This is about 30min into cooking after trace:
After full gel (an hour) we started stirring it:
Then it was left around 100-110F for another 1 hour 20mins. During that time it was stirred occasionally. So, a total of 2 hours 20min cooking. This seemed like overkill, but we wanted to make sure it was done, then we had dinner which kind of extended the cooking.
For the first hour it was probably 140F-180F, then the heat was turned off, and once it fell to 100-110F, it was left for an hour and 20mins. It looked like this after the 2 hour 20min cooking-after-trace mark:
At that point we were convinced it was prettttttty done. There were some lumps in it, probably from the edges getting to 180F in the beginning, but also because some soap was left on the upper edges of the crock pot, and probably dried out faster/more than the rest of the batch. I think next time itll be important to keep it all as one and not let it smear on the edges and be left there to dry out. It wasn't too lumpy, but still, there were some lumps in the end.
After scooping most of the good stuff out, we were left with some drier portions on the edges and stuff, so I scooped it with my hand and mashed it into a soap cake to keep separate from the main batch since it was drier:
This is the main batch, probably a 5"x5" square, 2" to 2.5" deep:
We put saran wrap on the top, not sure if that was necessary but we were afraid of ash.
So, a day later, the soap cake isn't cracking or anything. The main batch seems nice, a little harder than it was yesterday, but only a little harder.
If you press the main batch, you can indent it with your finger, it's almost like pushing your finger onto some hard white styrofoam or something - softer than I thought it would be.
So now the question is whether or not to cut it up tonight or let it be (will it get harder as it is? Not sure.)...
Smells nice and pepperminty though, pretty cool. We ended up doubling the amount of oatmeal. The original 32oz recipe called for 1/4cup, so we ended up doing 1/2cup.
We tested some of the fresh soap last night, really nice and lathery and a good amount of bubbles. Didn't seem to dry the hands too much although it did have 28% coconut oil in it!
These things smell really pepperminty, you could get away with half the peppermint EO I bet and it'd still be decently strong.
Next time won't cook it so long and will add at full gel and not trace
So this is the soap. Wanted to find a nice cutter tool but after going to every grocery store on earth, and bed bath beyond, we just made one out of a soup can. It cut a little wonky but who cares. They probably have something that does the same at an art store, havent really checked for that though.
This is what it looks like 2 days after being cut. It seems to be firming up nicely so far. The whole basement smells like peppermint. We're drying them on racks, not on a pile like in the picture.
This turned out really well for a first batch I think, the quality of the soap is pretty awesome in terms of lather and bubblyness and cleaning your hands so far.
I'd say these are totally Christmas-gift quality!
Thanks for all the help!!!
Going to make another batch soon, stay tuned, soap homies