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Do Your Lard Soaps Gel?

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Judiraz

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I just started making lard soaps about 5 weeks ago. I haven't had one batch gel yet! Is that normal?
 

Dorymae

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Mine do but it is hot here, hasn't been under 100 in weeks. What are you doing to encourage gel?
 

Seawolfe

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Mine do, but I put my high lard or OO soaps Under cover and sometimes on a whelping mat to help them along.
 

commoncenz

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It's hit or miss with me. All my recipes contain lard and I Insulate with a couple of towels. Sometimes they gel and sometimes they don't. Lately however, I've noticed that while the soap underneath my top layer feels like vaseline, I never see the gel appear on top. I kinda "gently" felt the top of a couple of batches with my index finger that seemed to get hot, but didn't show gelling on top.
 

shunt2011

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Mine all gel. I generally just wrap them well in some towels. I have wood molds with silicone liners and wooden lids. But, I always use a milk in my soaps so that likely helps too.
 

Susie

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Mine gel. I place another mold upside down over mine to protect the top, then wrap the whole thing in a folded beach towel. Matter of fact, I have to watch mine to prevent overheating. I often find that mine need unwrapping for a short while somewhere in the first four hours.
 

DeeAnna

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It depends on your mold shape and size too. If your soap is in individual bar molds or in a slab mold, it will not gel as easily as it will in a loaf mold. Larger loaf molds gel easier than smaller ones.

My soaps usually gel in my loaf molds; each of my molds is large enough to hold about 3 lb of fats. My slab mold is sized to hold the same amount of fats, but soap in it doesn't gel nearly as easily.

I did three batches this past week that contained 60% to 75% lard, and all three gelled. I covered them lightly with a tea towel and set them close to each other on the stove-top grates. One (the 75% lard recipe) even started to crack slightly, so I pulled it out, uncovered it, and put a fan on it for a bit until it cooled down. The air temperature was about 80 deg F.

In the cooler months (fall, winter, spring), I often put the molds in my oven to finish saponifying. Lately I haven't even been warming the oven -- just the heat from a couple of batches of saponifying soap is enough to push the soap into gel.
 

Judiraz

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DeeAnn, that's probably the answer. I generally don't gel my milk soaps and lately I've switched to either a 1# loaf or very small slab for my "experiments". I got tired of too much ugly soap :p.

I probably don't have enough mass to generate the heat to get these smaller molds gelling. Thanks for the thought.
 

Susie

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Yup, that's the answer. I use a loaf pan also that holds 32 oz oil batches.(3 lb total)
 

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