Help with Salt Bar recipe

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CpnDouchette

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Full disclosure, I've never used a salt bar so maybe I just don't know what they're supposed to be like / don't like them.

My salt bars seem to lather weirdly. There are some large bubbles to begin with (although we're in a hard water area and I wouldn't say they're massively bigger / bubblier than my usual recipe) but they quickly dissipate and leave something quite foamy behind. The foam has a lot of structure to it - if I leave a foamy bar to dry, it will dry with the foam on and when it's dry, it reminds me a little of an areo chocolate bar. The foam doesn't seem cleansing but the bar does seem very drying. Is it because I added oils other than coconut? Recipe below:

Lye concentration: 33%
Superfat: 20%

Citric acid at 2% of total oils

Salt at 50% of total oils

80% Coconut oil
10% Shea butter
3 % Castor
7% Sunflower

I would like a less foamy bar and a better lather. The bars are hard but seem to last less long than my usual bars mainly because of poor lathering.
 

Obsidian

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They do have very different lather than other kinds of soap. Should be thick, made up of lots of little bubbles.
I suspect some of your issue is the shea, butters and other hard oils like palm/lard reduce lather in salt bars.

Try 80% coconut, 20% olive, 35% salt with 20% SF.
I have harder water and find this is the best recipe for good lather.
I also suggest at least 6 month cure. As for the other bars, put them away for a year or so, it should help.
 

CpnDouchette

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Try 80% coconut, 20% olive, 35% salt with 20% SF.
Do you use olive oil for a specific reason or more because it's accessible, cheap (or used to be) etc? I think I'd probably switch out for rapeseed or another liquid assuming it doesn't push linoleics too high as I'm not a massive fan. I may just do a tiny batch with olive oil and see where that takes me.

I was also under the impression I could get away with using salt bars a bit sooner than usual - will shove them to the back of the shelf then and see how they do in a few more months.
 

dibbles

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I only added a butter to salt bars one time and didn't like the results. I also cure my salt bars for a minimum of 6-7 months before using, and use salt at 50% of the oil weight. My recipe is 85% coconut oil,10% avocado (or other liquid) oil, and 5% castor. I do have softened water. Here is an old thread with pictures I posted showing the difference of a long cure.
 

Obsidian

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Do you use olive oil for a specific reason or more because it's accessible, cheap (or used to be) etc? I think I'd probably switch out for rapeseed or another liquid assuming it doesn't push linoleics too high as I'm not a massive fan. I may just do a tiny batch with olive oil and see where that takes me.

I was also under the impression I could get away with using salt bars a bit sooner than usual - will shove them to the back of the shelf then and see how they do in a few more months.
Olive gives me the best results. I've tried replacing it with sunflower, avocado or safflower and so far, OO wins.
This is the only soap I still use OO in, I've completely replaced it in all my other recipes as I don't like it.
 
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My salt bars are 100% CO, 100% salt, and 20% SF. Lather is fluffy, mild, and dense after 10mos cure, and gets milder as time goes by.

The scrubby version uses brewed coffee for some of the liquid, plus 1 T PPO used coffee grounds. Great for deodorizing hands at the kitchen sink or garden sink.
 
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I've been using @Obsidian's recipe for a number of years now and it is my best-selling soap. I cure them for a minimum of 3 months before even thinking about selling them and I let my customers know that they get better and better as they age (the soap, I mean, not the customers... although...).

My daughter loves them so much, I make a 21 bar batch just for her once a year.
 
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I've been using @Obsidian's recipe for a number of years now and it is my best-selling soap. I cure them for a minimum of 3 months before even thinking about selling them and I let my customers know that they get better and better as they age (the soap, I mean, not the customers... although...).

My daughter loves them so much, I make a 21 bar batch just for her once a year.
I never took salt bars to market that were less than a 6-month cure. My recipe which I have been making since I started soapmaking is:
40% CO
45% PKO
10% Castor Oil
5 % Almond Oil
17% superfat
1% Sorbitrol
Ground Oats
100% extra fine salt
Lye Concentration 27%
 

CpnDouchette

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Here is an old thread with pictures I posted showing the difference of a long cure.
Holy moly, that's a staggering difference! Definitely to the back of the shelf they go then. Maybe I just assumed they needed less of a cure due to the salt?

I've been using @Obsidian's recipe for a number of years now and it is my best-selling soap
High praise indeed! I'll give @Obsidian's recipe a whirl. I was so excited to try them and have to say I was really disappointed - I'm not sure I've ever been disappointed by a bar of soap I've made up until now.

Thanks all - I'll try again and report back in 6 months or so ;)
 
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Just checked my notes, and I actually used 50% salt, not 100%. I have some bars that are approaching 2 years old that are amazing.
 
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I’ve had the opportunity to try a number of well-aged salt bars made by others as well as my own that are now up to three years old. I’ve used the same recipe as @dibbles and also tried making the base from 100% coconut at one point. As I recall, most of them were made using 50% salt, but there may have been one with 100%. We have hard water and none of the bars make the super impressive lather others have raved about. I’m currently working on a “low salt” recipe that I hope will bring some of the qualities of the famous salt bar lather to my regular recipe.
 

Obsidian

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I’ve had the opportunity to try a number of well-aged salt bars made by others as well as my own that are now up to three years old. I’ve used the same recipe as @dibbles and also tried making the base from 100% coconut at one point. As I recall, most of them were made using 50% salt, but there may have been one with 100%. We have hard water and none of the bars make the super impressive lather others have raved about. I’m currently working on a “low salt” recipe that I hope will bring some of the qualities of the famous salt bar lather to my regular recipe.
I also have hardish water and did a lot of experiments with different amounts of salt.
50%-100% just doesn't lather well, 35% seems to be a sweet spot for me. Still enough to make a proper salt bar but not so much to kill lather
 
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I have hard water and the formula I use works well with good lather. It gives more of a creamy lotion type not high bubby-type lather. I forgot to add I still use my normal 0.5 % EDTA and 0.5% Sodium Gluconate so it could also make a difference. Although when I first started soapmaking I did not use cheleators and salt bars I started making the first year I started making soap.
 

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