I’m still trying to get this gel process thing right. I’ve been having some problems.
First of all, I live in the tropics, so that means my average temps are in the 80s.
I have been having problems getting a full gel soap. I get a lot of partial gel, but never full gel. Normally, I either stick in the fridge to avoid gel altogether. If I leave my soap out on the counter to saponify, I usually get partial gel. I really want to master full gel, but it’s not going good.
This last batch I made last weekend. It was 95% co, and 5% castor. 25 oz soap in the bb 4 in loaf mold. The FO was bamboo lotus from crafters choice, with black mica, beach sand and 1 tsp of TD. I used the heating pad on the bottom set on low and had a USPS box over the mold. After about 4 hours I checked on the soap, and I had the beginnings of a small soap volcano with some cracking, I immediately turned off the pad and took the box off the soap to let it just finish.
I unmolded it about 8 hours later (12 hours saponifying total) and when I cut it, I had partial gel. It was closer to full gel, but it hadn’t gone completely to the edge. I’m so frustrated!!!
Is it even possible to get a volcano and partial gel? The reasonings for them are so opposite, I don’t know how to adjust for this. I kept the recipe simple so as to not have other variables complicate things but it still didn’t turn out like I wanted. Close, but not really.
I’m making another test loaf tonight (temps are in the high 70’s) but I’m only putting the box on the top and maybe a towel or two. This recipe is much more complicated (more oils, sodium lactate and simple syrup) I want to see how this turns out, however I’m really at a loss as to what actions to take to get gel but avoid volcano in such a small mold.
Any suggestions on what I should try to get to that sweet spot? Ugh... so frustrating.
The attached pic is the soap. You can see that it’s almost there, but not really. The flecks are hawaiian beach sand. It’s an inside joke for a friends boyfriend who called poppy seed soap, “sand soap”. Was hoping that the CO + sand would make a good mechanics cleansing bar.
Thanks in advance for your help