How do you melt your oils?

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FragranceGuy

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I’ve read that when melting palm oil I should heat the whole container and weigh out what I need. Do I just pour the rest of the oil back into the container and let it cool, then reheat the whole container again next time? Are there other oils that I need to treat the same way? Also, I read that I should melt solid oils before I add liquid oils. Does that mean I can heat multiple solids together like crisco and coconut oil in the same pot? Thanks!
 

Peachy Clean Soap

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What I've done w/ my palm oil when its soft I've SB or used beaters to mix it all together tell its a nicely whipped' consistency, it doesn't seam to separate as much or at all once its re-solidifies. As far as your other butters & oils including PO you can heat them all together. some butters you would want to heat separately like cocoa butter then add it when your hard & soft oils once they reach a temp of 85 90 degrees, It melts nicely as you stir it.
 

Mobjack Bay

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What kind of palm do you use? If it’s palm shortening or the “no-stir” palm you can just scoop it out and use it. I use the no-stir kind. If it’s regular palm oil it’s better for someone who uses that kind to provide advice.

I melt my solid oils first and then add my liquid oils.
 

AliOop

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Yup, one pot. If you follow @Mobjack Bay's directions, that usually brings the batch temperature down close to where I want to be soaping.

I am not a palm user because I prefer lard. But there are lots of threads here about melting it, storing it, and using it. :)
 

Zing

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I've learned some hacks from my peeps here. My palm oil is in a tub, same consistency as Crisco, so it is easy to scoop out only what I need.
1. I put my melting pot on the scale and weigh out all my solid oils and butters into that one pot. If I go a little over, it's easy to take out. Then I use a stove to melt those solids.
2. Unlike other braver soapers here, I weigh out my liquid oils in individual containers because I'm always going over. Then I pour those liquid oils into a plastic bowl.
3. Once the solids are melted, I pour those into the plastic bowl containing the liquids.

I used to pour everything into the pot containing the melted solids, but things cool down quicker now that I use a separate bowl. Hope that made sense.
 

TheGecko

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I’ve read that when melting palm oil I should heat the whole container and weigh out what I need. Do I just pour the rest of the oil back into the container and let it cool, then reheat the whole container again next time? Are there other oils that I need to treat the same way? Also, I read that I should melt solid oils before I add liquid oils. Does that mean I can heat multiple solids together like crisco and coconut oil in the same pot? Thanks!
I used to melt my Palm Oil to a slurry, then mix it up real well and measure out what I need. Before I started Master Batching, I would measure my Cocoa Butter and melt halfway, then add in my Palm Oil (slurry), melt a little more, add my Coconut Oil, finish melting, then add my Shea Butter and melt it with the residual heat. I would add my Olive and Castor Oil.

Mostly it’s a matter of personal preference. The way I did it had partly to do with melting time of the ingredients and partly to do with limited space...not being able to have all my ingredients out at the same time. It is important to make sure that all your hard oils, butters and additives are at their best for best results.
 

Jersey Girl

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I use the no stir palm too. Comes in a 50 lb cube bag in a box. So much more convenient than worrying about melting it all each time. I get it from Candles and Supplies. I usually pick it up as it’s only about 90 minutes from me. $55 for 50 lb. cant beat it.
 

Anstarx

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My palm is the regular kind that need to be stirred after heating. Upon having a new a batch of palm arriving I melt it and split into plastic bags w/ spout like this↓, each will hold about 500g or so and reusable. My batches are small so one bag of palm like this can last me couple of batches, so I just need to put a bag into hot water every time I need palm instead heating the entire batch,
Liquid-storage-bags-with-spout.jpg
 

kasilofchrisn

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My palm is the regular kind that need to be stirred after heating. Upon having a new a batch of palm arriving I melt it and split into plastic bags w/ spout like this↓, each will hold about 500g or so and reusable. My batches are small so one bag of palm like this can last me couple of batches, so I just need to put a bag into hot water every time I need palm instead heating the entire batch,
View attachment 54453
I do the same thing.
But instead of the bags I just use canning jars/lids. I always have plenty of jars on hand and like you said the smaller portion is much easier to melt.
I melt my hard oils in a double boiler.
I think I paid $15 for my last one on Amazon. I don't sell or make large batches so I don't need a big double boiler.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Ditto. I melted up the palm oil (RBD) until clear and just poured it into individual soap moulds (silicone). Guess why I have those at hand. Let it solidify as far as it would at room temperature or in the frigde, without trouble of bulk demixing. Now I have a bag of handy, homogeneous pieces, each about 50 g. Just one warning with red palm oil: moulds tend to keep the crazy orange colour!

For more “precious” fats (soy wax, cupuaçu, cocoa butter…), another good shape is a chocolate bar mould. Just don't mistake it for a bar of white chocolate at a late-night food craving…
 

FragranceGuy

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Signing up for this forum was the smartest thing I’ve done since becoming interested in soap making. The combined knowledge here is, I don’t know the word.. mind blowing/jaw dropping/inspiring/smile inducing. The different ways you all divide your palm oils are so clever. Thank all of you!

@Mobjack Bay I haven’t yet purchased palm oil, but I think I’ll start with the no stir. I’m a beginner and I’d like to minimize human error and focus on the basics.

@AliOop I’ve been experimenting with lard in the soap calc and I really like what I’m getting. What qualities does lard offer that makes it one of your favorites?

I have two more questions about oils...

1. If you’re making a recipe with only soft oils, like Castile, do you still heat your oils or soap at room temp?

2. When you refer to shelf life are you referring to the length of time after opening? Puchacing?
 

Zany_in_CO

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I’ve read that when melting palm oil I should heat the whole container and weigh out what I need. Do I just pour the rest of the oil back into the container and let it cool, then reheat the whole container again next time?
Regular palm oil is a special case. The stearic acid tends to settle to the bottom so it's necessary heat and stir all the oil before measuring out what you need. Then I pour into smaller containers to keep on the shelf. Sometimes I heat a batch of oils like Palm/PKO (Palm Kernel Oil) and Olive Oil together and put that on a shelf until I'm ready to soap. I'm going to do that today as a matter of fact.
1. If you’re making a recipe with only soft oils, like Castile, do you still heat your oils or soap at room temp?
You can do either. I prefer to warm liquid oils like OO to about 100°F before adding my lye solution.
2. When you refer to shelf life are you referring to the length of time after opening? