Crazy Newcomer Revisiting the Ghee Debate

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amschind

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I've never smelled a corpse, so my point of reference was vomit. As an aside, although the bar may not smell while dry, the smell does return full force each time you wet the bar of soap to use it. šŸ¤® Good luck!
I have no doubt that cooling the bar is no solution. My comment on temperature was more as a guide to what conditions will be required to drive off the sodium butyrate.
 

TheGecko

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FWIW, I donā€™t like using the term ā€œself-sufficiencyā€ because it is delusional if you ask me. Few of us could survive long without the company of at least a few others, or without some goods that we cannot produce ourselves. So while I applaud attempts to disengage from the world market system, I believe it is even smarter to plan with a group of trusted friends, and not as a sole endeavor. My two cents ā˜ŗļø
I don't like it for the same reason. I have yet to watch a show on "self-sufficiency/sustainability" that doesn't rely on some form of technology even if it is only mechanical because what happens when it breaks down?
 

amschind

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I don't like it for the same reason. I have yet to watch a show on "self-sufficiency/sustainability" that doesn't rely on some form of technology even if it is only mechanical because what happens when it breaks down?

I think that you're exactly correct. One of the most extreme examples comes from Guns Germs and Steel, where Diamond speaks of islanders in New Guinea who, despite "living off the land" for sometimes over 50% of their calories, STILL depend heavily upon agriculture and communal manufacturing. Further, given the chance, those people have been thrilled to get whatever Western goods (termed "Cargo" in local parlance) they could, to the point of creating quasi-religious organziations devoted to making airstrips in an effort to attract the military supply aircraft which had brought so much cargo during WW2. Living in a mud hut eating squirrels isn't much of a life, and would either represent a rather bizarre choice or, if it were done out of some kind of terrible necessity, be completely impossible given the certainty of hundreds of millions of other people suddenly thrust into that same (highly resource inefficient) lifestyle. However, if we look back at how farmers live, they're pretty darn good at fixing things. The increasing amount of electrification has made that process easier in some ways and more difficult in others, but it may be easier to be "moderately self-sufficient" today than at any time in the past. The whole Robinson Crusoe fantasy detracts from the popular estimation of the very real value of being able to cook dried beans in a pressure cooker or fix your own car. It's a neat discussion, but I didn't mean for this thread to get derailed into a whole other topic.

Back to findings:
1) Salting out has thus far just produced soap with salt in it. My effort to add salt and then dissolve that in the emulsion completely failed, chiefly because the emulsion DRASTICALLY thickened as soon as I added the salt, making my effort to mix the salt in laughable at best. WIP....
2) I made a trial batch of pure ghee soap in which my aim was to hold it at elevated temperature for as long as possible in order to drive off the sodium butyrate. I performed the initial saponification at 140-150F, and kept that on a burner to maintain that temperature until it became too thick to delay pouring (about 15 minutes). I then tried to remelt it, but it didn't melt over a double boiler. The smell was still apparent after these measures.
3) Again moving down the list of simple expedients, I resorted to setting the bars out in the sun (this is Houston, so it's 95-105F outside and worse at ground level in the direct sun). This has been HIGHLY effective, to the point that my panel of test subjects (unsuspecting neighbors and friends) don't notice any off odors. I'll keep this going for 3 more days and report findings after each, but this would be a pretty exceptional victory as the cost is a few square feet in the sun and the labor to set some bars of soap on the ground.

Thanks again for all of the help!
 

TheGecko

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I think that you're exactly correct. One of the most extreme examples comes from Guns Germs and Steel, where Diamond speaks of islanders in New Guinea who, despite "living off the land" for sometimes over 50% of their calories, STILL depend heavily upon agriculture and communal manufacturing. Further, given the chance, those people have been thrilled to get whatever Western goods (termed "Cargo" in local parlance) they could, to the point of creating quasi-religious organziations devoted to making airstrips in an effort to attract the military supply aircraft which had brought so much cargo during WW2. Living in a mud hut eating squirrels isn't much of a life, and would either represent a rather bizarre choice or, if it were done out of some kind of terrible necessity, be completely impossible given the certainty of hundreds of millions of other people suddenly thrust into that same (highly resource inefficient) lifestyle. However, if we look back at how farmers live, they're pretty darn good at fixing things. The increasing amount of electrification has made that process easier in some ways and more difficult in others, but it may be easier to be "moderately self-sufficient" today than at any time in the past. The whole Robinson Crusoe fantasy detracts from the popular estimation of the very real value of being able to cook dried beans in a pressure cooker or fix your own car. It's a neat discussion, but I didn't mean for this thread to get derailed into a whole other topic.

Back to findings:
1) Salting out has thus far just produced soap with salt in it. My effort to add salt and then dissolve that in the emulsion completely failed, chiefly because the emulsion DRASTICALLY thickened as soon as I added the salt, making my effort to mix the salt in laughable at best. WIP....
2) I made a trial batch of pure ghee soap in which my aim was to hold it at elevated temperature for as long as possible in order to drive off the sodium butyrate. I performed the initial saponification at 140-150F, and kept that on a burner to maintain that temperature until it became too thick to delay pouring (about 15 minutes). I then tried to remelt it, but it didn't melt over a double boiler. The smell was still apparent after these measures.
3) Again moving down the list of simple expedients, I resorted to setting the bars out in the sun (this is Houston, so it's 95-105F outside and worse at ground level in the direct sun). This has been HIGHLY effective, to the point that my panel of test subjects (unsuspecting neighbors and friends) don't notice any off odors. I'll keep this going for 3 more days and report findings after each, but this would be a pretty exceptional victory as the cost is a few square feet in the sun and the labor to set some bars of soap on the ground.

Thanks again for all of the help!
Agree that it is an interesting subject, perhaps we can start another thread under General Chat. I've working an a post-apocalyptical series because as much as I love the genre, too many of the books are unrealistic.

Not a good idea to set your soap in the sun. As noted by @AliOop, your soap is likely to end up being rancid, the ghee aside.
 

amschind

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So, update:
The smell actually came out fairly well, but was still noticeable. For home use, I wouldn't mind, but to give to anyone else it would bother me. The interesting update was that pecan oil actually makes a very nice bar of soap. I was worried that I'd get sludge, but it just takes ~48h to dry I'm going to start making batches flavored with lavender before saponification, and see how they turn out. Thanks again for all of the sage advice!
 

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