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KyahK

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Hi everyone!
So I found a recipe by the Soap Queen (Back to Basics: Simple & Gentle Cold Process Soap - Soap Queen) and have made it twice.
Both times the soap is brittle and cracks when I cut it.
The first time I added FO and ground orange peels.
The second time I added FO and coffee grounds.
The only other change I made was a multiplied the recipe by 1.5 so that it would make enough soap to fit my mold.
Other than that, I followed the recipe to a T. I also put it through a lye calculator and it seems fine.
My oils were at 100F and my lye/water was at 110F.
I have no idea what I did wrong - any help appreciated!!

Attached are some pictures of the salvaged soap and the pieces that broke off.
1616189167827.png
1616189235023.png
 

AliOop

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My first impression from looking at the pictures is that you waited too long to cut the soap.

With the oils in that recipe (OO, PO, and CO), it's going to get hard pretty fast. Depending on your FO, room temps and soaping temps, you might be able to cut that within 10-12 hours.

The best thing to do with a new recipe is check it often to see when it needs cutting. When it feels like firm cheddar cheese (gives a bit with finger pressure), it's time to cut.

ETA: If your soap over-hardens in the future, you can put it in a warm oven and watch it like a hawk till it softens enough to cut.
 
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KyahK

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@AliOop
I waited 24 hours for the first one and 18 hours for the second.... I think you might be right - it was really hard when I cut it.
Thank you so much! I'll try cutting it earlier next time. :)
 

maryloucb

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Hi everyone!
So I found a recipe by the Soap Queen (Back to Basics: Simple & Gentle Cold Process Soap - Soap Queen) and have made it twice.
Both times the soap is brittle and cracks when I cut it.
The first time I added FO and ground orange peels.
The second time I added FO and coffee grounds.
The only other change I made was a multiplied the recipe by 1.5 so that it would make enough soap to fit my mold.
Other than that, I followed the recipe to a T. I also put it through a lye calculator and it seems fine.
My oils were at 100F and my lye/water was at 110F.
I have no idea what I did wrong - any help appreciated!!

Attached are some pictures of the salvaged soap and the pieces that broke off.
View attachment 55283View attachment 55284
I have made that recipe a few times and usually am able to leave it in the mold for 24 hours without any cracking. Are you using distilled water?
 

KyahK

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@maryloucb I used "demineralized by reverse osmosis" water, which apparently is ok for soap - but maybe not? I'm not sure anymore...
It worked normally in other recipes, so I'm not sure.
 

DeeAnna

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@maryloucb -- The few palm based recipes I've made have been quite a bit harder than comparable lard based recipes. Maybe not brittle, but definitely a challenge to cut. And I've had a batch or so of olive oil soap be unusually brittle, and others that have been well behaved. I guess it just depends.

Are you using a knife to cut your soap, @KyahK? If so, that could be contributing to your problem. A knife, since it has a triangular cross section, is much more likely to cause a hard soap to break or shatter rather than cut cleanly. You may want to go to a wire cutter (like a cheese cutter) or a flat blade (like a bench scraper/dough cutter).

Your reverse osmosis water is fine for making soap, by the way. Even if you had used tap water, it shouldn't make your soap brittle. There are good reasons for not using tap water for soap making, but IMO this isn't one of them.
 

KyahK

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@DeeAnna whew - thanks for the info about the water! I was getting worried. :)
Yes, I am using a big kitchen knife. I will definitely look into a wire cutter/flat blade (they also might make my bars more uniform looking too 😂). Thank you!
 

DeeAnna

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Yep, cut at the right time (AliOop's cheddar cheese stage) and use a flat blade or wire cutter. I bet you'll have way better results now!
 

maryloucb

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I was just trying to think of any variables that would make her soap turn out differently than mine when we used the same recipe. Water came to mind since theoretically the other ingredients were the same.
 

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