Honey disaster in CP

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Hello everyone, I am back with a full report!

The spots on the soap I initially posted here still ooze when I open them up. It does indeed look like caramel. I tested the pH of the oozing liquid, alone as well as diluted in water, and they both yield 10, so at least they aren't dangerous. I will keep an eye on potential mold in the future, I'm not yet sure how the soap will behave.

I decided to buy new honey, fresh acacia honey that is still liquid, so it would be easier to work with.

I made a small test batch. I made half a pound of soap and I diluted 1 tsp of honey in 1 tsp of warm water and added it at trace. The batter was nice and smooth, and as you see, no specks in sight:

View attachment 73654

I then thought, "must have been the honey", and so using the new one, I decided to make my usual bigger batch with one of the methods you guys suggested, namely adding honey to the oils before the lye solution. And... the specks were back:

View attachment 73655

This made me think that despite the second honey being better than the first one, the problem always lay in the method I used to add it to the batter.

If I add the honey alone at trace, it may not disperse properly depending on its thickness and how quickly the batter reaches trace.

If I add it to the lye water, it turns dark red and so does my soap.

If I add it to the oils before the lye solution, I get specks.

The perfect solution, at least in my case, seems to be dispersing the honey in warm water and adding it at trace. In my latest attempt, I used 2 tsp honey which I dispersed in 2 tsp warm water. The batter was so pretty, I wish it could stay this shiny, wet honey color.

View attachment 73656

After going through the gel phase, the outside reaches a light creamy color and the inside a honey look:

View attachment 73658View attachment 73659

I hope this will be able to help any new soapmaker who encounters one of the possible issues.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read my post and give me advice!
Have you tried steaming the top of your soap? I followed the recommendation from someone else here, and steam works beautifully on most soaps. You could try just using a steam iron on a couple of bars to see if you like the effect. (Just the steam, not the iron!) 😆

I have a light weight steamer that isn’t very user friendly, and you just reminded me it’s time to upgrade. I’m looking at this one on Amazon.
 
I used raw honey indeed. The mystery about it is that I used the exact same one in my very first honey soap, and none of this happened! I will try different honeys from now on 😄

Forgot to mention, I always use raw, local honey & have never had this issue. I buy directly from a local honey producer. That being said, there are many places which label themselves as 'honey farms' which bring in honey from many other places & from many actual producers, and then mix those together, bucket it all up & sell it. Question the people you buy your honey from so you know what you are getting.

Most 'honey' in stores is no longer honey, being adulterated with a lot of garbage. It's sad, but it also makes a lot of sense. If we think about this logically: how is it that we have so much 'honey' available to us, in amounts like we have never seen before in recent history when the bee population has been absolutely decimated? ❓ 🤔 😲

If you bought your honey from a store, it very likely is adulterated. Just be aware of that.
 
Hello everyone, I am back with a full report!

The spots on the soap I initially posted here still ooze when I open them up. It does indeed look like caramel. I tested the pH of the oozing liquid, alone as well as diluted in water, and they both yield 10, so at least they aren't dangerous. I will keep an eye on potential mold in the future, I'm not yet sure how the soap will behave.

I decided to buy new honey, fresh acacia honey that is still liquid, so it would be easier to work with.

I made a small test batch. I made half a pound of soap and I diluted 1 tsp of honey in 1 tsp of warm water and added it at trace. The batter was nice and smooth, and as you see, no specks in sight:

View attachment 73654

I then thought, "must have been the honey", and so using the new one, I decided to make my usual bigger batch with one of the methods you guys suggested, namely adding honey to the oils before the lye solution. And... the specks were back:

View attachment 73655

This made me think that despite the second honey being better than the first one, the problem always lay in the method I used to add it to the batter.

If I add the honey alone at trace, it may not disperse properly depending on its thickness and how quickly the batter reaches trace.

If I add it to the lye water, it turns dark red and so does my soap.

If I add it to the oils before the lye solution, I get specks.

The perfect solution, at least in my case, seems to be dispersing the honey in warm water and adding it at trace. In my latest attempt, I used 2 tsp honey which I dispersed in 2 tsp warm water. The batter was so pretty, I wish it could stay this shiny, wet honey color.

View attachment 73656

After going through the gel phase, the outside reaches a light creamy color and the inside a honey look:

View attachment 73658View attachment 73659

I hope this will be able to help any new soapmaker who encounters one of the possible issues.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read my post and give me advice!
Thanks for sharing your experiences... I made soap with honey and added it to the cooled oils before mixing with lye .... I also added oats ... my inside of the soap looked like your first photo here.my outer soap is in pic below. Can I ask how you let the soap saponify? I left mine in cool dry place then changed my mind and 1h later covered in towels for 2h but was getting hot so replaced towels with a pillowcase ... curious whats best for honey soaps keeping warm or freezing/ leaving in fridge in your opinion ?

