Did I ruin my GLS?

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MrsZ

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I wasn't sure if I should post this in recipe feedback, or the main IrishLass Cocoa Shea GLS thread.

Yesterday I made the soap paste from this tutorial: My Creamy Cocoa/Shea GLS Tutorial

This morning there is a really nice, thick layer of translucent paste, but the top is covered with a runny, bubbly, greasy layer. Nothing zaps, so that's all good.

Here's the recipe:

"Recipe to make 1lb. of paste, super-fatted @ 3% on Summerbee Meadow's Advanced Lye Calculator, with a 3:1 water to lye ratio (aka 25% lye concentration):

35% coconut oil (76 degree-type)........... 5.6oz/159g
30% castor oil...................................... 4.8oz/136g
20% cocoa butter................................. 3.2oz/91g
10% olive oil........................................ 1.6oz/45g
5% shea butter.................................... .8oz/22.6g
KOH................................................... 3.47oz/98g
Glycerin............................................... 10.4oz/295g"

I followed the measurements exactly. I figured if these were her measurements, they would work for me too. :)

I did run the recipe through a soap calculator, and when I did it showed that it had a 7% superfat instead of 3%.

I probably should have adjusted the KOH and water and glycerin amounts to add up to 3% superfat, but I used it as written.

I did use her easier method of dissolving the KOH. I used equal amount of distilled water to dissolve the lye, then added the glycerin.

It's the stuff on top I'm worried about. I'm guessing that the thin runny layer is probably unsaponified oils, from the extra superfat? But I'm not sure.

Does anyone have any idea if this is what it is? Can I use it the same, or should I try to redo it with more KOH, or just pour off the liquid layer?

Also, I allowed it to sit for 20 hours, and my KOH is supposed to be 90%.

I'll post a picture in a few minutes.
 

MrsZ

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Here is what it looks like. There is a thick, taffy like soap paste on the bottom, the white top is runny, bubbly and a little greasy.

ETA: I just realized this might belong in the LS forum, not recipe feedback?
IMG_20210907_101132189.jpg
 

ResolvableOwl

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All is not lost! Non-zappy is a good thing. And the recipe aims on being creamy, so a tad of extra superfat wouldn't make it even more opaque and “unsightly” as it is by itself.

The ingredients you quoted is only the first part of the recipe. The order in which the original post calls for ingredients/steps/descriptions makes sense from the perspective of someone who is routinely doing it, but can be confusing if you want to copy it for the first time.
@IrishLass has based the recipe on 95% pure KOH (but didn't write that she did so), so if you were sticking to the recipe by the gram, but with 90% KOH, your superfat would be around the same 5% higher.

7% superfat is quite a number for LS, but it's what the original is using as well (later on, Polysorbate 80 to a rescue). So if it feels greasy, it's kind of intentionaly that way. Don't throw it away! The ton of glycerol will turn the soap into something remotely similar to M&P base, that can “swallow” a bit of superfat without terrible separation (like ordinary natural-glycerol LS would).

  1. The quick-fix would be to just leave out the stearic acid from the dilution-steaming step. (That would mean that the “superfat” comes from the mix of the original oils, which isn't problematic, just not the original recipe by the word).
  2. More sophisticated, you could add the missing 0.17oz/5g KOH to the dilution water (without stearic acid), wait until it's non-zappy again (water bath/CPOP, or let it stand for a few days), and then melt in the stearic acid. That would be more faithful to the original recipe, but it'd take longer and you'd have to heat up the paste twice.
  3. If you add KOH and stearic acid at the same (dilution) time, they react instantaneously with each other, and you would have even less free stearic acid in the finished soap than with variant 1. Still a viable soap, but it won't have much of the pearlescent and thickening properties that FFA stearic acid adds.
 

MrsZ

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All is not lost! Non-zappy is a good thing. And the recipe aims on being creamy, so a tad of extra superfat wouldn't make it even more opaque and “unsightly” as it is by itself.

The ingredients you quoted is only the first part of the recipe. The order in which the original post calls for ingredients/steps/descriptions makes sense from the perspective of someone who is routinely doing it, but can be confusing if you want to copy it for the first time.
@IrishLass has based the recipe on 95% pure KOH (but didn't write that she did so), so if you were sticking to the recipe by the gram, but with 90% KOH, your superfat would be around the same 5% higher.

7% superfat is quite a number for LS, but it's what the original is using as well (later on, Polysorbate 80 to a rescue). So if it feels greasy, it's kind of intentionaly that way. Don't throw it away! The ton of glycerol will turn the soap into something remotely similar to M&P base, that can “swallow” a bit of superfat without terrible separation (like ordinary natural-glycerol LS would).

  1. The quick-fix would be to just leave out the stearic acid from the dilution-steaming step. (That would mean that the “superfat” comes from the mix of the original oils, which isn't problematic, just not the original recipe by the word).
  2. More sophisticated, you could add the missing 0.17oz/5g KOH to the dilution water (without stearic acid), wait until it's non-zappy again (water bath/CPOP, or let it stand for a few days), and then melt in the stearic acid. That would be more faithful to the original recipe, but it'd take longer and you'd have to heat up the paste twice.
  3. If you add KOH and stearic acid at the same (dilution) time, they react instantaneously with each other, and you would have even less free stearic acid in the finished soap than with variant 1. Still a viable soap, but it won't have much of the pearlescent and thickening properties that FFA stearic acid adds.
Thank you so much for your reply! It all makes so much sense. I'm glad to know it can be used without too terribly much fixing. I have to order a few things before I dilute it, so that will give me time to decide which method to use.

I remember seeing that this KOH was 90% when I ordered it, but I just downloaded the MSDS for it, and it shows the purity at 84-92%. I had no idea there could be such a big difference.
 

MrsZ

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If I do not add the extra KOH at dilution time, and just omit the stearic acid, would I also need to omit the extra superfat added at dilution as well? I would assume so.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I wasn't sure if I should post this in recipe feedback, or the main IrishLass Cocoa Shea GLS thread.
ETA: I just realized this might belong in the LS forum, not recipe feedback?
You're in the right place for other members to troubleshoot problems with recipes. I'll wait for @IrishLass to respond before commenting since she can offer the best advice and since I haven't made that particular LS recipe -- yet!!! LOL

PS: Kudos to @ResolvableOwl for taking the time and making the effort to analyze your result.
 

ResolvableOwl

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If I do not add the extra KOH at dilution time, and just omit the stearic acid, would I also need to omit the extra superfat added at dilution as well? I would assume so.
You don't need to do anything, except decide how orthodox your GLS should be in the end.

You already have a lovely soap (in the same superfat league as word-for-word GLS, but that's what the Poly80 will be good for). Extra superfat is unusual in itself with LS, because most recipes aren't able to hold more than 1…2% of not fully saponified oils anyway. The GLS extra steps are to control what ends up as superfat.
At the moment, your excess fat is likely a mix of mono-/di-/triglycerides of probably mostly cocoa butter and olive – nothing to complain about! They just cannot lend the same opacity and creaminess to the (diluted) soap and its lather, than free stearic acid could.

If I were in your situation, I'd split the paste (first weigh everything carefully, water loss during cooking is a beast!). Dilute one part without KOH/stearic acid to see if your “close enough” was indeed close enough to satisfy you. Then you have the rest of the paste to test for corrections (or not).


BTW, the term “superfat” has once and for all lost its meaning in our context here. There is just no way how a soap that is made out of oils (triglycerides) and lye can have any relevant amount of free stearic acid in it. One has to isolate (or buy) it first. Only in the loosest definition of superfat (“greasy stuff that is present after making soap”), the stearic acid is integral part of the soap itself.
Decide yourself if The GLS Diploma™ is worth messing around with vanity additives 🤣
 

MrsZ

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You don't need to do anything, except decide how orthodox your GLS should be in the end.

You already have a lovely soap (in the same superfat league as word-for-word GLS, but that's what the Poly80 will be good for). Extra superfat is unusual in itself with LS, because most recipes aren't able to hold more than 1…2% of not fully saponified oils anyway. The GLS extra steps are to control what ends up as superfat.
At the moment, your excess fat is likely a mix of mono-/di-/triglycerides of probably mostly cocoa butter and olive – nothing to complain about! They just cannot lend the same opacity and creaminess to the (diluted) soap and its lather, than free stearic acid could.

If I were in your situation, I'd split the paste (first weigh everything carefully, water loss during cooking is a beast!). Dilute one part without KOH/stearic acid to see if your “close enough” was indeed close enough to satisfy you. Then you have the rest of the paste to test for corrections (or not).


