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Help/Troubleshooting my second batch: Rock hard solid in Crockpot after 25 minutes!

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roscoe_bee

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Hello all! I've been lurking for a month or two while enjoying the fruits of my first amateur batch. My first batch was a CP that I converted to a HP recipe (CO/EVOO blend using oils I had on hand) and it turned out OK considering it was my first batch.

I tried today to follow a recipe/formula that I found in a book ("Soap for Oily Skin" in "The Everything Soapmaking Book" by Alicia Grosso, 3rd edition) after buying a bunch of EO's and oils online.

Formula attached below. The formula recommends actually using less lye than what the book's formula called for:

6oz olive oil
4oz coconut oil (76)
6oz grapeseed oil
0.5oz castor oil
5.5oz strong black tea
2.25oz NaOH

15drops various EOs [never added]
1/4t lav EO [never added]

The only thing I can think I did poorly is not be patient enough for the lye-black tea mixture to cool enough before adding to the oils (how much does that matter? Reading on the forums seems to indicate not too much). It traced within 30-60 seconds using my cheapo stick blender purchased only for soapmaking. I put the lid on it and walked away with a timer set for 30 minutes. The recipe says to check for neutrality every thirty minutes, up to 3 hours.

Within 25 minutes (I was eager), I noticed it had solidified thoroughly.(It had definitely not neutralized) It lifted clean out of the vessel and was like a giant oblong hockey puck! I tried cutting through it with a spoon and chunked it up,



grated it with a box grater, added about 8oz water into the crockpot in an attempt to melt it back down (thinking/hoping the water would cook back out if given enough time), and finally reintroduced the grated fodder. I then Stick blended it back into a paste and allowed it to heat back up. It seemed fluffy.

Another 25-30 minutes elapsed and it appeared to take on the texture of a broken buttercream, with the tea seemingly having fallen out of emulsion and underneath the fluffy broken fat layer floating atop.

Questions: Can it trace too quickly? Is there such a thing? What/where did I go wrong in the process and is this salvageable/rebatchable? Thanks in advance.
 

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SaltedFig

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I tried today to follow a recipe/formula that I found in a book ("Soap for Oily Skin" in "The Everything Soapmaking Book" by Alicia Grosso, 3rd edition) after buying a bunch of EO's and oils online.

Formula attached below. The formula recommends actually using less lye than what the book's formula called for:

6oz olive oil
4oz coconut oil (76)
6oz grapeseed oil
0.5oz castor oil
5.5oz strong black tea
2.25oz NaOH

15drops various EOs [never added]
1/4t lav EO [never added]

The only thing I can think I did poorly is not be patient enough for the lye-black tea mixture to cool enough before adding to the oils (how much does that matter? Reading on the forums seems to indicate not too much). It traced within 30-60 seconds using my cheapo stick blender purchased only for soapmaking. I put the lid on it and walked away with a timer set for 30 minutes. The recipe says to check for neutrality every thirty minutes, up to 3 hours.

Within 25 minutes (I was eager), I noticed it had solidified thoroughly.(It had definitely not neutralized) It lifted clean out of the vessel and was like a giant oblong hockey puck! I tried cutting through it with a spoon and chunked it up,



grated it with a box grater, added about 8oz water into the crockpot in an attempt to melt it back down (thinking/hoping the water would cook back out if given enough time), and finally reintroduced the grated fodder. I then Stick blended it back into a paste and allowed it to heat back up. It seemed fluffy.

Another 25-30 minutes elapsed and it appeared to take on the texture of a broken buttercream, with the tea seemingly having fallen out of emulsion and underneath the fluffy broken fat layer floating atop.

Questions: Can it trace too quickly? Is there such a thing? What/where did I go wrong in the process and is this salvageable/rebatchable? Thanks in advance.
The tea wasn't the problem.

The recipe, as you have typed it, is lye heavy.

Without seeing the book, I cannot tell whether the error is in the print or the transfer, but errors in printed (and online) recipes DO happen.

It is important to always run all recipes through a lye calculator, regardless of source. A couple of lye calculators that are popular are Soap Calc and Soapee.

Sorry, but I do not think it would be safe for you to attempt to save this soap.
 

AustinStraight

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The screenshot of your SoapCalc recipe is all wrong, it says you're using 6 ounces of olive oil, 4 ounces of grapeseed, 6 ounces of castor, and just .5 ounces of coconut oil. I think something was misread or miscommunicated somewhere but I'm not sure what...

I ran it through SoapCalc and the typed recipe (6 ounces pomace, 6 ounces grapeseed, 4 ounces coconut oil, .5 ounces castor) should have 2.26 ounces of lye for a 5% superfat. Is that what you used?
 

roscoe_bee

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Hey all,

I'm sorry for the tardy reply back to you.

As I thought about it, staring at the crock pot that day, I decided that it was indeed lye heavy. I blended in more lard since it was the cheapest fat I had on hand.

It ended up emulsifying without any issue and I poured it and allowed it to cure. It has turned out to be a usable soap, believe it or not.

Not my finest day but an acceptable recovery in my book. I'll definitely do better to double check printed recipes and not treat them as gospel.

Thanks all!
 

SaltedFig

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Nice save!
Thanks for coming back to let us know :)

...

Not my finest day but an acceptable recovery in my book. I'll definitely do better to double check printed recipes and not treat them as gospel.

Thanks all!
A bit better than just acceptable, that's a pretty impressive correction of a soap gone wrong ... wasn't this just your second batch?! :thumbs:

(And ... did you take any cut soap photo's? - It would be great to see the end result of your efforts!)
 
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