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newbie

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I have come to hate CPOP because I can't seem to get the temp and timing right. Also, I use silicone molds and I get the bubbly/pebbly look along the sides and bottom which I find annoying, and occasionally I end up overheating. I recently decided to try again but this time I put a 9X13X2 pan in the oven with about an inch of water in it and preheated to 170 degrees. I put my mold in the water bath and let it go. I have had to reheat the oven sometimes to try to keep the water around 120-130 degrees but I haven't had a single bubble or pit from the silicone nor have I overheated the soap. Finally I can use the oven!! Thought it might help someone else who can't get the oven method to cooperate with them.
 

IrishLass

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That's awesome, Newbie! I'll have to try that the next time I use my ED silicone molds, which always give my soap the pebbly look. Thanks for sharing! :)


IrishLass :)
 

TeresaT

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Haha! I tried CPOP for first time and had a volcano in my oven. Oh gosh, burned soap smells nasty! It would not have been as bad if I had remembered to put foil on the lower rack! Gross. But my oven is very clean.

The lowest setting on my oven is "warm" and the next is 200. I opted for 200. 30 minutes or so after putting it in there, the smell got my attention. I guess I should have picked "warm" instead. You think?

Maybe I'll give it a shot again with the warm setting and a pan of water. Can't be any worse than the first time.
 

IrishLass

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You may want to rethink the foil idea and put something like a stainless steel cookie-sheet down there instead. Foil, being made of aluminum, reacts very badly with lye, and if any still-volatile, volcano-ing soap were to come in contact with it, you could have an even worse problem on your hands.


IrishLass :)
 

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I should also add that I used a glass pan. I thought a metal pan might get too hot and since the bottom of the mold sits on it, I thought glass might hold the heat longer and not get so hot so quickly. I hope it works for other people!
 

TeresaT

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You may want to rethink the foil idea and put something like a stainless steel cookie-sheet down there instead. Foil, being made of aluminum, reacts very badly with lye, and if any still-volatile, volcano-ing soap were to come in contact with it, you could have an even worse problem on your hands.


IrishLass :)

Oh. Good point about the foil. Thanks! Hmm. The instructions I was following about the CPOP said to line the oven with foil, pre-heat to 170 or the lowest setting on your oven, and cook for an hour.

In retrospect, the lowest setting on my oven is warm, not 200, but should the cook time be an hour? How long do y'all cook yours? And do you fill your molds to the top or leave "head space" like in canning? I filled mine to the top. And had a billowy, frothy, stinky mess.

I usually cook mine in a crockpot, but decided to try this because I thought the soaps would look smoother, more like a cp soap instead of my normal rustic (i.e. crappy) looking soap. But, this turned out super "rustic" looking. I can't even unmold it yet.

This is so much fun! In the morning, I'm going to try my first milk soap. I've got buttermilk in the freezer. I'm like a kid in a candy store!
 

boyago

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Here's another one: when you find that box that is the perfect size for a samples mold, make sure it's not held together with hot glue.
 

TwystedPryncess

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I've heard to never ever use anything but a wooden mold and parchment paper, that silicone molds get too hot.

This made me sad and I have never tried a silicone mold. My oven only goes to 170 but if you use a silicone, I might try it. I've always done wooden molds and still with some recipes get the tiny tiny bubbles on top, but they can be cleaned away after a good cure much like soda ash. So I pretend they never happened! :shifty:

I love CPOP, it's what I do about 90% of the time anymore, so I will most absolutely try this! This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Oh. Good point about the foil. Thanks! Hmm. The instructions I was following about the CPOP said to line the oven with foil, pre-heat to 170 or the lowest setting on your oven, and cook for an hour.

In retrospect, the lowest setting on my oven is warm, not 200, but should the cook time be an hour? How long do y'all cook yours? And do you fill your molds to the top or leave "head space" like in canning? I filled mine to the top. And had a billowy, frothy, stinky mess.......

Tess, it really makes a difference if you are trying to force gel or full on cook the soap. A lot of people put the oven on to 170 until it heats up, then they pop the soap in and turn it off, which is enough that the soap can gel nicely. It sounds like you are trying to do hot process oven process instead of cold process oven process, which I think is best done in a pot rather than a mould.
 

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I've been soaping for years and CPOPing my soap almost from the beginning. Back when I started doing it, there was just one way, I loved it, and it worked for me every time. Since then, I've read about "cooking" the soap with the CPOP method, and I've also read about people's problems with CPOP causing bubbles, volcanoes, etc. All of that is a mystery to me. The whole thing about "cooking" the soap confounds me also. The purpose of CPOP, originally anyway, was to insure that the soap gelled all the way to the edges. There was no "cooking" involved, just gentle heating. This is how it went, and how I do it to this day. Turn the oven on to it's lowest setting, whatever that is. Put the mold in the oven while making the soap, letting it get nice and toasty. After making the soap, pull out the mold, close the oven door, pour the soap, put the filled mold back in the oven and......turn the oven off! No cooking involved. Just soap batter poured into a warmed mold, then placed in a warmed oven. Gentle heat is the key. I've never had bubbles, cracks or volcanoes. Where the idea of cooking the soap came from, I have no idea. I end up with gelled soap, and no problems. This CPOP method couldn't be easier, and it works. I always feel badly when I hear about people having problems with CPOP, and then I read about how they do it and think....but that's not CPOP! I don't know how this new idea of cooking the soap crept into the rules of CPOP, but it's not necessary, and I think this overheating causes most of the problems people are having. Can you tell I feel strongly about how much I love this method? LOL
 

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I have to agree with navigator, gentle heat is all that is needed. I have silicone slab and individual molds I CPOP with and only have bubbles when it gets too hot. With my oven, too hot happens if I use a heater in my soap and or leave it in the oven too long. Never, ever leave the oven turned on while the soap is in it.

