First batch ever -too brittle to cut :(

Discussion in 'Recipe Feedback' started by Phyllis, Apr 2, 2013.

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  1. Apr 2, 2013 #1

    Phyllis

    Phyllis

    Phyllis

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    Hello, I'm new to soap making and would appreciate any input. I've been doing a lot of research on cold process and room temperature process, and decided to go with room temp for my first batch. Everything seemed to go well, but when I took it out of the mold the soap was too hard and brittle to cut with a knife; large shards would shear off, so I cut it using a small band saw. I have been reading that brittleness can be cause by either too much lye or the properties of the oils. My recipe was:
    37 oz Canola oil, 24 oz Crisco shortening, 26 oz olive oil, 25 oz water, and 11 oz lye.
    I would like to save my first batch if at all possible. If I have used too much lye, can I rebatch and add more oil? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)
     
  2. Apr 2, 2013 #2

    MaitriBB

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    Did you run your recipe through a lye calculator? I ran your recipe through soapcalc.net, and with 38% water and a 5% superfat, it told me to use 33.06 oz of water and 11.145 oz of lye.
     
  3. Apr 2, 2013 #3

    chicklet

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    It looks like the recipe is closer to a 3% SF, which might be okay, although that's cutting it close. Did you zap test the soap? Did it gel or did you refrigerate it after you put it in the mold?
     
  4. Apr 2, 2013 #4

    Phyllis

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    I ran my recipe through the MMS lye calculator with 5% superfat. My batch reached trace and looked like all the batches I'd seen demonstrated on Youtube. I haven't done the zap test yet since this is only day 2 of the setting process. Would now be a good time to zap test? No I didn't refrigerate the soap at all.Oh, I forgot to mention that I waited 48 hours to remove the soap from that mold; not sure if that makes a big difference.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  5. Apr 2, 2013 #5

    melstan775

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    You can probably zap test it. Also watch out for the lye type in soapcalc. One member of this forum realized she had been using koh by mistake when she should have been using naoh.
     
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  6. Apr 2, 2013 #6

    Badger

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    It sounds like it might be lye heavy as that is what happened with my first batch. Mine looked fine when I poured it into the mold and mixed it, but it was very brittle and broke into pieces instead of cutting. I know the problem I had was that I did not have a very good scale and it got worse when I spilled some olive oil on it, so it made my numbers off.
     
  7. Apr 2, 2013 #7

    Phyllis

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    So I did the zap test and didn't get a zing, but I am worried that it is lye heavy. Is it possible to save it/rebatch it?
     
  8. Apr 2, 2013 #8

    Badger

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    If you are worried that it is lye heavy, but are not sure of the numbers and where it may be off, it is kind of hard to rebatch. You can do what I did with my first batch and make laundry soap out of it. You may want to see if anyone else has thoughts or suggestions before you do this, as I might be wrong and there is another answer to this. (I am pretty new to making soap myself).
     
  9. Apr 3, 2013 #9

    Phyllis

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    Thanks so much for all the input. I've read differing opinions on rebatching lye heavy soap; some say no, others say yes with added oils, so I'm just trying to get as many people to give me their opinions as possible. I don't know how hard it is to rebatch since I've never done it, so I don't know if it may be more trouble than its worth to just go ahead and give it a try.
     
  10. Apr 3, 2013 #10

    Cherry Bomb

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    Rebatching is not fun but it can be done!!! Lol did you use tap water or did you use distilled water?
     
  11. Apr 3, 2013 #11

    sistrum

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    If you think your soap might be lye heavy, not just to low a superfat, you might try adding some malt sugar or malt extra to the liquid you are using to remelt. Way back in the day a Dr. Karl Braun said that soaps have been rendered neutral,( as in no excess lye, not PH neutral) by the addition of malt extract or malt sugar. The idea being the free alkali forms with the sugar a sodium saccharate. He says soaps with such an addition are claimed to posses a great lathering power.

    I think this is where the idea of adding sugar to our soaps comes from. And before you ask, I don't know how much.

    Personally I don't think you can fix a harsh soap by remelting and adding new oils. If its has excess lye then maybe, but if say, it just has to low of a superfat then there is no lye left to react with the new oils you will have free oils in your soap that would go rancid as soon as their time is up. Know what i mean? I would just grate it up and add it to a new batch formulated to counteract what ever problem you think you have with the batch you are trying to save. Good luck

    Another hint, when you glop your rebatch into you mould be sure to mound up the middle so when it dries you won't get the shrunken head syndrome. Good luck.
     

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