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Cracking recipe every time!

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Tuftyloves

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55% Olive

25% coconut

10% castor

5% cocoa butter

5% Shea butter

Lye concentration 38% (I can’t go any lower or I get insane soda ash)

A tsp of kaolin clay per lb of soap added to oils

A tbsp of cocoa powder added to oils

Cannabis & cocoa FO

This has happened to me multiple times. The first time (with a different recipe) I assumed it was too much cocoa butter. The only time I’ve ever had batches NOT crack, they have been without cocoa butter... but I know it can be used successfully obviously, which is why I’ve taken it down to 5%.

I blend at around 120, and stick them into a warm oven. I know I could go into the fridge to prevent gel, but there simply HAS to be a way to use cocoa butter and go through gel phase. I’ve also tried soaping at room temp and got the same results.

Happy for any advice!
 

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KimW

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I've soaped with cocoa butter with no problems, but I soap at a lower temperature when I use butters, around 100F. I also wrap my recipes that have more than 10% coconut oil in some towels, instead of putting them in the oven, to force gel. Maybe you're just soaping too hot to begin with? Perhaps, also, it's not just the cocoa butter alone, but the combination of coconut oil and cocoa butter. I wonder what would happen if you left in the cocoa butter, but took out the coconut oil...but then again, that would be a somewhat expensive experiment!

There's a thread somewhere about coconut oil causing batter to heat up. I'll see if I can find it and update my reply.

ETA:
What happened?
 
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Katie68121

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I had cracking like that, I changed to soaping at 90-100 F and no more cracking. But if you’ve tried soaping at a lower temp, perhaps do not put it in the oven?
 

AliOop

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Agreed that the combo of higher temps, CO+CB, and CPOP is causing overheating. Lower your temps and don’t put it in the oven; just insulate lightly and take a look at it every hour. I’m sure it will gel just fine. If it still cracks, it may not even need insulation at all.
 

linne1gi

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Usually cracking occurs when the top of the soap has cooled but the inside is still quite hot - voila! cracking because the heat has nowhere to go. By putting the soap in the oven, you can avoid this, the oven provides an equalization of temperature - the inside and the outside of the soap are warm and cool slowly. You can also achieve this by using a heating pad and covering your soap with towels or blankets.
 

DeeAnna

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I agree with the advice everyone else has offered. Here's my contribution to the conversation --

If you watch carefully, you may see the top of the soap begin to expand slightly as it heats up, just like a cake baking in the oven.

If the soap has a flat top to start with, it might hump up as much as 1/4 inch (6 mm) in the center. With your swoopy tops, the change might not be as obvious, so you'll have to educate your eye.

When my soap starts to hump up, I set my mold up on a cooling rack or several soup cans and train a fan to blow over the whole mold. That really helps to prevent cracking. Or if I don't catch it quite soon enough and the soap cracks, the fan cooling slows the cracking down to just small hairline cracks in the very center.
 
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