I watch it like a hawk and as soon as I see its in full gel, it comes out of the oven. I may try the water bath though, seems like it might help the edges gel more evenly with the center. I also have a pizza stone in my oven, I think that really helps distribute the heat better then a wire rack.
 

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I have had soaps that will not gel just left in a preheated oven. Sometimes it's from soaping cool, an FO that doesn't help heat it or whatever. I've had soaps never go to gel without constant application of gentle heat and the pre-warmed oven applies gentle heat only for a relatively short period. I often use a heating pad but even with that, I've had soap take hours (sometimes 2, sometimes 5 hours) to start gelling. To use the oven in a case like that, you need to find a way to keep the heat more consistent for a much longer period of time than you'd get just with a preheat. The water works well to absorb and distribute heat (as I said, trying to keep it 120-130 degrees for several hours) but it does require reheating the oven.

I don't look to the oven to cook the soap at all. I just want to ensure gel but the simple preheat and warm mold is often time not nearly enough, at least for me.
 
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TeresaT

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Tess, it really makes a difference if you are trying to force gel or full on cook the soap. A lot of people put the oven on to 170 until it heats up, then they pop the soap in and turn it off, which is enough that the soap can gel nicely. It sounds like you are trying to do hot process oven process instead of cold process oven process, which I think is best done in a pot rather than a mould.

Craig, you are right. I'm trying to cook the soap in the oven. So, I guess I'm not actually doing CPOP. Although, that's what I "thought" CPOP was: cold process the soap then oven process it until it was completely saponified. Unfortunately, I don't think CPOP means what I think it means. (Princess Bride anyone?) I've seen several videos about the crockpot method, but not oven. I know it's possible, but haven't seen a video for it. I'm flying blind and making it up as I go along. I like hot process soap because I'm not patient enough to wait for the cp to cure to use it. I always keep enough of each batch to make a "blob" bar to use when it cools down so I can see if I like it. This photo is my assortment of blobs at the kitchen sink. ImageUploadedBySoap Making1431829562.781769.jpg
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Craig, you are right. I'm trying to cook the soap in the oven. So, I guess I'm not actually doing CPOP. Although, that's what I "thought" CPOP was: cold process the soap then oven process it until it was completely saponified. Unfortunately, I don't think CPOP means what I think it means. (Princess Bride anyone?) I've seen several videos about the crockpot method, but not oven. I know it's possible, but haven't seen a video for it. I'm flying blind and making it up as I go along. I like hot process soap because I'm not patient enough to wait for the cp to cure to use it. I always keep enough of each batch to make a "blob" bar to use when it cools down so I can see if I like it. This photo is my assortment of blobs at the kitchen sink. View attachment 14130

Okay, rather than tangent this thread too much, I would say have a look through the cp and beginner sections for hp titled threads as there was a good thread about using the oven that might help you
 

TwystedPryncess

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I love navigator's explanation. My directions/research that I have for CPOP say (in bulk) to 'cook' on lowest setting for an hour. Most of these come from very experienced soapers so I figured this was who I should be following.

Mine usually won't cook an hour though and I end up pulling them out after 30 minutes because I see bubbles so now after reading that, I feel better that maybe I wasn't doing something wrong after all. I'm doing Nav's way next time. Just a other reason you guys are amazing.
 

TeresaT

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Okay, rather than tangent this thread too much, I would say have a look through the cp and beginner sections for hp titled threads as there was a good thread about using the oven that might help you

Thanks. Checked with some other forums and got good videos. I was just using wrong search terms. Thanks for your help everyone.
 

cm4bleenmb

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The idea of using a bain marie to even out the heat penetration and hold the temperature longer is brilliant. I suppose my cake strips would work as well but I'd rather not get the fresh soap on them and a water bath is so simple. With the baking I do, I'm a little embarassed this never occured to me.

I wonder if the slight amount of extra humidity the warming of the water would contribute to the oven's interior would help to keep soda ash from forming? At the least it would balance out the movement of moisture from the inside of the soap out through the exposed top. (Provided you don't cover yours, I know some people lay a piece of plastic film on their soap.)
 

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I always cover mine but gelling usually helps to prevent ash.

I just did this with a loaf mold that went above the waterline. I was reheating to keep the water temp constant and then forgot I turned on the oven and went outside. It gelled but when I removed the soap, everything below the waterline was nice and smooth and the sides above the waterline had the pockmarks, so it will help prevent those if your water is high enough, and you have no attention span so you forget to turn your oven off.
 
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