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How do I use masterbatched ingredients?

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Space Cadet

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I am very new to soap-making. I more or less follow the cold process but I heat my oils to 160-170F and hold them at temp on an induction range while I mix my lye. I read somewhere that the oils and lye should be within a 10-15F degree range of each other so I mix them at 160-170F, remove it from the heat, and mix it to trace.Do masterbatched ingredients need to be reheated when they are mixed for saponification?

I have seen many posts about the calculations of masterbatching and I understand that, but I am not sure I what I am supposed to do with the ingredients after I've batched them. Could someone offer me instructions on how they use their Mbatched ingredients for CP?
 

AliOop

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That's a pretty high temperature for CP soaping. Most CP soapers are 120 or below - usually well below, and often at room temp.

You really don't need to worry about your oils and lye being close in temp. My oils are usually 90-110 and my lye is room temperature (70-ish to 80-ish), because it is masterbatched at the lye percentage that I prefer for my recipes.

Many soapers use their hot lye solution to melt their hard oils, and then add in the soft oils. This is called the heat transfer method, and it shows clearly that having lye and oils close in temp is just not necessary. To save time, I used the heat transfer method for most of my soaping, until I started using MB'd lye solution. It has been a game changer for me and has made soaping so much more fun because it is one less thing to measure, there are no lye fumes, and I don't have to worry about spilling lye beads or hot solution each and every time.

But back to your question about master-batching oils... You don't need to reheat your master-batched oils unless your hard butters have re-solidified and really separated (in which case you might want to MB your hard oils separately from your soft oils). Otherwise, just give everything a good stir to make sure it is mixed well, then measure it out and use as normal.

ETA: during colder months, and depending on how/where you store your MB oils, you may indeed need to reheat them until they are clear and at least 70ºF. If you are using butters with a higher melting point, you may need to reheat to avoid false trace.
 
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DeeAnna

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If you want to use a hot process method, soaping at 160-170F is most likely fine. But if you really want to do cold process, I suggest soaping no hotter than about 120F. Is there a reason why you're soaping so warm while still trying to use a CP method?

If it has something to do with the myth of matching temperatures, understand this is not necessary. The lye solution and fat temperatures do not have to be within X degrees of each other. This is totally not necessary from a chemistry point of view. The more important point is to get the initial temperature of the soap batter in the range that works best for your situation.

I agree it is certainly easier to see if the lye solution and the fats are both 100F, for example, then the soap batter will also be 100F as well. But the only reason to match temperatures is to reassure the soap maker. If the goal is to start with a soap batter at 100F, the lye solution could be 70F and the fats could be 110F to reach the target temperature for the batter.

I'm not really sure at this stage of the game that it would be wise for you to use masterbatched lye or fats. Far better to get the practice of measuring and mixing multiple batches so you understand the mechanics.

You asked "what I am supposed to do with the ingredients after I've batched them" Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but here's a quote from an article I wrote about masterbatching that might be helpful --

There are two schools of thought about the lye concentration to use when making a lye masterbatch. Both methods are fine -- choose the one that makes the most sense for the way you like to make soap --

50% masterbatch -- Many soap makers make a 50% lye solution. Extra liquid is added to dilute the lye solution to the concentration desired. Advantages -- Liquids other than water can be used for dilution. A wider range of lye concentrations can be made.
Ready-to-use masterbatch -- Other people prefer to make their lye masterbatch at the concentration they normally use for making soap. Advantages -- Less math and measuring. Ideal for making many batches using the same base recipe.

How to use a Ready-to-use masterbatch
Check your soap recipe and add the alkali weight (sometimes called the "lye" weight) and the water weight together. This answer is the total weight of lye solution you need for your soap batch.
Gently swirl or stir the masterbatch solution to mix any settled impurities into the liquid (see "Extra Credit" below).
Measure enough of the masterbatch lye solution to equal the total lye solution weight.

How to use a 50% masterbatch
First, multiply the alkali ("lye") weight in your soap recipe by 2. This is the total lye solution weight.
Gently swirl or stir the masterbatch solution to mix any settled impurities into the liquid.
Measure enough of the 50% masterbatch lye solution to equal the total lye solution weight.
Subtract the alkali weight from the total water weight. The answer is the additional water needed to dilute the 50% lye solution to your desired lye concentration.

Measure enough water or water-based liquid to equal this amount.

