How do I get rid of tiny bubbles in my soap

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Mobjack Bay, May 29, 2019.

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  1. May 29, 2019 #1

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I have finally improved my techniques to the point that I’m mostly not getting big air bubbles in my soap, but I still have tiny bubbles that are accentuated when I cut the soaps with my wire cutter. I use this palm shortening for my palm oil because it’s the only RSPO palm product I can buy locally. I guess it’s whipped because it’s very “light”. I never looked all that closely at my melted oils until the other day when I noticed what looked like tiny bubbles as the last of the palm was melting. I think that might be what’s causing the last of my bubbles. Maybe it’s time for me to try an un-whipped palm oil?! Has anyone else noticed this? Can anyone recommend a palm oil that’s RSPO and available in smallish quantities with a high likelihood of reasonable shipping costs to the mid-Atlantic? I found 8 lbs of RSPO palm oil in a 1 gallon container for $39.75, which includes shipping from ED on Amazon. I’m wondering if $5/lb, including the shipping is a good price. That’s about the same as what I’m paying for the palm shortening.

    I’ve been hesitant to switch while I’m still learning and because I’ve read (as I recall) things about palm separating out in the container, etc. I know I’ve read about palm oil here at SMF, but I was having trouble turning up a good thread with a search. If you can point me in the right direction, please do.

    Thanks!
     
  2. May 29, 2019 #2

    dibbles

    dibbles

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    What brand is your stick blender? I have a Kitchen Aide that I moved to the kitchen because it made a lot of tiny bubbles in my batter.
     
  3. May 29, 2019 #3

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I’m seeing the bubbles before I add the lye water and stick blend, which is why i’m Suspecting the palm shortening. My stick blender is a Cusinart. It has “vents” on the side that make it pretty easy to “burb.” I think I can test my theory about the palm shortening by making a recipe without it. If I still get bubbles, I will consider the possibility of a new stick blender. What kind do you use now?
     
  4. May 29, 2019 #4

    KristaY

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    I've never gotten bubbles with palm oil or palm shortening but I do get them with PKO. Do you have PKO in your recipe? Also, I got a lot of bubble action with my old Cusinart. My new one causes a bit less bubble problem but I need both hands to operate it as they put a safety button on the top that must be pressed to activate the SB action. Such a huge PITA.
     
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  5. May 29, 2019 #5

    Marilyn Norgart

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    that doesn't sound good--mine is like a suction to the bottom of the pot and I need one hand free to hold onto the pot
     
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  6. May 29, 2019 #6

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    No PKO in my recipe. I am also wondering if maybe I should try melting the palm shortening by itself. Maybe that would let some of the air escape more easily. Usually it ends up submerged in other oils that melt first.
     
  7. May 29, 2019 #7

    Marilyn Norgart

    Marilyn Norgart

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    do you stick blend it a bit before adding the lye? I wonder if that would help--I haven't a clue though
     
  8. May 29, 2019 #8

    KristaY

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    That's a good idea. I always melt all my hard oils first until they're clear, to about 160 F. Then I add my RT soft oils which brings the temp down to my ideal 110 F. Maybe a change in technique will help with your bubble problem.
     
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  9. May 29, 2019 #9

    KristaY

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    That's another thing I forgot to mention so thanks Marilyn! I always submerge my SB into the oils and hit it for a couple of seconds. I leave it submerged in the oils while I add the lye. This clears the air out of the bell so that will be one less source of excess bubbles.
     
  10. May 29, 2019 #10

    Mobjack Bay

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    And maybe I’m not heating my hard oils high enough. I will check that. I usually just do a visual on when they are mostly melted and then wait until they look totally clear.
     
  11. May 29, 2019 #11

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I submerge the stick blender in the oils and then tilt it and tap it on the bottom until the bubbles stop coming up. My bell has side vents so not much air can get trapped in the first place. I have been pouring the lye down the side of the SB. But, I have been taking the SB out sometimes and gently whisking when I think I’m getting close to the trace I want. If it turns out that I’m not as close as I thought, I may put the SB back into the batter. I’m going to have to pay more attention to exactly how I am stick blending :eek:
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  12. May 29, 2019 #12

    KristaY

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    Mine has side vents too but I've found a bit of air still gets trapped up at the top of the bell. Try turning one of the vents face up and turn it on for only a second or 2. That will help burp the last of the air out.
     
  13. May 29, 2019 #13

    Mobjack Bay

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  14. May 30, 2019 #14

    Mobjack Bay

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    I found some threads that point to CPOP, which I do, with oven initially warmed to 170 F and then turned off when I put the soap in. Maybe that makes any minuscule bubbles in my batter expand to become obvious bubbles? I often use a silicone loaf mold, but the bubbles are in the interior of the soap, not along the outside edges. I found another older thread where a suggestion is to keep soaping temp as low as possible given the requirements for the oils in the recipe. I went back and checked other soaps I’ve made and see that there are quite a few recipes that don’t have many bubbles and some of those included palm shortening. A lard soap that I made early on in a slab mold included 9% palm shortening, was soaped at <115F batter temp and then CPOP’d as above. It has no bubbles and was made with the same stick blender I’m using now. I think that rules out my stick blender as the culprit. I like the way “natural” colorants look when soap is gelled, but from what I’m reading, maybe I don’t need to have the initial oven temp set as high as I do. Still learning :thumbs:
     
  15. May 30, 2019 #15

    earlene

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    I don't know if you can blame any one factor all the time. But I do agree that you might not need that much heat. It's an interesting point about heat causing the air bubbles to expand, though. But unless they are already there in the first place, there would be no air bubbles to expand, right? So it didn't start with the heat.

    I generally CPOP at low temperatures. I heat my oven to 135-150° F, check temp with a thermometer, turn off the oven, put the soap inside & cover with a light towel. For most recipes I use, this is sufficient heat to force gel. Only when my higher soy wax soaps cool too fast, do I need a bit more heat.

    The last soap I had air bubbles in was because I started with bubbles in one of soft oils and I didn't have the patience to wait for the bubbles to go away. (My fault - I shook the bottle after adding ROE and poured the oil before all the air bubbles had disappeared.) The recipe itself was a fast mover, and by the time I was done with my pour, it was pretty thick. Pounding the mold on the worktable didn't provide enough force to get all the bubbles to rise, so I ended up with air bubbles in the soap. To me it was pretty clear where the bubbles came from and how to prevent them in future.
     
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