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First batch, Mottling.

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andyc

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Hi there! First post and first time making cold process soap.
This is my first batch which didn't go all that terribly but as you can see it has an mottled colouring and I'd be very grateful if I could get some advice for next time. I have a feeling it has something to do with the insulation.
Here's the recipe I used:
12 oz (340g) of cold, clean water
125g of sodium hydroxide
1lb (454g) olive oil
10oz (284g) coconut oil
6oz (170g) palm oil
I also used 5% FO

I poured my mix into a wooden mould, covered with a towel and left for 24 hours.

FullSizeRender.jpg
 

DeeAnna

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Use less water next time to get away from mottling/streaking as you see in your soap. This is more likely in a soap that goes into gel and then cools very slowly, and mottling/streaking is more obvious in a soap that has colorant added.

You soaped with "full water" and that causes your soap batter to be more likely to gel at a lower temperature. Switch to using "lye concentration" rather than "water as % of oils" and see if a 30% to 33% lye solution concentration helps with this issue. By decreasing the total water, you increase the temperature at which the soap will transition into gel and thus decrease the chance of mottling.

It looks like your recipe has a very high superfat ... I'm seeing somewhere in the neighborhood of 15% or so. Might want to think about cutting that down a bit for this type of recipe. High superfat makes the soap softer, cuts the lather, and may contribute to the development of DOS (rancidity).
 

DeeAnna

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Yes, I really like the deep bronze pencil lines against that verdigris color -- very striking. Nice!
 

andyc

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Thanks everyone! I think the problem was overheating as I only let the oils and lye solution cool to around 120of before mixing and my wooden mould must have been super insulating as well as the thick towel I put around it.
My leftover soap mix turned out fine though! I lined a small cardboard box with baking paper and pored my leftover mix in there. This made soap with a lighter and completely even colour. It is a little softer than the wooden mould soap though but it's only been 2 days. I think I'll wait for my silicone mould to arrive before I try again.
 

DeeAnna

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If the soap actually overheated, you should be seeing cracking on the top and possibly even some separation of the fats and water in the center to bottom parts of the loaf. I don't see any of that in your pic. Did you note any of these symptoms of overheating in the rest of the loaf? If you don't, it didn't overheat. It probably did gel, but gel is not at all the same issue as overheating.

Honestly, it looks like a normal everyday soap that simply has mottling. I can soap with fats at 100 to 120 F and lye solution at 160 to 180 F and don't get overheating either. If you soap this same recipe, same temperatures, same everything else except use a higher lye solution concentration -- you should see the mottling disappear.
 
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andyc

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Thanks for the advice! So would that mean using 250g of water and 125g of lye?
 

DeeAnna

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Yes that is correct IF you want to keep the 15% superfat I think you've got for this recipe. I really think that is much too high.

That said, my advice is to always use a soap recipe calculator (SoapCalc, for example) to verify the numbers, and this advice applies right now. Do NOT trust my answer -- verify by using a calc. Put your lye concentration as 33.33% and enter your fats and see what it comes up with for the water amount.
 

andyc

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Ok I've been playing around with the soapcalc and I've got a new recipe with 5% super fat and a 33.33 lye concentration:

260g of water
130g of sodium hydroxide
454g olive oil
284g coconut oil
170g palm oil
41g fragrance oil
 

navigator9

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I think your soap is lovely. I think that most people are way too critical about the appearance of their soaps. Sure we want them to look pretty, but the important thing is, how do they feel?
 

TVivian

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That's your first soap?! That's beautiful! I was so nervous my first batch that I could have never remained calm enough to do mica lines! I just mixed quick and dumped it in the mold all while I was shaking haha.. Congrats!
 
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