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gel phase invention needed

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AliOop

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Have you ever tried just putting it in the oven at 200 for a bit? I've done this the last few times I soaped and it worked out well. I can't do a true CPOP because my stove is old and probably cheap and won't hold the heat well so the soap just ends up sitting in a room temperature box all night. But, the last few times I heated my oven to 200 (lowest temperature), but the mold on the top rack and left it there while I cleaned up (I'd say about half an hour to an hour). If the side of the mold is toasty and warm then I can take the next steps. Maybe you could just leave it at 170 for a bit?
I haven't tried 200 since I always got wrinkly tops even preheating to 170 and then turning off when I put in the soap. I fear that going up to 200 would make things worse, even if I took it out sooner. Perhaps I should make a small test batch just to see. But normally my soaps gel without extra heat, except for cavity molds, so my motivation to try it is rather low. ;)
 

rdc1978

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I haven't tried 200 since I always got wrinkly tops even preheating to 170 and then turning off when I put in the soap. I fear that going up to 200 would make things worse, even if I took it out sooner. Perhaps I should make a small test batch just to see. But normally my soaps gel without extra heat, except for cavity molds, so my motivation to try it is rather low. ;)
Ha ha, totally understand and completely agree. Why mess with perfection, amirite? If your soaps gel without extra help, don't ruin a good thing!

I soap at 90 or cooler so I need all the help I can get! I normally put the mold on the floor of my guest bedroom, cover the mold with a cardboard box and pile on some electric blankets. But I had been worried the last few times because I was soaping in the mid to low 80s and I just wanted an extra push to make sure it went through gel phase.

But hey, if I had a good thing going like you, I wouldn't change a thing!
 

AliOop

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Well, my soaps do seem to gel pretty well, and they end up with a nice creamy, non-drying lather... but most of the other metrics, especially the artistic elements, are all over the map. Let's just sum it up by saying that "perfection" would not be a word used in the same sentence with "my soaps."😂
 

rdc1978

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Well, my soaps do seem to gel pretty well, and they end up with a nice creamy, non-drying lather... but most of the other metrics, especially the artistic elements, are all over the map. Let's just sum it up by saying that "perfection" would not be a word used in the same sentence with "my soaps."😂
I'd bet they are perfect! Its the artistic temperament, Michalangelo was his own worst critic and rarely thought his work was good enough. IJS!
 

YardstickOfCivilization

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@SoapDaddy70 I have been through the same issue myself. I have a few temperature probes around and have played with CPOP, using a warming blanket, various ways of insulating. My recipes have become more consistent and I almost always gel now, except for the extra bar I make in an individual cavity mold. I leave that one uninsulated. Putting one extra bar aside is an easy way to see what the ungelled version of your soap would look like.

I like the idea of a pop-up timer and have found something that would work in the same way:


This was just the first one I found but I'm sure there are tons of options for meat probes with a programmable set-point.

I'm pretty sure with some looking one could find a model that controls a 120 volt circuit, maybe even with an outlet. Then you could plug in a warming blanket, set the temperature cutoff point and walk away. Finding an inexpensive one might be challenging, however.

Update before I even posted:


They exist and are cheap! Gotta love technology!
 

SoapDaddy70

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@SoapDaddy70 I have been through the same issue myself. I have a few temperature probes around and have played with CPOP, using a warming blanket, various ways of insulating. My recipes have become more consistent and I almost always gel now, except for the extra bar I make in an individual cavity mold. I leave that one uninsulated. Putting one extra bar aside is an easy way to see what the ungelled version of your soap would look like.

I like the idea of a pop-up timer and have found something that would work in the same way:


This was just the first one I found but I'm sure there are tons of options for meat probes with a programmable set-point.

I'm pretty sure with some looking one could find a model that controls a 120 volt circuit, maybe even with an outlet. Then you could plug in a warming blanket, set the temperature cutoff point and walk away. Finding an inexpensive one might be challenging, however.

Update before I even posted:


They exist and are cheap! Gotta love technology!
Pretty cool. Problem is figuring out what temperature to shoot for to know your soap is going into gel phase. i believe the more water in your lye solution the lower the temperature in order to reach gel phase. I guess in theory you could use one of those probes and monitor it until soap starts to gel and then record the internal temp of the batter. Who knows if it would even be the same temp the next time you did it. So many other factors involved. I doubt you could ever get a result where you could say a certain temperature will always be what gets a soap to gel.
 

