Gel phase in cp soap

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cece_em

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Good day everyone! Just a quick question.

How long should a cp soap stay in gel phase?

I did an egg shampoo bar yesterday, which was molded around 5:30 PM. It's almost 24 hours and my soap is still gel-like.

I am guessing it is overheated. I have done a few batches of this kind of cp soap with the egg yolk in it. The previous batches, i used a silicon mold with individual cavities and even then, my soap would go through gel phase. Yesterday, i used a wooden log mold, and i did not insulate it with blankets. My lye solution was already room temperature when i mixed it into my oils. I used jasmine essential oil in my present batch.

Should i rebatch?

image.jpg
 
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cece_em

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Hello Susie.. This is my first batch using the avocado oil and almond oil.... It's past 24 hrs from molding and the soap is still looking like dark gel and is not warm. It overheated because of the egg yolk (incorporated by tempering), which i always get even when i used my silicon mold, smaller batch of 500 grams.

It was weird because before it went to gel it is now, it was still creamy white, and i was able to make some peaks on top of the soap.. And now the soap has gone flat.
 

DeeAnna

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If the soap is not warm to the touch, it is not in gel. Yes, it may have gelled in the first several hours after you poured it into the mold. Yes, it may now be darker than you want. Yes, it may be soft (you didn't say anything about that -- just guessing here). But if it's currently at room temperature and it's been 24 hours after you made it, the soap is definitely not in gel anymore.
 

Susie

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As DeeAnna said, that is not in gel phase. I am thinking you have far too many liquid oils for it to firm up quickly. It may be a week or more before you can unmold it. If I were you, I would think about adding some hard oils in place of about 50-60% of those liquid oils, either palm, tallow, or lard to avoid this issue in the future.

I doubt it overheated, either. Overheated soap usually has issues other than "still liquid". If you could get a pic for us, it may help.
 
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cece_em

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As DeeAnna said, that is not in gel phase. I am thinking you have far too many liquid oils for it to firm up quickly. It may be a week or more before you can unmold it. If I were you, I would think about adding some hard oils in place of about 50-60% of those liquid oils, either palm, tallow, or lard to avoid this issue in the future.
Noted, thank you.. :) Is it advisable to have this one rebatched and adding hard oils?
 

Susie

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Not really. Once you finally get it to set up, you can grate it then and use it as confetti in a new batch. You will want to use 1 part of confetti to 2 parts new soap to get it to meld together.

ETA- Why did you change the lye concentration? Too much water can cause too liquidy soap also. Leave the lye concentration and water percentages alone until you have more experience and valid reasons to change them.
 
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cece_em

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Not really. Once you finally get it to set up, you can grate it then and use it as confetti in a new batch. You will want to use 1 part of confetti to 2 parts new soap to get it to meld together.

ETA- Why did you change the lye concentration? Too much water can cause too liquidy soap also. Leave the lye concentration and water percentages alone until you have more experience and valid reasons to change them.

The default in soapcalc is set at 38% under the "water as % of oil weight". So i had to input for myself the 30% under the "lye concentration".

I had used this % of lye concentration for the last few batches of soap, including the previous batches of egg shampoo bar. I did not have this kind of problem before, not even if i had only used coconut oil at 25% of total oils, and the rest are soft oils like rice bran, olive (not pomace), sunflower and castor oil.

Actually, for this batch of soap, i only replaced some of the soft oils i mentioned above with avocado and sweet almond oil, and i upped the superfat from 7% to 10%.

UPDATE: i placed the soap mold inside the refrigerator. The soap has gotten a bit hard. I am not sure if i should be happy about that because it might be that when i take the soap out of the fridge after 48 hrs, it might still be soft. I am hoping it hardens up enough to be usable in the shower. Fingers crossed!

It's truly amazing that every batch of soap will always give different experiences. I thought i had experienced it all. Apprarently, not quite.

Edited to add a photo taken out of the fridge just now. Before being placed inside the fridge, the soap was transparent, you could see inside the soap, literally. It was really gel-like. After a few minutes inside the fridge, it had gotten quite firm, and it is no longer transparent. And notice the droplets of soap on the mold liner... That droplet is such a huge contrast compared to the gel-like soap loaf.

I will update this post in a few days or weeks.

image.jpg
 
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Susie

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I would not refrigerate that soap. If you want the mold for another project, freeze it for a couple of hours. Or better yet, just scoop it out with a stainless steel spoon and plop into something else.

Lye concentration should be left alone. Water as % of oils can be lowered if you have a good reason.
 

DeeAnna

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Susie -- the OP actually reduced the water content in the soap by using a lye concentration of 30%. "38% water as % of oils" is roughly 28% lye concentration. She went to 30% lye concentration => less water and that is a direction I would have done too for this recipe. A higher lye concentration should have helped the soap to saponify better, especially with that much liquid fat in the recipe.