BTW, the term “superfat” has once and for all lost its meaning in our context here. There is just no way how a soap that is made out of oils (triglycerides) and lye can have any relevant amount of free stearic acid in it. One has to isolate (or buy) it first. Only in the loosest definition of superfat (“greasy stuff that is present after making soap”), the stearic acid is integral part of the soap itself.
Decide yourself if The GLS Diploma™ is worth messing around with vanity additives 🤣
Sounds like I'll have some experimenting to do! Thank you for your help. :)
 

Tara_H

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Not a lot to add to the advice you've already been given, but I've made that recipe two or three times and I don't find your picture to be terribly out of the ordinary for it.

I have it broken down into two separate recipes in SM3, paste phase and dilution phase. If it would be useful (and if I remember) I can send you on my condensed summaries (now that I'm familiar with the outline I like to have it in short bullet points to refer to while making).

Sounds like you have a handle on next steps to take anyway, I hope it works out! :)
 

AliOop

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Not a lot to add to the advice you've already been given, but I've made that recipe two or three times and I don't find your picture to be terribly out of the ordinary for it.

I have it broken down into two separate recipes in SM3, paste phase and dilution phase. If it would be useful (and if I remember) I can send you on my condensed summaries (now that I'm familiar with the outline I like to have it in short bullet points to refer to while making).

Sounds like you have a handle on next steps to take anyway, I hope it works out! :)
That sounds amazing! If you are in the mood to share, my guess is that @IrishLass would not mind you posting that info on her thread, or starting a new thread with this info, that links to her tutorial thread. Thank you so much! 💙
 

MrsZ

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Not a lot to add to the advice you've already been given, but I've made that recipe two or three times and I don't find your picture to be terribly out of the ordinary for it.

I have it broken down into two separate recipes in SM3, paste phase and dilution phase. If it would be useful (and if I remember) I can send you on my condensed summaries (now that I'm familiar with the outline I like to have it in short bullet points to refer to while making).

Sounds like you have a handle on next steps to take anyway, I hope it works out! :)
I'm glad that mine doesn't look too odd to you! That is a relief. :)

I'd love your summaries, if you feel like it. That sounds like it would be so much easier. Thank you. :)
 

Tara_H

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Ok, here are the two recipes - looking over them again I have it at 6% superfat to match the quantities given in the original thread. Also, Irishlass recommends basing the extra (end) superfat on the finished diluted weight but I base it on the paste just to keep things a bit more simple (and I use almond oil instead of meadowfoam because I don't have any of that). The dilution recipe needs to be adjusted according to the amount of paste you end up with. I usually eyeball the numbers in SM3 and tweak them until the required paste matches what I have, but more mathematically inclined people could do the calculations by hand either ;)

Recipe Name: 'Creamy Cocoa Liquid Soap - Paste Phase' Type: Potassium Soap

BASE OILS:
Coconut 157.50 gr 35.0%
Castor 135 gr 30.0%
Cocoa Butter 90 gr 20.0%
Olive 45 gr 10.0%
Shea Butter 22.50 gr 5.0%

ADDITIVES:
Misc: Glycerin 295 gr

PACKAGING ITEMS:

LYE & WATER:
Lye Discount: 6%
Water/Lye Ratio: 1.00
Expected Water Loss: 10.0%

NOTES: Dissolve lye in water.
Add glycerine when fully dissolved.
Add melted oils.
Hand whisk or SB until emulsified.
Cover and leave to turn to paste.

Recipe Name: 'Creamy Cocoa Liquid Soap - Dilution Phase'

INGREDIENTS:
Misc: Creamy Liquid Soap Paste 928.00 gr 70.57%
Misc: Sodium Lactate 27.75 gr 2.11%
Water: Water 301.66 gr 22.94%
BaseOil: Stearic Acid 27.75 gr 2.11%
Misc: Polysorbate 80 1.45 gr 0.11%
BaseOil: Almond 27.62 gr 2.10%
Misc: Polysorbate 80 0.79 gr 0.06%

NOTES: Almond oil (sub for meadowfoam) + second dose Polysorbate 80 to add as superfat after dilution.
 

MrsZ

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Well, we've got a problem here! I was getting ready to dilute my soap tonight. Just out of curiosity, I zap tested it again. Oh boy did it zap! I now know what that feels like. And like a dummy, I touched the paste directly to my tongue since I had not detected any zap the first time I tested it. Ouch!

