Hot process soap going brown

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Steve O'Dea

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Hi all, I'm new to this forum and to soap making so I'm sorry if this sounds like a very basic question, but I having problems with my hot process soap making.

I've made two batches now using a different combination of oils, but in both cases, they've turned brown in the crockpot during the cook but before I've added anything to them

This is particularly frustrating as on the second attempt I only used coconut oil and rather than the result coming out a lovely creamy color as it did on the YouTube video I was watching, it just came out a brown mess.

Can anyone shine any light as to why my hot process is going like this? Am I cooking it too hot and burning it perhaps?

Also, it seems to take ages to get to get to the gel stage. I've been cooking the last batch for about three hours and it still hasn't gelled.

What am I doing wrong?

Any advice to this beginner would be very welcome indeed.

Thanks
 

shunt2011

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Hello and welcome. I think you are cooking it too long. You won't always see all the stages. Once it's zap free it's good to go. Are you using any additives during the cook such as milks, sugar etc? Those can cause scorching or burning.
 

lsg

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Are you using the slow cooker method? I usually zap test to see if the soap has cooked enough.
 

Steve O'Dea

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Hello and welcome. I think you are cooking it too long. You won't always see all the stages. Once it's zap free it's good to go. Are you using any additives during the cook such as milks, sugar etc? Those can cause scorching or burning.
Hi there thanks for your response. I’m not using any additives. But I think you might be right I’m cooking it too long. I was waiting for it to go like mash potatoes but it didn’t. How do I know when it’s cooked
 

Obsidian

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I never see mashed potatoes or applesauce stage. Once it starts to climb up the sides, I stir it down, wait for it to climb one more time, stir again and get it in the mold. Usually take about 30 minutes on low.

You can zap test if you want just to make sure its completely cooked but even if its not, it will finish saponifying in the mold.
 

dixiedragon

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Check out Soaping 101 on YouTube. She has a video.

What temp are you cooking it on? I cook mine on low for about 30 minutes, then I turn it to high, which bumps it over to the Vaseline stage. I found that if I kept it on high the whole time, it got overcooked and too dry, with a lot of white chunks.

The brown is weird. Can you post a pic? I know you said you didn't add anything - so your soap was ONLY oils, water and lye? No milk, honey, veggie milk (coconut milk, almond milk, etc), cream, fruit puree, syrup, molasses?
 

homesteaders

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I consider my hot process soap ready for my after-the-cook additives when it reaches gel -- looks sort of like vaseline. It is often kind of brownish in the pot, but then whitens up nicely once it begins to cool in the mold. If yours is staying brown after they cool and are cut, then I agree with shunt2011 that you are cooking too long. With some recipes, I don't see all the stages, and some take much longer than others to get to that vaseline stage, but never three hours.

I cook mine on low for about 30 minutes, then I turn it to high, which bumps it over to the Vaseline stage. I found that if I kept it on high the whole time, it got overcooked and too dry, with a lot of white chunks.

dixiedragon, do you melt your oils in the crock pot, then turn it on low to add the lye liquid, leave it there for 30 minutes, then turn it to high for the rest of the cook? I'm asking because I tried that once, although I was further along into the cook on low before turning to high. It was taking forever to get to the vaseline state, so I thought I could hurry it up a bit by turning up the heat. Instead, the bottom and sides closest to the heating elements turned to a hard, white chunk that I could not stir into the rest of the soap in the pot. It's been awhile, but I think I just poured what I could into the mold and chocked it up to a learning experience to never turn the heat up to high in mid-cook. Sounds like you do it pretty early on. Maybe that's why it works for you, or maybe my crock pot doesn't heat evenly enough. ???
 
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lsg

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Take a bit of the soap out and let it cool until it will not burn you. Stick the tip of your tongue on the soap. If it feels like a 9 volt battery zapping your tongue, then the soap still contains active lye. If all you get is a taste of soap, then the soap has cooked enough.
 

Steve O'Dea

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I think I’ve got to the bottom of my browning problem...
It seems I’ve been using creamed coconut instead of coconut oil!!!!!
It might explain why my soap smells disgusting and wouldn’t gel.
Let that be a lesson to all of us: always read the label!
What a fool I am. 6 pounds of “soap” in the bin. Bah!
 
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dixiedragon

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dixiedragon, do you melt your oils in the crock pot, then turn it on low to add the lye liquid, leave it there for 30 minutes, then turn it to high for the rest of the cook? I'm asking because I tried that once, although I was further along into the cook on low before turning to high. It was taking forever to get to the vaseline state, so I thought I could hurry it up a bit by turning up the heat. Instead, the bottom and sides closest to the heating elements turned to a hard, white chunk that I could not stir into the rest of the soap in the pot. It's been awhile, but I think I just poured what I could into the mold and chocked it up to a learning experience to never turn the heat up to high in mid-cook. Sounds like you do it pretty early on. Maybe that's why it works for you, or maybe my crock pot doesn't heat evenly enough. ???

Crockpots can vary a lot in how hot the get - especially an old one vs a new one. New ones (here in the US at least) are much hotter b/c it was determined (I guess the FDA?) that they were not cooking at a hot enough temp to be safe. So that's why recipes that worked well with a 10 hr cook now have a 6 hr or lower cook.

I put the oils at room temp (so my lard and coconut are still solid) and then pour my hot lye water over them. I stick blend them together (maybe 3-4 blasts) , then put on the lid.

I=

Apparently, creamed coconut is not even the same thing as coconut cream.

It’s been a very educational few days

That's a bummer! Maybe start out with a 1-2 lb batch for your first go?
 
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homesteaders

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Crockpots can vary a lot in how hot the get - especially an old one vs a new one. New ones (here in the US at least) are much hotter b/c it was determined (I guess the FDA?) that they were not cooking at a hot enough temp to be safe. So that's why recipes that worked well with a 10 hr cook now have a 6 hr or lower cook.

I put the oils at room temp (so my lard and coconut are still solid) and then pour my hot lye water over them. I stick blend them together (maybe 3-4 blasts) , then put on the lid.

I=
Thank you! :)
 
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