Cece -- No, the soap didn't overheat; there are no signs of overheating in your picture. I'm guessing instead that the soap is overly fat heavy and did not fully saponify. So some things for you to consider --

Did you use KOH rather than NaOH?
Is your NaOH older and not as pure anymore?
Is your scale working properly?
Could you have made a measuring mistake -- not enough lye or too much fat?
Did you use a stick blender to mix the batter and get it to a clear trace before pouring in the mold? With that much liquid fat, it will be important to get the batter to a definite trace before pouring, otherwise it may separate in the mold and not fully saponify.
 
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cece_em

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Susie -- the OP actually reduced the water content in the soap by using a lye concentration of 30%. "38% water as % of oils" is roughly 28% lye concentration. She went to 30% lye concentration => less water and that is a direction I would have done too for this recipe. A higher lye concentration should have helped the soap to saponify better, especially with that much liquid fat in the recipe.

Cece -- No, the soap didn't overheat; there are no signs of overheating in your picture. I'm guessing instead that the soap is overly fat heavy and did not fully saponify. So some things for you to consider --

Did you use KOH rather than NaOH?
Is your NaOH older and not as pure anymore?
Is your scale working properly?
Could you have made a measuring mistake -- not enough lye or too much fat?
Did you use a stick blender to mix the batter and get it to a clear trace before pouring in the mold? With that much liquid fat, it will be important to get the batter to a definite trace before pouring, otherwise it may separate in the mold and not fully saponify.
I only use NaOH. NOT sure about the being not pure anymore it was bought just a few months ago, and is placed in a sealed container.

I measured accurately for lye, water and oils. Scales are good.

Yes, i did use a stick blender. It was at medium trace when i poured in the mold. It actually hardened enough for me to make some texture on top, but when the soap gelled, the top became flat.

I will update this post within a few days just to see how the soap looks like, and if it hardens enough to be sliced with ease, just like any cp soap.

I was afraid to go to 35-40% lye concentarion (just like in most bastille or castille soap) because i was afraid that with the addition of the egg yolk, the soap might overheat.
 

cece_em

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Photo update 2

Attached photo is the current state of my soap after i took it out of the fridge. The soap remind me of one soap i did which i didn't gel by placing it in the fridge for 24 hrs after it was molded.

I did not dare cut this yet because it is still sticky from the coldness of the fridge.

And i think i know the culprit of this weird soap: the jasmine "essential oil". It is my first time to use any essential oil from this local supplier. I think it made my soap go crazy because it is not pure essential oil. I can never really confirm this, unless i have the essential oil tested. But it makes sense... I haven't had any trouble with soap with a lot of soft oils before, considering i already did more than 5 batches of soap with egg yolk (even milk as the liquid) and with only 25% coconut oil (hard oil) content. I even used essential oils and fragrance oils in those batches, no trouble at all.

I will continue to update this post until i get to handwash test this soap

image.jpg
 

soapgeek

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If the soap is not warm to the touch, it is not in gel. Yes, it may have gelled in the first several hours after you poured it into the mold. Yes, it may now be darker than you want. Yes, it may be soft (you didn't say anything about that -- just guessing here). But if it's currently at room temperature and it's been 24 hours after you made it, the soap is definitely not in gel anymore.
Hi DeeAnna,

I know this is an old post/reply, but I've been digging around for info on gel phase, and I think this has answered it for me, but I have a further question if you don't mind please?

I've just made a batch today, about 5 hours ago now, and it's currently wrapped in a towel, sleeping in a box... I've been keeping tabs on the temperature of the mould (it's a small plastic one from Ikea), and it's currently reading about 95°f.

After the partial gel 'disaster' with a batch the other day, I'm hoping this one will fully gel...

My question is this, and it's two-fold really:

I was wondering is there a minimum temperature that the soap needs to be to go through full gel phase?

You've answered the question to which I was seeking an answer, 'how will I know if gel phase is complete?' - because it is not warm to the touch (thank you!)

Which got me to wondering, does a newly-moulded soap need heat to saponify?

The fact that my soap is now 5 hours in and still feeling warm, is this heat the gel-phase in action?

This soapy business is truly fascinating!

I hope you don't mind the questions? 🙂
 

DeeAnna

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Soap does not have to be heated or even covered/insulated to get hot enough to go into gel. You might need to cover it or warm it -- experience will tell you this -- but not necessarily.

Most of the year, I only cover my molds with waxed paper mainly to keep the dust off, but I'm sure it holds in a bit of warmth. Most of the time the soap gels. In the winter when my home is cool -- in the mid to upper 60s F -- I will put a box over the mold to hold a bit more heat in. I almost never use techniques like insulated box, heating pad, CPOP method, etc. to force gel. If a batch doesn't fully gel, I'll CPOP after the soap is done to fix that, but I seldom have to do that even.

