Glycerin Rivers?

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thursday48

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So after way to long between batches, I made my second batch of soap! Honestly while I was a lot calmer through this one, I made it way to late at night so things sort of turned into a bit of madness and I’m pretty sure that’s a big part of the reason that everything that did go wrong in this batch did. Basically I’m learning that mise en place isn’t just for the kitchen (duh, don’t soap at midnight and that maybe a bit more obvious). However the soap got made and cut and it was fun and I’m learning so huzzah.

Now my issue is I’m pretty sure these are glycerin rivers and they only seem to be in the area that I used TD in, which I know can cause them. Is there a good way to avoid this happening with TD (if that’s what this is)? I know I didn’t prep the TD as I should have because I didn’t premix it well in oil first but is there an amount of TD you should try to stay under per pound of soap?

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lsg

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It looks like TD crackle to me.:)
 

thursday48

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Excellent, that's what I thought but honestly I WAY over stick blended this recipe and am not doing CPOP which is where I saw most of the things about this. Also thanks for the Auntie Clara's link I kinda forgotten about that websites.
 

IrishLass

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Yep- those are classic 'glycerin rivers'. I soap on the warm side (110F-120F) with a 33% lye solution and use my oven (set to 110F then turned off) to encourage full gel in my batches, and it's rare that I ever get glycerin rivers. But once in the blue moon that I do get them, I've noticed that it always seems to coincide with me having used an ornery FO that accelerated trace and caused my batter to go through a hotter-than-usual gel.

For what its worth- I've found that it's not always TD-related, though. To explain, in the majority of the rare times I've gotten glycerin rivers, TD was used, and the rivers only appeared in the parts of my soap that contained TD swirls; but in a few other of those rare occurrences, no TD was used in my batch at all. The only common denominator I've been able to put my finger on is the accelerating/hot gel-causing FO that was used.


IrishLass :)
 

dixiedragon

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I call it mi se en place also! I always think of Anne Burrell from America's Worst Cooks barking! "Check your mi se en place!

TD can be water soluble, oil soluble, or both. Check to see which one it is. Also, you may want to try mixing it with glycerin.
 

thursday48

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Oh Thanks for the information IrishLass, I didn't scent the white portion of my soap but I'm glad for the info.

Thanks Cherry I didn't see the whale until you pointed it out but it's totally there and cute.

Dixie, OMG YES! I love Anne. My TD is oil soluble, I"m going to try to prep it correctly, with the mise en place not on the fly and then try glycerin.
 

DeeAnna

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The idea of glycerin congealing to make "glycerin rivers" is a bit off the mark. It's more accurately called streaking or crackling or mottling, and here's a more accurate explanation --

Crackling and mottling are caused by conditions where the soap in a semi-liquid gel state is allowed to cool very slowly. The slow cooling allows the different types of soap -- oleic soap, lauric soap, stearic soap, linoleic soap, etc. -- to crystallize into solid form at different times.

This "differential crystallization" does two things. First, any pigmented colors (titanium dioxide, ultramarines, etc.) will migrate into the soaps that stay liquid the longest. Second, the different kinds of soap will solidify in separate layers, and some of these soaps are opaque and others are translucent. Both effects create texture and color differences. You can see this same streaking and mottling in some uncolored soaps if you look closely, but the effect can be nearly invisible to a casual glance.

Differential crystallization can also set the stage for cracking in some soaps, especially if the soap bar is not allowed to fully dry between uses. Cracking is the process where the more soluble layers of soap wash away faster, leaving unsightly open cracks between the remaining layers of less soluble soap.

Although people try all sorts of things with varying amounts of success, the absolute best way to minimize the chance of streaking/mottling is to avoid gel. The best way to avoid gel is to use less water in your recipe. The best way to do that is to set your lye concentration to no less than 30%, but the most reliable results are when the lye concentration is closer to 33%.

More background:
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=55321
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=60711
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=56397
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=52013
 
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thursday48

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Okay, quick question (it maybe a dumb one but we all start somewhere) I've seen where people have had luck with adding TD to hot oil in preventing rivers and crackling, but I've also seen that soaping cooler is a way to avoid it. Are these things unrelated and my brain is just connecting them because they both have to deal with temperature?

I made another round of soap and again only got crackling in the colors I used TD in so I figured I'd try adding TD to hotter oils and I'm going to soap cooler because I'm having cracking from overheating. I'm also going to do some more research on changing my water/lye ratio, and try that.
 

DeeAnna

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I can't see the connection, but maybe I'm just not picking up on it very well. I have to say I've not heard the "add TD to hot oil" idea before.

As far as soap cooler -- yes, that's a common idea. People jump through all kinds of hoops to soap cooler and/or to prevent the soap from gelling with the goal of preventing mottling. Put the molded soap in the freezer. Put it in front of a fan. Use palm oil; don't use palm oil. Use oil soluble TD; use water soluble TD. Use a slab mold or individual cavity molds. Etc, etc. Sometimes these ideas work and sometimes they don't because they all depend on controlling the heat generated from saponification, and that is not an easy nor quick thing to do.

The most reliable way to prevent mottling is to raise the temperature at which the soap goes into gel -- and the best way to do that is to use less water (aka a higher number for the lye concentration). It doesn't take a big change and it works more reliably. I also think it makes sense to not add any extra heat to the soap during saponification (CPOP, using a heating pad, etc.)

Or just relax and enjoy the magic. I personally don't worry about it. I like the crackles.
 

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