If the math of using a lye masterbatch is daunting, try the SoapmakingFriend.com soap recipe calculator. If you tell it the lye concentration of your masterbatch, it will do the math for you.
 

Space Cadet

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@AliOop @DeeAnna
Thank you both! I think I understand better now.
To answer your question DeeAnna, Yes I am really only soaping at that temperature because I was worried about the temperature myth. The lye gains and drops heat so quickly that I figured it would be better to have the oil heated on the high end to meet it. I wasn't sure if there was a danger to the temperature difference the way there is with adding cold water to hot oil.
 

DeeAnna

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...I wasn't sure if there was a danger to the temperature difference the way there is with adding cold water to hot oil.
I agree there is a serious danger if you add lye solution to fat that has been heated above the boiling point of the lye. The cool lye sinks below the fat layer, turns into steam, and erupts into a geyser spraying fat and lye solution everywhere. Every so often someone reports an experience like that and how they were super thankful they were wearing goggles. Your temps are nowhere close to that danger zone.

I think the rule of matching the lye and fat temps (and also the rule about keeping the temps down to a moderate range) has probably arisen as a way for teachers to teach easy to remember, safe soaping methods to beginners. If you match the temps of the ingredients and ensure the temps are in a safe zone before they're mixed together, then the soap batter will also be about that same temp and also within a safe zone. But rules that keep beginners from making beginner mistakes aren't necessarily the only safe ways to do things.
 
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TheGecko

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I am very new to soap-making. I more or less follow the cold process but I heat my oils to 160-170F and hold them at temp on an induction range while I mix my lye. I read somewhere that the oils and lye should be within a 10-15F degree range of each other so I mix them at 160-170F, remove it from the heat, and mix it to trace.Do masterbatched ingredients need to be reheated when they are mixed for saponification?

I have seen many posts about the calculations of masterbatching and I understand that, but I am not sure I what I am supposed to do with the ingredients after I've batched them. Could someone offer me instructions on how they use their Mbatched ingredients for CP?
That is way too high for Cold Process soap making. Class I took many, many years ago said 110F was the 'ideal' temp and yes, oils and lye solution should be within 10 degrees of each other. I have since learned that these 'conventions' are mainly to keep new soaps safe.

When I decided to get serious about making some soap, I would make up my lye solution the night before and let it cool on a shelf in the garage. The next day I would melt my hard oils and butters until melted and then let them cool down, while I measured out my soft oils and gather whatnot. I didn't have a thermometer back then...figured my oils/butters were ready when I could the bowl in my bare hands. Then I would add my lye and make pudding.

Hated waiting for my lye solution to cool down so I started using frozen distilled water and kept a jug of in in the frig to make up the difference. Along with having cooler lye solution, you don't have an issue with fumes.

Then I started match batching...both oils/butters and lye solution. I melt and mix up 640 oz (40lbs) of oils/butters in 160 oz lots because I can only melt 6lbs of hard oils/butter in my pot at a time. It all fits quite nicely in a 5-gal bucket next to my soap cart (rolling kitchen island). My Lye Solution is 'ready-to-use' and I make it up in four batches...enough to fill 2-1 gal jug about 3/4 full and which are covered with warning language and stored inside my cart.

Above my cart, I have a spreadsheet that lists all my molds and how much oil/butter and lye solution I need to fill each one less scent weight. When I want to make soap, I open the bucket, stick a commercial paint stirrer on the end of my drill and give it a good mix. I then have a ladle that holds approximately 4 oz. I weigh my container, then add how many number of ladles that I need, weigh and adjust amount. I then pop it in the microwave for approximately 20-30 seconds per pound. While it's remelting my oils/butters***, I grab my jug of Lye Solution, weigh out the proper amount and then add in my Sodium Lactate. I then add my dispersed Kaolin Clay to my oils and give it a good whisk. I am now ready to make what ever soap that I want.

*** - Depending on where you store your masterbatch oils/butters, they will start to resolidify. Even with 60% hard oils/butters, they are usually about the consistency of waffle batter for me up to a thin slurry. And because they don't resolidify, it doesn't take but a little bit of time to bring them to a liquid state...maybe about a 100F.

With all the above said, I do NOT recommend master batching until you have been soaping for a good year or more. I only started doing it because of the demands of my day job meant I wasn't making a lot of soap...none during the week and maybe only a couple of times a month.
 

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