The gel temperature varies depending on the fats used and the water content in the soap. For any given recipe, higher water content => lower gel temp and vice versa. Having never measured the gel temperature myself, I can't say what's typical for my soap. But Kevin Dunn did a study of water content and did measure the gel temperature of his particular "Duck" recipe. It varied anywhere from about 140 F (Duck recipe with more water) to 180 F (same recipe with less water).

If you do choose to heat the soap with a CPOP method (oven heating), the oven does not have to be at the gel temperature of the soap. It only needs to supply sufficient extra heat to ensure the cooler ends and edges of the soap get warm enough to gel. The center of the soap will get hot enough all on its own to gel.

You don't want the soap to get any hotter than absolutely necessary -- excess heat causes problems too. That's why people these days often heat their oven to 110-120 F rather than the 170 F temp that was recommended some years ago.

"... The fact that my soap is now 5 hours in and still feeling warm, is this heat the gel-phase in action? ..."

Not necessarily. When the sides of your mold are warm to the touch, that is definitely a sign that saponification is happening, that's for sure. But that doesn't 100% mean it has gotten hot enough to go into gel.

As you can see from Dunn's results, the soap has to get pretty toasty before it goes into gel. If the sides and bottom of my wood molds are on the edge of being too warm to hold comfortably, I'm pretty sure the soap is in gel.

I can sometimes see when the soap is in gel when there's a darker oval in the center of the mold. I have to say that darker oval isn't always super obvious to me for some reason.

In those cases, if I'm feeling especially curious, I will gently press the top of the soap (with a gloved finger) to see if the center is markedly softer than the edges. That center softness surrounded by firmer edges is another sign of gel, although at the risk of messing up a little spot on the top by me poking around.
 

soapgeek

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Soap does not have to be heated or even covered/insulated to get hot enough to go into gel. You might need to cover it or warm it -- experience will tell you this -- but not necessarily.

Most of the year, I only cover my molds with waxed paper mainly to keep the dust off, but I'm sure it holds in a bit of warmth. Most of the time the soap gels. In the winter when my home is cool -- in the mid to upper 60s F -- I will put a box over the mold to hold a bit more heat in. I almost never use techniques like insulated box, heating pad, CPOP method, etc. to force gel. If a batch doesn't fully gel, I'll CPOP after the soap is done to fix that, but I seldom have to do that even.

The gel temperature varies depending on the fats used and the water content in the soap. For any given recipe, higher water content => lower gel temp and vice versa. Having never measured the gel temperature myself, I can't say what's typical for my soap. But Kevin Dunn did a study of water content and did measure the gel temperature of his particular "Duck" recipe. It varied anywhere from about 140 F (Duck recipe with more water) to 180 F (same recipe with less water).

If you do choose to heat the soap with a CPOP method (oven heating), the oven does not have to be at the gel temperature of the soap. It only needs to supply sufficient extra heat to ensure the cooler ends and edges of the soap get warm enough to gel. The center of the soap will get hot enough all on its own to gel.

You don't want the soap to get any hotter than absolutely necessary -- excess heat causes problems too. That's why people these days often heat their oven to 110-120 F rather than the 170 F temp that was recommended some years ago.

"... The fact that my soap is now 5 hours in and still feeling warm, is this heat the gel-phase in action? ..."

Not necessarily. When the sides of your mold are warm to the touch, that is definitely a sign that saponification is happening, that's for sure. But that doesn't 100% mean it has gotten hot enough to go into gel.

As you can see from Dunn's results, the soap has to get pretty toasty before it goes into gel. If the sides and bottom of my wood molds are on the edge of being too warm to hold comfortably, I'm pretty sure the soap is in gel.

I can sometimes see when the soap is in gel when there's a darker oval in the center of the mold. I have to say that darker oval isn't always super obvious to me for some reason.

In those cases, if I'm feeling especially curious, I will gently press the top of the soap (with a gloved finger) to see if the center is markedly softer than the edges. That center softness surrounded by firmer edges is another sign of gel, although at the risk of messing up a little spot on the top by me poking around.
Thank you DeeAnna, I think I need to do more experimenting... the batch I made yesterday has also partially gelled, even though it had got quite toasty warm by the evening... I think I need to look at the variables - my 2 successfully gelled batches had PO/POO/COO, but the batches that only partially gelled had no PO, but both had CO/POO/SB/Castor, and one of these also had SAO - possibly too much soft oils? I'm not going to bother with the CPOP to try to force gel, I think it's probably too late for that now, and I don't really want my oven smelling of rose geranium and patchouli, I'm worried t'll make our bread taste weird 😄

I'm going to read and re-read your words, and look at Kevin Dunn's stuff, so I can digest and try to better understand the chemical processes... 😊
 

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