.

I made a batch last night which I left uncovered, checked it this morn but couldn't tell whether it had gelled or not during the night, but it looked ok. So far so good. It's a recipe I've used before so it would be interesting to see how this soap will be different from my others.

Anyway, I thank you all for your responses, I have one last question on the subject and then I'll let it go -I promise!! Does curing time increase for a soap that hasn't gelled?
 

Latest posts

Top