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First batch of hot process - kind of ugly

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gdawgs

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Well maybe really ugly. I was sitting around yesterday afternoon and thought, maybe I should try this hot process. I followed the directions in the "Everything Soapmaking" book. I bought a crock (just the porcelain part) at a thrift store, and it just happens to fit in a pot that we have, so I made a double boiler out of it. That part seemed to work really well.

I have some PH strips and I kept cooking until that stabilized(ended up at about 8.5, then gave it some more cooking. The book said a good three hours, but I had it in there for 4.5, which was probably too much. I didn't realize how quickly it would harden once it cools just a little bit. The cut bars don't look too bad I guess other than the edges which kind of look like brains.

What should the PH come down to? I never really found a number. It just said cook until neutral, but that's 7. But I think I read anything less than 10 is good.

I'm not sure the hot process is worth the hassle. It's kind of time consuming, and it sure is ugly. I'm sure many of you have figured out how to make it look nice, but I'm not there yet. I don't know if I'll ever try this again. But who knows.
 

Navaria

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You can't cook soap until neutral. Soap has to be alkaline to be soap. I have the same book and it was my bible when I started out. But that's one part that drove me nuts! Also, don't pay much attention to the time. Every crock is different. Cook till it doesn't zap and is a thick, Vaseline consistence. Not clear like vasoline, just that consistency. HP is not as smooth as cp. It's definitely a more coarse look. I've heard it lovingly referred to as "rustic" lol. As far as time, yes and no. Yes it takes longer to get it in the mold but once it's in the pot all you need to do is stir it down if it starts to mound up and let the heat do the rest. I usually start a batch of hp and then make a batch of cp while it cooks. By the time I'm done, the hp is usually done so I basically make 2 batches in the time of 1. To me, it's worth it. Especially if I hp a utility batch while I cp an aesthetic batch :)
 

gdawgs

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Well, I think I got the rustic part figured out. Thanks for the tips.
 

DeeAnna

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Also pH strips are notoriously inaccurate, especially the way most soapers use them. The reading can be off (usually too low) by as much as 1-2 pH units.

You don't need to cook for hours and you don't need to cook to a given pH. Navaria gave you some good tips.
 

dixiedragon

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I like process for a few things:
1) Difficult fragrances. I have a Mulled Apple Cider FO from Sweetcakes that I just adore - but it is the worst seizer I have ever dealt with. NONE of the usual tricks help. The only way to make it look decent is to HP it.

2) Fragrances that discolor. I hate the flat dull brown of FOs that discolor. but if I use HP they get a gorgeous marbled look.

I do think you probably cooked it too long. Also, what was your recipe? Folks claim that sodium lactate will smooth it out. What I have found to be helpful is Reynold's disposable baking sheets. They are coated with silicone. You can't really smooth HP with a spatula - it's too sticky. I put the sheet on top of the soap and smooth it with my hand, then leave the sheet on. It peels off when the soap cools. It's not creamy-looking like CP, but it's pretty smooth
 

Susie

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Follow what Navaria said. And toss the pH strips. They do you no good in soap.
 

Obsidian

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Brains is a good way to describe HP, lol. I make mine even uglier by using a plastic bag to line my mold with. I figure why waste the time and paper lining a mold for a soap thats going to be rustic anyways?
I don't try to smooth the top, I usually poke at it with a chop stick and make it as interesting as I can then cover with glitter. Sodium lactate helps a lot with keeping the batter smoother, so does using a little more water then I would with CP.
 

songwind

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I second the suggestion of sodium lactate. Its' a big help in making HP soap that doesn't have many air pockets or places where different clumps of soap are touching but didn't self-adhere.
 

gdawgs

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The recipe (off the top of my head, but pretty sure it's right).

18 oz olive oil
8 oz coconut oil
6 oz palm oil
1 oz castor oil

4.75 oz lye dissolved in 10 oz water. Which isn't discounted very much. I probably could have cut that a bit more, but I was just following the recipe in the book (I did check in on a lye calc though)

I believe the test strips can be accurate if you use the right ones and you do it correctly. Some descriptions I've read say to put some water right on the soap, then place the strip on that. This doesn't work because it is way too concentrated. I work with an analytical chemist and he had me bring some in and we did some testing. Basically we took a small test tube and dissolved a small chunk of soap in distilled water in the tube. Then you dip the strip in that. He was pretty confident that we were getting good readings. At this point, I'm testing it just for fun.

He also took a sample to run through a GC (gas chromatograph) to analyze what's going on. I guess us engineers are kind of nerdy with stuff like this. :)
 
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TeresaT

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gdaws, there are lots of nerdy folks here. (Not me!) I love the nerds. I learn sooooo much from them.
 

LisaAnne

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My HP is usually done around 30 minutes maybe less maybe more depending on the recipe. I was taught not discount water and to put plastic wrap over the crock pot instead of the lid. With experience you will be able to tell when to try a zap test. When it doesn't zap then I would put in the superfat, yogurt and fragrance. That usually loosened it up pretty good. If the soap seemed to be extra moist I would leave the lid off for a bit and let it cook off.
Over cooking and less water usually made for crumbly soap.
Bit I also did small batches, usually 2 lbs.

I think HP has it own charm.
 
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