YardstickOfCivilization

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Pretty cool. Problem is figuring out what temperature to shoot for to know your soap is going into gel phase. i believe the more water in your lye solution the lower the temperature in order to reach gel phase. I guess in theory you could use one of those probes and monitor it until soap starts to gel and then record the internal temp of the batter. Who knows if it would even be the same temp the next time you did it. So many other factors involved. I doubt you could ever get a result where you could say a certain temperature will always be what gets a soap to gel.
I think once you start using the same recipe a few times it'll take the guess work out of it. I always soap at pretty much the same temp, pretty cool, and use the same lye concentration, 33%, and same base oils, olive, coconut and palm. I play with a 10% or so luxury oil sometimes but it doesn't seem to change the result very much. I always wrap the mold in a towel and put it in a drawer and it always gels. The last time I had a partial gel it was a batch with beeswax and honey which needed to go into the freezer to prevent a volcano. I haven't used a probe or an oven or anything for months and have had consistent results.

Definitely water is huge when it comes to gelling. This thread covered it really well:

 

YardstickOfCivilization

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I heat my oven to 60 degrees celsius, and then turn it off and pop the soap in. Justleave it in there with the residual heat for several hours. It always seems to work.
Mine's got a minimum temp of about 82 celsius so it isn't as easy. But I can stick a probe in the oven and when I see it get to holding temp just turn it off. Almost as good. Thermocouples are a friend. :)
 

ravenscents

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I have cardboard box, I place my loafs in and cover with a blanket and one of those emergency heat blankets. Tuck all the sides in good. My soap is usually still warm 8 hours later. I never get partial gel.
I bought the blanket in the camping section of Walmart for 4-5 bucks.
It’s almost like a foil.
 

AliOop

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I saved one of the insulated cardboard boxes that comes with our meat shipment. It's the perfect size to set over the top of my molds, and holds the heat in well. Sometimes for cavity molds, I use the insulated foil pouches that Whole Foods uses to deliver the refrigerated portion of our grocery order. Those work really well, too, and they fold up nicely to fit into the soaping cabinet. The box, on the other hand, gets tucked in the spare bedroom closet.
 

bookreader451

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I leave a covered aluminum buffet pan half filled with water on the bottom rack of my soap oven. When I CPOP I heat it to 170 when I start making the batch, by the time I am ready for it to go in, the water has heated and helps the oven retain the heat. Then I turn off the oven, turn on the light and put the soap in. I usually cover the mold and even 24 hours later the oven and the soap are still warm. I never have issues with partial gell when I CPOP.

You could probably get heat retention from a pizza stone or ceramic tile too. Those are more easily removed if you don't have 2 stoves.
 

RevolutionSoap

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I soap at room temperature so I don’t think I’ve ever even gelled. My soaps still come out bright and beautiful. But maybe they could be even more so. Is not hitting gel phase a deal breaker? Keep in mind I’m still very new at this. :cool:
I found this thread by searching to see if I needed to even cover my loafs after pouring.
 

GemstonePony

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I soap at room temperature so I don’t think I’ve ever even gelled. My soaps still come out bright and beautiful. But maybe they could be even more so. Is not hitting gel phase a deal breaker? Keep in mind I’m still very new at this. :cool:
I found this thread by searching to see if I needed to even cover my loafs after pouring.
If your soaps look good to you, I wouldn't worry about gel. Covering your soap may or may not induce gel, but it's also done to limit the amount of air the lye in the soap can interact with in hopes of reducing ash. Which is another purely cosmetic thing. Putting soap through gel or letting it gel can also reduce the likelihood of ash, so covering can be kind of dual-purpose.
HOWEVER if your soap is already going through gel on its own, adding heat or insulation may cause it to volcano, separate, tunnel, or crack!
I recommend looking at pictures or videos of gelled vs. not gelled soap to determine what your soap is already doing before making any changes to what you're doing.
 

xavalyss

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I wrap mine up with pieces of fleece blanket. Each piece is doubled. In colder weather, I set the whole thing on a heating pad.
 

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