Hot Process Water Discount

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Dean

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Hi Soaperts.

Got another question for you. What is the maximum amount that you have successfully water discounted HP soap? Please share your numbers in lye concentration (%) or water : lye ratio.

Sorry to be so annoying but it aint easy becoming a self-taught chemist.

Thanks in advance.
 

penelopejane

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You would be better off changing your recipes (the oils, SF, additives and method) rather than trying to do an HP batch with a water discount to make your soap harder.
 

DeeAnna

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I think Dean is trying to minimize the cure time based on something said in another post, but I suppose he may also be wondering about maximizing hardness. Hard to say.

My answer is the same as others. I use 25% lye concentration (3.0 water:lye ratio) for hot process -- you need MORE liquid, not less in HP, for proper processing and good texture in the finished soap.

FWIW department -- I dislike using the term "water discount" because it implies you're reducing water from some fixed point ... and what's that point? I know someone is going to answer "full water," and if so, tell me -- what does that mean? ;)
 
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dixiedragon

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I would say "full water" is 38% water to oils, b/c that's the default in every lye calculator I've seen.

@Dean - I actually bump my water up to 40% water: oils for HP. But a lot of it does depend on your recipe. I use 40% lard, so my soap is slow tracing and well behaved. If you were to use my recipe with 40% palm or tallow instead of lard, you'd probably need to move faster.
 

DeeAnna

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Yes, you're right, Dixiedragon -- and I agree with you that people typically base their opinion of "full water" on this default. Problem is the setting "38% water as % of oils" creates a wide range of lye concentration depending on the recipe and this variation creates a lot of inconsistency in saponification. People don't realize how much inconsistency is added by this setting, because it's so very easy to blame problems on other issues that seem more concrete. If "full water" based on "38% water as % of oils" meant something consistent for all soap recipes, it and the idea of "water discount" might actually be useful. But it's not, unfortunately.

I promise I'm stepping off the soapbox.

Dean -- I hope the answers you're getting are helpful. I'm curious to hear what you think!
 
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Dean

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Yes, you're right, Dixiedragon -- and I agree with you that people typically base their opinion of "full water" on this default. Problem is the setting "38% water as % of oils" creates a wide range of lye concentration depending on the recipe and this variation creates a lot of inconsistency in saponification. People don't realize how much inconsistency is added by this setting, because it's so very easy to blame problems on other issues that seem more concrete. If "full water" based on "38% water as % of oils" meant something consistent for all soap recipes, it and the idea of "water discount" might actually be useful. But it's not, unfortunately.

I promise I'm stepping off the soapbox.

Dean -- I hope the answers you're getting are helpful. I'm curious to hear what you think!
The advice is very helpful. Thanks all.

DeeAnna, you are right in your previous post, I'm trying to minimize the cure time, which doesn't seem possible without some sort of dryer. The reason I want to shorten the cure is to perfect the recipe, which is difficult if I have to wait a month+ to see if I screwed up. Plus I have a little fantasy about turning this into some sort of business. With a long cure time, orders can't be filled without a large cured stock.

The HP that I made last weekend was with 33% lye solution. It was fine...not too thick to mold. The bars are little rubbery though but I think that was due to insufficient hard oil.

At this point I need to consider if I want to go back to CP since the cure time is relatively the same. There are so many variables to consider. I can say though I 've learned so much. I would even venture to say that I know more now about soap making than the teacher that taught the class that I took. Beyond safety he just taught us to blend CO, OO, and FO with a lye solution, dump it in a lined mold and use it in a week. Nothing about, combining oils, fatty acid properties, gelling, saponification values, etc. Not to bash...I got my money's worth. Only so much can be taught in a 2 hour economical class. Since then, I've bought and read the Scientific Soap Making book , devoured whatever that I could find on the internet (several times over) and bugged the heck out of you all.
 
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DeeAnna

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"...Nothing about, combining oils, fatty acid properties, gelling, saponification values, etc. Not to bash...I got my money's worth....."

Yeah, it is very hard to do more than the bare minimum in a single 2 hour class. Having done a few adult education classes as well as taught college science and math, I learned a teacher has to pick and choose the most essential info for a short class. It is sooo tempting to throw too much at students with the hope that some of it will stick, but it usually doesn't work -- people just get confused and frustrated.

I think there are many, many soapers who make soap using a rote method. They have a few recipes that work for them and they stick to what works, and anything beyond that is forbidden and dangerous territory. There's nothing really wrong with this kind of soaping -- my grandmother made lard soap by following the directions on the lye container, and I never got any sense that she was interested in doing more than just make laundry soap for the household (although I was a little kid back in those days, so I could be wrong). Unfortunately, troubleshooting and experimentation and recipe development are not options if one chooses to make soap by rote.
 

