Getting a Harder Bar

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rssgnl27

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I've been googling and searching all over the place to an answer that seems basically pretty easy but I can't find the answer I'm looking for.

I have been making goats milk soap for a little over a year now and I've played around with different oils and how they set-up and smell etc etc.. But I'm still plagued by a bar that is never hard enough. I believe I'm using hard enough oils in my recipe. Here is a basic recipe below:

Lard 30oz
Coconut Oil 76 12oz
Safflower Oil 13oz
Essential Oil Fragrance 1.72 oz
Lye 7.8oz
Goats Milk 20.9oz

That's with a 5% superfat. I am thinking that lowering the superfat percentage will get me a harder bar, but I'm leery about lowering it below 5%, I don't want the bars to be too harsh on the skin.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

topofmurrayhill

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I've been googling and searching all over the place to an answer that seems basically pretty easy but I can't find the answer I'm looking for.

I have been making goats milk soap for a little over a year now and I've played around with different oils and how they set-up and smell etc etc.. But I'm still plagued by a bar that is never hard enough. I believe I'm using hard enough oils in my recipe. Here is a basic recipe below:

Lard 30oz
Coconut Oil 76 12oz
Safflower Oil 13oz
Essential Oil Fragrance 1.72 oz
Lye 7.8oz
Goats Milk 20.9oz

That's with a 5% superfat. I am thinking that lowering the superfat percentage will get me a harder bar, but I'm leery about lowering it below 5%, I don't want the bars to be too harsh on the skin.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
Sure, no problem.

The idea of using salt or sodium lactate is valid enough, but you can accomplish what you want by just modifying the oils. Personally I would start with that.

The thing making your soap soft is the safflower oil. It is rich in linoleic acid, which turns into mushy soap. Your recipe ends up being over 21% linoleic acid soap, which contributes a good amount of mush. It can also increase your chances of DOS.

To get harder soap, first we eliminate the safflower oil. Since it was probably helping your lather some, we can add some castor oil to compensate. Castor is good for promoting lather in a harder bar.

If we took all the rest of the safflower and used lard instead, the soap might be harder than you bargained for. So we will increase the lard but also include some olive oil to keep things balanced.

You could also try high-oleic sunflower oil instead of olive or any oil that specifically says "high oleic". For the softer part of your fatty acids, we are basically replacing linoleic acid with much better oleic acid.

The final recipe would look like this:

34 oz lard
12 oz coconut oil
6 oz olive oil
3 oz castor oil

That should produce what you want. If you want to make it softer, take from lard and add to olive.
 

rssgnl27

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Great suggestions! I'll try on my next batch. Super helpful thank you!
 

Little-Bits-N-Pieces

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It looks like you are using full liquid, are you using the 38% of oil weight as your liquid amount? If so I would drop that some and that will definitely make your bars set up and harden faster.
 

Arimara

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It looks like you are using full liquid, are you using the 38% of oil weight as your liquid amount? If so I would drop that some and that will definitely make your bars set up and harden faster.
Agreed. Dropping that liquid down to a little under 16oz would should a huge improvement with that recipe. I just worry about DOS with all that safflower oil in it. Dropping that to 10-15% and replacing with at least a butter or more lard would be a better move.
 

Susie

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I still use full liquid, so don't feel bad. I like fast trace. I would also increase the lard, eliminate the safflower oil, and all the other changes TOMH suggested. I get good, hard bars that I can cut between 18-24 hours consistently.
 

shunt2011

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I too use full water a lot. I'm able to cut in 12-18 hours. I use lard or Palm. The suggestion TOMH is a good place to start. I always use castor in my recipes.
 

rssgnl27

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Sorry for my ignorance but could you tell me what you mean by full liquid? Is it too much goats milk in the recipe?
 

Nevada

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http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showpost.php?p=557367&postcount=9
From what I've seen Canola and Safflower aren't labeled as "Hi Oleic".

....

The thing making your soap soft is the safflower oil. It is rich in linoleic acid, which turns into mushy soap. Your recipe ends up being over 21% linoleic acid soap, which contributes a good amount of mush. It can also increase your chances of DOS.

To get harder soap, first we eliminate the safflower oil. Since it was probably helping your lather some, we can add some castor oil to compensate. Castor is good for promoting lather in a harder bar.

If we took all the rest of the safflower and used lard instead, the soap might be harder than you bargained for. So we will increase the lard but also include some olive oil to keep things balanced.

You could also try high-oleic sunflower oil instead of olive or any oil that specifically says "high oleic". For the softer part of your fatty acids, we are basically replacing linoleic acid with much better oleic acid.

.....
 

Arimara

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Sorry for my ignorance but could you tell me what you mean by full liquid? Is it too much goats milk in the recipe?
It's when you have about 25% or so lye concentration in your lye solution. On the plus side, it helps if you are using fast tracing oils like coconut oil and palm and you want to use some color. From what I've seen, it makes colors more intense that if you used less liquid. But I have only used full water once in favor of using 33% lye concentration much of the time for CP.

What does "TOMH" mean? :???:
That's just an acronym of user TopofMurrayHill. I doubt you want to spell that out all of the time. :mrgreen:
 

Steve85569

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Sorry for my ignorance but could you tell me what you mean by full liquid? Is it too much goats milk in the recipe?
full liquid is the default on soapcalc ( 38% by weight of oil). Some of us like to use less water. I usually use a ration of water to lye of either 1.5 : 1 or 2 : 1. Slows trace and gives a firmer bar sooner.

"What does "TOMH" mean?"

TopOfMurryHill.

They make a very informative post earlier in this thread.

Welcome to the forum both of you. We do speak in "soaper" so check on the stickies. CP is cold process OO, CO etc make sense after you've hung around fer a spell.
 

pinksmartapple

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So does reducing the amount of water slow or speed up trace? I'm confused.
 

topofmurrayhill

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So does reducing the amount of water slow or speed up trace? I'm confused.
A higher lye concentration (lower water) speeds up saponification, and generally speeds up trace. Temperature is also a big factor (warm = faster).

A higher lye concentration raises the melting point of the soap, so with low water you might need to apply some supplementary heat if you want the soap to gel.

A higher lye concentration cuts down on the time it takes the soap to dry and harden -- obviously since there is less water to begin with.
 
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