First batch cut - Now have questions please before I make a 2nd batch

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MissPpoodle

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Hi, I made my first batch yesterday, and thought I had royally stuffed it up when I forgot to pulse the mixer and thought I was creaming butter, made a crumbly mess, then turned into hot gooey gloop, put it into mold anyway, then it got so hot I popped them into the fridge for half hour. Miraculously it seems to have come out of mold not too bad looking, so fingers crossed it will actually be usable in 4-6 week's time.

Before I start my 2nd batch, I have a few questions please:
1. I used Glitz Caustic from Bunnings, made by Pascoe's, as it said 'suitable for soap making' on the label, and info sheet says Sodium hydroxide - Pure* (but no %) then says * Commercially pure. May include small quantities of materials due to manufacturing or reaction processes. What is your opinion of this product?
2. I have an old 1 speed Bamix, steel post. I chose not to use the chopping blade thinking it is liquid nothing to chop, and used the blending blade (the round one with 6 cupped hole ridges) - should I have used the chopping blade, or the blending blade, as am not sure if it went to crumble so quick because of wrong blade, or simply just blending constantly while adding the lye?
3. How hot should the mixture get by itself straight after you pour (or gloop) it into the mold? I started mixing mine when both were close to 43C (110F), and after I check temp in mold and was over 58C (155F), this was only maybe 5 minutes later - is that normal?
4. I got my lye and water measurements from BrambleBerry Lye Calculator, but now I have joined this forum, I have looked at Soapmaking Friend Calculator and it came up with slightly different measurements for the Lye - which is best to follow?
5. I added some cocoa at the end (after it went all crumble, it was supposed to have been a colour swirl, not mud cake, but not complaining), I mixed the tablespoon of cocoa powder in a tablespoon of sweet almond oil - considering it is only added after trace, should I have included it in the oils for the calculator (I didn't).

Thanks in advance for all your help and information.
 

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Marsi

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Hi, I made my first batch yesterday, and thought I had royally stuffed it up when I forgot to pulse the mixer and thought I was creaming butter, made a crumbly mess, then turned into hot gooey gloop, put it into mold anyway, then it got so hot I popped them into the fridge for half hour. Miraculously it seems to have come out of mold not too bad looking, so fingers crossed it will actually be usable in 4-6 week's time.

Before I start my 2nd batch, I have a few questions please:
1. I used Glitz Caustic from Bunnings, made by Pascoe's, as it said 'suitable for soap making' on the label, and info sheet says Sodium hydroxide - Pure* (but no %) then says * Commercially pure. May include small quantities of materials due to manufacturing or reaction processes. What is your opinion of this product?
2. I have an old 1 speed Bamix, steel post. I chose not to use the chopping blade thinking it is liquid nothing to chop, and used the blending blade (the round one with 6 cupped hole ridges) - should I have used the chopping blade, or the blending blade, as am not sure if it went to crumble so quick because of wrong blade, or simply just blending constantly while adding the lye?
3. How hot should the mixture get by itself straight after you pour (or gloop) it into the mold? I started mixing mine when both were close to 43C (110F), and after I check temp in mold and was over 58C (155F), this was only maybe 5 minutes later - is that normal?
4. I got my lye and water measurements from BrambleBerry Lye Calculator, but now I have joined this forum, I have looked at Soapmaking Friend Calculator and it came up with slightly different measurements for the Lye - which is best to follow?
5. I added some cocoa at the end (after it went all crumble, it was supposed to have been a colour swirl, not mud cake, but not complaining), I mixed the tablespoon of cocoa powder in a tablespoon of sweet almond oil - considering it is only added after trace, should I have included it in the oils for the calculator (I didn't).

Thanks in advance for all your help and information.
1. Perfectly suitable. The "small quantities of materials due to manufacturing or reaction processes" covers them for slight moisture and CO2 reactions. The product itself is very good. The reactions will show up as lumpy lye - if your lye isn't lumpy, it's good to go (and if it is, then you will have more superfat that you anticipated).
2. Bamix. Nope. The (blade is *edited to correct terminology) tip contains aluminium, which reacts strongly with lye. Stainless steel is needed to resist the reaction. Aluminium and caustic solutions react to create explosive/flammable/toxic gases ... (your batter likely heated more than you would expect as a result of the aluminium ...)
3. See 2
4. It doesn't really matter. The tables are approximations. The only true way to know the exact amount of lye needed to react with an oil is to test the lye and test the oil. Everything untested is an average, or median, figure. So the calculators vary slighty, depending on where the average data was sourced from. Pick one calculator and stick to it for a while, until you get a bit of experience under your belt (I like soapcalc over Brambleberry, simply because it was first, and I have found one error [a long time ago now] in B' calculator [since fixed]). The calc created here (on this forum) is also pretty good.
5. Cocoa (soaked in oil, good choice) can be added to the oils before the lye, for a smoother blend, but they go well enough adding at emulsion (before trace, when the oil and water-based liquids don't separate anymore). Count the oil if you are making small batches.
 
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Obsidian

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I couldn't understand why your soap went crumbly while mixing but I bet it seized then went into full gel in the bowl.

I'm thinking it was a reaction to the aluminum. Did you see the soap turn greyish at all before you added the cocoa? I do wonder if this soap is safe to use if there was a reaction to the aluminum. @DeeAnna what do you think?

A extra tablespoon of oil is a lot in a small batch, next time just take the oil from the recipe
 

DeeAnna

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I also have a Bamix, and I know for certain the BLADE is stainless steel. It's the BELL (the housing around the blade) that is aluminum. I do not use my Bamix for soap anymore due to the aluminum bell and also because the seal around the shaft of the mixer is not lye resistant. Bamix blenders should be kept for food use only. I confess I learned this lesson the hard way. :p

The reaction between aluminum and NaOH creates hydrogen gas and sodium aluminate, but this reaction will not cause the soap to seize, speaking from personal experience. In this particular situation, the amount of reaction between the NaOH and the aluminum bell was minor and I don't think I'd be overly concerned about it.

I don't recall the difference between the blades on the Bamix, so I don't have a clue which one the OP used. I only use the small, sharp cutting blade when blending soap with a stick blender, regardless of the stick blender brand. I would caution against using any mixing attachment that whips air into the soap batter.

The OP hasn't shared their recipe, so there's not a lot of concrete info to work on. If I saw this behavior in my soap, I'd suspect a problem with the fragrance or other ingredient that could act as an accelerant. Or I'd guess the recipe was high in coconut oil and rather low in water. Or I'd wonder about overly exuberant use of the stick blender. Hard to say.

Soap in gel will get pretty toasty -- 150F / 65C is within the realm of reason. What's less reasonable is the quick increase in temperature. Something out of the usual caused that.
 

MissPpoodle

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Thank you everyone for your advice and help, very much appreciated. Didn't realise the Bamix shroud was alloy, always thought it was SS, but luckily I used an old one that I got for $1 at a garage sale, and it only turned the shroud dull now it is cleaned up, nothing coloured into the soap that I could see. The bits i cleaned off the mixer looked creamy coloured too.

The recipe I used (sorry in grams) was Olive oil 220g, Coconut oil 320g, Shea butter 270g, Cocoa butter 50g, lye 123g, water 275g, then was going to stir through 1 spoon of chocolate powder blended with 1 spoon of sweet almond oil to make a pretty pattern at end, but just chucked it in when it when haywire, then stired by hand with the spatula until it went all gloopy and hot. It went to powder within 5-10 seconds of constant mixing, so pretty sure it was the alloy that caused the issue now, but hopefully next time I will remember to pulse not blend. :rolleyes:

Thanks again everyone.
 

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