Thanks for sharing your experiences... I made soap with honey and added it to the cooled oils before mixing with lye .... I also added oats ... my inside of the soap looked like your first photo here.my outer soap is in pic below. Can I ask how you let the soap saponify? I left mine in cool dry place then changed my mind and 1h later covered in towels for 2h but was getting hot so replaced towels with a pillowcase ... curious whats best for honey soaps keeping warm or freezing/ leaving in fridge in your opinion ?
 

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Thanks for sharing your experiences... I made soap with honey and added it to the cooled oils before mixing with lye .... I also added oats ... my inside of the soap looked like your first photo here.my outer soap is in pic below. Can I ask how you let the soap saponify? I left mine in cool dry place then changed my mind and 1h later covered in towels for 2h but was getting hot so replaced towels with a pillowcase ... curious whats best for honey soaps keeping warm or freezing/ leaving in fridge in your opinion ?
Ask @Misschief - she might have some advice on that one.
 
Ask @Misschief - she might have some advice on that one.
@KiwiMoose Not the best time to ask me (I'm beyond exhausted right now and the bottle of red isn't helping) but....

20240120_095815_HDR.jpg

This is an Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey soap that was left outside at -15(ish)C (bloody cold for here!) until it (the soap) had cooled to room temperature. Then I brought it indoors. The buttermilk, honey, and colloidal oatmeal were added to the warmed oils before adding the lye. Liquids were at 33% lye solution (split between water and buttermilk). I know this is a heater and that's the reason I made it when we were at our coldest winter temps. I thought it would stop the overheating; instead, I got the above, which I've never had before... in any soap. It also leaked fluid, which I assume was lye heavy. I wasn't about to test it.

I'm almost at the point of never making this recipe again but my customers love it. I intend on making it once more but with a 38% lye solution just to see what kind of difference it makes. From what I've been reading, water content may have more of an influence than external temperature.

I'm open to all input. This one threw me for a loop.
 
@KiwiMoose Not the best time to ask me (I'm beyond exhausted right now and the bottle of red isn't helping) but....

View attachment 76193

This is an Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey soap that was left outside at -15(ish)C (bloody cold for here!) until it (the soap) had cooled to room temperature. Then I brought it indoors. The buttermilk, honey, and colloidal oatmeal were added to the warmed oils before adding the lye. Liquids were at 33% lye solution (split between water and buttermilk). I know this is a heater and that's the reason I made it when we were at our coldest winter temps. I thought it would stop the overheating; instead, I got the above, which I've never had before... in any soap. It also leaked fluid, which I assume was lye heavy. I wasn't about to test it.

I'm almost at the point of never making this recipe again but my customers love it. I intend on making it once more but with a 38% lye solution just to see what kind of difference it makes. From what I've been reading, water content may have more of an influence than external temperature.

I'm open to all input. This one threw me for a loop.
I've read.that when using milk the milk must be completely frozen and used frozen when adding to soap... I'm.no expert but.ive been reading a lot and I've read many times if milk burns soap turns brown red. In the videos and courses I've watched bramble Berry have a good video.on.youtubr ...they freeze the milk and then add the sodium hydroxide to the frozen milk.cubes and then.mix.it with the oils and fats ...
 
I've read.that when using milk the milk must be completely frozen and used frozen when adding to soap... I'm.no expert but.ive been reading a lot and I've read many times if milk burns soap turns brown red. In the videos and courses I've watched bramble Berry have a good video.on.youtubr ...they freeze the milk and then add the sodium hydroxide to the frozen milk.cubes and then.mix.it with the oils and fats ...
That wasn't relevant in this case. I use equal parts water and lye and add the milk to my oils. Believe me, I've tried it all the ways. It always overheats in the mold. I've been making soap for almost 10 years now and this one does it to me every.single.time. That's why I'm now looking at reducing the liquid amount in the recipe.
 
Thanks for sharing your experiences... I made soap with honey and added it to the cooled oils before mixing with lye .... I also added oats ... my inside of the soap looked like your first photo here.my outer soap is in pic below. Can I ask how you let the soap saponify? I left mine in cool dry place then changed my mind and 1h later covered in towels for 2h but was getting hot so replaced towels with a pillowcase ... curious whats best for honey soaps keeping warm or freezing/ leaving in fridge in your opinion ?
I always design my recipes to be as simple as possible, in the technical sense. No insulating or cooling in the fridge or freezer, just leaving it on the counter as soon as I’m done with the swirls.