Dean

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"...Nothing about, combining oils, fatty acid properties, gelling, saponification values, etc. Not to bash...I got my money's worth....."

Yeah, it is very hard to do more than the bare minimum in a single 2 hour class. Having done a few adult education classes as well as taught college science and math, I learned a teacher has to pick and choose the most essential info for a short class. It is sooo tempting to throw too much at students with the hope that some of it will stick, but it usually doesn't work -- people just get confused and frustrated.

I think there are many, many soapers who make soap using a rote method. They have a few recipes that work for them and they stick to what works, and anything beyond that is forbidden and dangerous territory. There's nothing really wrong with this kind of soaping -- my grandmother made lard soap by following the directions on the lye container, and I never got any sense that she was interested in doing more than just make laundry soap for the household (although I was a little kid back in those days, so I could be wrong). Unfortunately, troubleshooting and experimentation and recipe development are not options if one chooses to make soap by rote.
Boy it would be nice to have a solid science and math background for soaping. I went to college but for liberal arts.

Although its a little frustrating, I enjoy trying to overcome the challenges of experimental soaping.

My grandmother grew up on a farm in the Midwest during the early 1900's and knew how do everything from scratch. I'm almost certain she knew how to make soap. Wish she was still around to tell me about it.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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But what is the rush? Do you have to have a perfect recipe by a certain fixed date? Take your time, enjoy learning how soap changes during the cure (and why it can't be bypassed) and get your experience built up.

Anyone with half an ounce of sense wouldn't sell a soap based on a recipe which they haven't had a bar of sitting around for a whole year or so anyway- you need to see how your soap will be after that sort of time as customers can tend to keep it for that long
 

earlene

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To my mind, perfecting a recipe is going to be time consuming no matter how fast your soap cures. What makes more sense to me is to make small batches, take copious notes, label the trays where the soap cures, test at varying intervals while again making detailed notes and continue that throughout the life of the soap.

Once you have a couple of ideas of what to try next, tweak your recipe in maybe 2 or 3 ways, and make 2 or 3 small batches with only one change per batch. Again, copious notes, label each rack in the curing area, test at intervals, taking more detailed notes. Once you have a rotation like that established, the time will start to seem to fly by and the wait won't seem quite as long.

And while you are testing your newer soaps, you can still test the older soaps because usually they improve more than expected.

When doing multiple similar batches for comparison purposes, using different colors helps to differentiate one soap from the others. I label my soap curing trays with masking tape labels for easy identification and it's cheap.
 

Dean

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To my mind, perfecting a recipe is going to be time consuming no matter how fast your soap cures. What makes more sense to me is to make small batches, take copious notes, label the trays where the soap cures, test at varying intervals while again making detailed notes and continue that throughout the life of the soap.

Once you have a couple of ideas of what to try next, tweak your recipe in maybe 2 or 3 ways, and make 2 or 3 small batches with only one change per batch. Again, copious notes, label each rack in the curing area, test at intervals, taking more detailed notes. Once you have a rotation like that established, the time will start to seem to fly by and the wait won't seem quite as long.

And while you are testing your newer soaps, you can still test the older soaps because usually they improve more than expected.

When doing multiple similar batches for comparison purposes, using different colors helps to differentiate one soap from the others. I label my soap curing trays with masking tape labels for easy identification and it's cheap.
Thanks. I just figured out this AM how to make single bar batch. Now I just need to find a mold.
 

shunt2011

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Thanks. I just figured out this AM how to make single bar batch. Now I just need to find a mold.
Line a small box or a small Ziploc container works well too. I wouldn't make less than a 8 oz batch unless you have a very accurate scale that measures small amounts like .10 Too much room for error.
 

Dean

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Line a small box or a small Ziploc container works well too. I wouldn't make less than a 8 oz batch unless you have a very accurate scale that measures small amounts like .10 Too much room for error.
Good point. Not sure how accurate my scale is. Thanks.
 

dixiedragon

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DoriettaFarm taught a class and I assisted. In 2 hrs we made MP (participants got to pick their own scent and color) and also made CP. It just wouldn't have been possible to really delve into the nitty gritty. What we did was discuss safety (VERY important), touch on properties of oils a bit ("Different oils have different properties, so if a soap is too drying you can try something different.") Dorietta included links such as SMF (obviously), and a few others, as well as several books.
 
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