I must have tested only the loose, floating oils on top the first time or something.

I of course stopped everything. No diluting lye heavy soap, right?

I'm thoroughly confused now. My soap paste has been sitting in the fridge since September 8th. I was careful to measure everything properly when I made it. Where did I go wrong? Please could someone give me some advice?
 

Zany_in_CO

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I was getting ready to dilute my soap tonight. Just out of curiosity, I zap tested it again. Oh boy did it zap!
The soap Gremlins must be making their rounds. I had the same problem with a recent batch -- although I don't use the ZAP test. Still not ready to dilute after a 3-hour cook PLUS 2 weeks of sitting around in a ZipLoc collecting dust. I've noticed other posts mentioning this too. It's a head-scratcher at this point. :smallshrug:
 

MrsZ

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The soap Gremlins must be making their rounds. I had the same problem with a recent batch -- although I don't use the ZAP test. Still not ready to dilute after a 3-hour cook PLUS 2 weeks of sitting around in a ZipLoc collecting dust. I've noticed other posts mentioning this too. It's a head-scratcher at this point. :smallshrug:
Oh dear. 😔
 

ResolvableOwl

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@MrsZ I nearly don't dare ask, but: Have you added the stearic acid that the dilution stage is calling for?

All puzzle pieces together just make no sense. As if the KOH decided lately to increase in purity? I've been there as well (Ohhh, those gremlins 👿), I was able to fix it with castor oil.
Though the GLS paste “should” have a tiny amount of superfat after the first stage, late addition of extra oils (or FFAs like stearic acid) can act as a zap safeguard, to mitigate underestimated lye purity, or other gremlin attacks.
Next stupid question: Are you sure it's the same batch as the one you've made earlier this month? Stupid mistakes, like mixing up batches, do happen.
 

MrsZ

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@MrsZ I nearly don't dare ask, but: Have you added the stearic acid that the dilution stage is calling for?

All puzzle pieces together just make no sense. As if the KOH decided lately to increase in purity? I've been there as well (Ohhh, those gremlins 👿), I was able to fix it with castor oil.
Though the GLS paste “should” have a tiny amount of superfat after the first stage, late addition of extra oils (or FFAs like stearic acid) can act as a zap safeguard, to mitigate underestimated lye purity, or other gremlin attacks.
Next stupid question: Are you sure it's the same batch as the one you've made earlier this month? Stupid mistakes, like mixing up batches, do happen.
Thanks for taking the time to reply! Not, yet, no I have not added the stearic acid. I measured it out along with the PS 80. I was just scooping out paste to weigh into that when I decided to zap test again. Since it zapped, I just put it back away until I could get some advice here. :)

Are you suggesting I try to dilute a small amount and see if the stearic acid fixes the problem?

It is definitely the same batch I made earlier in the month, as it's only the second batch of LS I've ever made, and I labeled it well. :)

Since I'm unsure where I went wrong, I'm unsure how to fix it.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Yeah, that's indeed mysterious. Soap losing its zappiness (especially bar soap curing in the air) is not unheard of; but soap becoming more caustic over time isn't included in the standard conception of soap chemistry.

Good news first: zappiness can always be cured with just enough stearic acid. In fact that's how the majority of M&P soap base recipes work.
That measurement “just enough” is of limited use for you, though.

Have you already clarity-tested it? You probably need to dilute it in hot distilled water (due to cocoa/shea). If it is zappy and fails the clarity test, then something else is fishy too.
 

MrsZ

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Yeah, that's indeed mysterious. Soap losing its zappiness (especially bar soap curing in the air) is not unheard of; but soap becoming more caustic over time isn't included in the standard conception of soap chemistry.

Good news first: zappiness can always be cured with just enough stearic acid. In fact that's how the majority of M&P soap base recipes work.
That measurement “just enough” is of limited use for you, though.

Have you already clarity-tested it? You probably need to dilute it in hot distilled water (due to cocoa/shea). If it is zappy and fails the clarity test, then something else is fishy too.
I feel like it was probably zappy when I first made it, but I must have only tested that top, greasy, runny layer of oils I was concerned about in the first post. I must not have tested it deep in the middle of the batch. I'm not sure.

I didn't clarity test. I assumed that it wouldn't be clear because of the cocoa and Shea. I'll read how to clarity test again, and try that later. I will report back. :)
 
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