Gelling Temps

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Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2008
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Midwest, USA
I was working on a batch last night and It had just gelled all the way through, so I took the plastic wrap and top off so it could start cooling... It seemed pretty warm and out of the blue, I thought I would just stick my thermometer in it to see the temp...

It was 165 degrees F!! Wow... The original pour temp was about 98 degrees...

Has anyone else done this?? 165 seems really high...
Wow!!! I've been intrigued by the scientific aspects of the exothermism of saponification, and have been putting a remote reading oven thermometer in close contact with the mold before wrapping it in blankets, and I've been seeing temperatures of 110°-120° at the highest. With sufficient insulation and ignoring the thermal time lag I feel that my measurements are a good approximation of what's going on inside the mold.

At 165° I'd wonder if you aren't flirting with the possibility of splitting your log from the heat and expansion.

Speaking of expansion I've noticed that my wooden mold sides bow out slightly in the middle. I doubt the wood was bowed like that when I ran it through my table saw so I expect my molded soap has expanded and warped the sides. Oh well, whoever gets the middle bars will just get bigger soap. :)

Did you see any negative effects of your high temperature?
The soap DID have somewhat of a crack on top, but after slicing and beveling, you can't even tell.

My husband made me wooden molds forever ago and I am still using the same ones. I never noticed any sort of flex in the mold though, and I always gel at high temps. A few weeks ago, I lined my molds in silicone caulking and for some reason, I've been gelling at higher temps?? *shrug* I am going to soap today WO putting the plastic wrap on top. It helps heat my soap up and I've never had ash, but it causes this hard gel like top on the soaps that I don't really care for...I'd like a smoother, creamer top...

I think the higher temp may have been from my FO. It is my best selling scent, but a PAIN PAIN PAIN to work with. A PAIN! :x It ALWAYS rices.
Well if you're using any blanket or insulation I think you can forget it in that recipe.
AGAIN, I had a gel temp of 165!!! And yup... I had a crack on the top!
I was amazed that my palm bars gelled up to at least 132° (maybe a bit higher, I only looked once). That's the highest I've ever seen.

It looks to me like 165° is a bad thing. What oils were you using if that doesn't expose a trade secret?
It only gels for about tens mins. I power gel. I turn the oven on 150 and as soon as I pour the soap, I cover it an set it in the oven for about 20 mins. (I HATE partial gels) It gels and I take it out and get a fan on it to cool. So it is only at high temps for maybe an hour... Instead of a lower temp gel for up to ten hours, like some soapers do. :wink:

I ran out of Shea BUtter so no more new soap until the end of the week... I am going to try to NOT put the cling wrap on and see what it does.
I'm a newbie, so my opinion probably isn't even worth $.02, but I would say to just try doing something different next time & see if it makes a difference.

My first batch was only a 1-pounder, but it got very hot, very fast... got a crack on top, oil started pooling.... lucky I was there to watch it like a hawk. I took it out of the blankies, took the plastic off the top & threw it in the fridge.

I was afraid of partial gel, so kept a close eye, but didn't want to have separation, either. It settled right down once I put it in the fridge & behaved itself. But the little cardboard mold got so hot before I put it in there that it actually hurt my hand to touch it.

I've been told that floral fo's cause soap to heat up quite a bit.... could that have been it for you? Mine was Bergamot & Chamomile, so I guess you'd call that floral :lol:

Anyway, for what it's worth, just thought I'd share that :)

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