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JuliaNegusuk

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I thought I'd share a recent experience I had with my honey, oatmeal and cinnamon soap. I've made this soap, or variations of it, several times and always worried about putting the honey in at trace in case it didn't mix in evenly. So I was pleased to discover a new technique of dissolving the honey in the water used to make the lye. I used this a few months ago and can't remember anything eventful happening apart from the soap caramelising a bit in the middle (I use cellular silicone moulds) causing a darker patch in an otherwise creamy coloured soap. But I think that always used to happen with the old technique too.

This time I dissolved the honey in warm water and put it in the fridge returning about half hour later to make the lye. Wow, was that exciting!. It must have been slightly warm still because the lye rose up all bubbly and threatened to climb out of the jug. It then went almost completely black! I thought "I can't make soap with black lye" so I trashed it and started again. This time no volcano (I had put the honey water in the freezer this time till it was slightly slushy so it was COLD), but again it went almost jet black. This time a fit of experimentation overcame me and I made the soap as normal with the nearly black lye. Mixed with the oils it went dark brown. By the time I poured it was a rich, dark, golden brown. 24 hours later, a lighter, well, honey coloured soap, like a medium golden caramel colour. Now a couple of days later it is a pale cream colour like it usually is but without any trace of a dark centre. In fact I think in terms of looks alone, it is the best honey based soap I've ever made. I've experienced some strange colour changes with soap several ties but not often as dramatic and in such a short space of time.

I just thought I would share in case anyone else has been panicked by black lye - in this case it all worked out fine in the end. But then I do tend to find that a batch will suddenly surprise me (not always positively) even if I make it the same way every time. I guess that's just soap.
 

shunt2011

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The dark center you experienced was likely partial gel. Just the center got hot enough to gel and didn’t expand through the entire soap.

I never add honey to my lye. I always mix it with a bit of the liquid from my batch and blend it into the oils before adding my cooled lye. My soap always comes out a creamy beige color.
I've never ever had mixture turn black. I make 100's of bars of OMH a year.
Glad yours turned out okay. Sugars can scorch if not careful.
 
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Jeanea

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Wow, thanks for sharing your experience. I've always hot processed my omh soap for this reason. I may have to give it a go.
 

lsg

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Congrats on a good turn-out for your honey soap.
 

dibbles

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That's interesting - thanks for sharing. I also mix my honey into my oils before the lye is added, and will continue to do it that way - less soap drama.
 
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Cellador

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I've mixed honey into my cooled lye solution before, and it turned the solution a bright orange. The orange tinted the batch of soap a bit, so I probably won't do it again.
I wonder what in the honey causes it to be different colors?
 

cmzaha

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The sugars in the honey cause the color change. I would never consider adding honey to my lye solution, it always heats up to much, instead I heat it a little until it liquefies then sb it into my oils. Acutally I never add anything other than my silk into lye
 

IrishLass

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Right here, silly!
This time I dissolved the honey in warm water and put it in the fridge returning about half hour later to make the lye. Wow, was that exciting!. It must have been slightly warm still because the lye rose up all bubbly and threatened to climb out of the jug. It then went almost completely black! I thought "I can't make soap with black lye" so I trashed it and started again.
You made the same mistake I did when I first ever combined my honey with my lye. LOL I got the volcano and blackened solution, too, but I used it anyway and my soap came out great. Thankfully,, I had the foresight to have used my extra tall pitcher when dissolving the lye in my cold honey water, and I took the precaution of mixing it in my shower stall by the drain. Although it volcanoed, it didn't overflow my pitcher (came up to 1" below the rim).

Nowadays, I dilute my honey in a little water to make it more runny before adding it to my already-made (room temp) lye solution. No drama or volcanoes, and no black solution when I do it this way -although it does heat my solution up to about 161 degreesF and turn it orangy-brown- but that's all the drama that ever happens.

I love adding my honey to my lye solution because it mixes with my oils perfectly (no weeping honey spots later on in my finished soap), and it prevents my batter from overheating when I CPOP it to encourage full gel (yes- I actually have to CPOP my honey soap to get it to gel fully, lol). And best yet- my soap comes out a beautiful light golden/tan color, which I think is a perfect color for a honey soap. Once I started doing it this way, I've never looked back.


IrishLass :)
 

KristaY

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I guess I'm the odd gal out. I always add sugars of any kind to my water before the lye. My thinking is, if there's going to be a volcano or overheating problem, I want it to happen in the lye water and not the soap batter. Once sugar (whatever kind) is introduced to the lye, they literally have a heated argument. It resolves itself when the temp comes down so by the time I add it to my oils they're pals and cause no more drama. Honey is always the worst culprit though. If there's going to be a volcano, it's usually the honey. I just set my container in the sink and add the lye very slowly, stirring well between each addition. It goes orange then calms down to brown. My soap always comes out a light cream color when it's cured. I've also never had a honey batch gel too hot and split.
 

Elaine69

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I guess I've just been lucky. I've always added my honey to my lye/water and it's never volcano. It does turn a dark cream color but after curing it's a nice light creamy color.
 

lyschelw

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Sounds like a fun science experiment! lol, no wonder I am terrified of making CP or HP soap. Glad that it turned out well. Can't believe it turned back to a cream color. I really wonder what the chemistry is behind that!
 
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I used to add my honey to the lye and it turned a really dark colour like you experienced. Nowadays I tend to add it to thin trace. It gives a paler coloured bar.
 

dixiedragon

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I want to see a picture of the black lye water and the soap!

For CP, I put my honey in my oils, the stick blend as I pour the room-temp lye water.
 

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