I work with essential oils, which are partially lost in too high temperatures (some may even become toxic), hence I always soap only a bit higher than room temperature, between 25-33 °C (sometimes a bit less, but never more).

Every liquid I add my lye to is frozen beforehand, be it water, milk, aloe vera… all that stuff. This allows me to save some time instead of waiting for the lye solution to cool down. Also, it naturally reduces any scorching risks with milk. Milk does, however, turn the solution a bit yellow, but this doesn’t make the soap itself yellow. In my case, I add both milk and honey, and the combination turns the soap a… hmm… cappuccino/honey color. I love it.

If you’re working with anything that makes the soap heat up, like honey, and you have another ingredient that is susceptible to scorching, like milk, the lower you soap, the better. If you are aiming for complete gel, you need to experiment which temperature will lead to that. Each recipe is different. For instance, your recipe could give a partial gel at 25 °C but not anymore at 35 °C… in any case, I would never recommend insulating anything containing milk.

Personal advice - don’t bother with the fridge or freezer, unless you absolutely don’t want your soap to gel. If you find the right temperature for you, the soap will do its job right there on your counter.

Good luck!
 
I recently tried freezing my honey dispersed in distilled water and adding lye to that along with my frozen milk cubes. It did get hot and change color to reddish brown, but it didn’t volcano and the soap batter was lovely to work with as all the heat drama had already happened in the lye solution.
 
I always design my recipes to be as simple as possible, in the technical sense. No insulating or cooling in the fridge or freezer, just leaving it on the counter as soon as I’m done with the swirls.

I work with essential oils, which are partially lost in too high temperatures (some may even become toxic), hence I always soap only a bit higher than room temperature, between 25-33 °C (sometimes a bit less, but never more).

Every liquid I add my lye to is frozen beforehand, be it water, milk, aloe vera… all that stuff. This allows me to save some time instead of waiting for the lye solution to cool down. Also, it naturally reduces any scorching risks with milk. Milk does, however, turn the solution a bit yellow, but this doesn’t make the soap itself yellow. In my case, I add both milk and honey, and the combination turns the soap a… hmm… cappuccino/honey color. I love it.

If you’re working with anything that makes the soap heat up, like honey, and you have another ingredient that is susceptible to scorching, like milk, the lower you soap, the better. If you are aiming for complete gel, you need to experiment which temperature will lead to that. Each recipe is different. For instance, your recipe could give a partial gel at 25 °C but not anymore at 35 °C… in any case, I would never recommend insulating anything containing milk.

Personal advice - don’t bother with the fridge or freezer, unless you absolutely don’t want your soap to gel. If you find the right temperature for you, the soap will do its job right there on your counter.

Good luck!
Thank you x I was so excited to try milk but realising now the considerations needed I'm going to perfec basic soap recipes before diving into the more challenging ingredients which is hard as so excited to try everything 🙂
 
Forgot to mention, I always use raw, local honey & have never had this issue. I buy directly from a local honey producer. That being said, there are many places which label themselves as 'honey farms' which bring in honey from many other places & from many actual producers, and then mix those together, bucket it all up & sell it. Question the people you buy your honey from so you know what you are getting.

Most 'honey' in stores is no longer honey, being adulterated with a lot of garbage. It's sad, but it also makes a lot of sense. If we think about this logically: how is it that we have so much 'honey' available to us, in amounts like we have never seen before in recent history when the bee population has been absolutely decimated? ❓ 🤔 😲

If you bought your honey from a store, it very likely is adulterated. Just be aware of that.
This info is not true of all countries, it depends where you live. here I get honey from a friend who is apiarist, straight from the hive. Honey in Australia that is from a store is the same, it is not adulterated, it's 100% pure honey. The OP is from Luxembourg so they may not have the same problems.
 
This info is not true of all countries, it depends where you live. here I get honey from a friend who is apiarist, straight from the hive. Honey in Australia that is from a store is the same, it is not adulterated, it's 100% pure honey. The OP is from Luxembourg so they may not have the same problems.

Yes & no. The global market set up the way it is, it makes less & less difference as to which country a person is in. The markets for many foods have become globally monopolized, being taken over by processors & distributors from countries such as China.

Whether honey, tomato based products such as sauces & pastes, olive oil, balsamic vinegars, and many, many other food products used around the world, *most* are now adulterated and / or 'dead' due to pasteurization & other processing & 'filtering'. This has been investigated & documented.

I am aware that this may not be the case in *all* countries & in *all* supermarkets in those countries however, which is why I said 'it very likely is adulterated'. I didn't say it was guaranteed to be adulterated. There are no absolutes in anything.
 
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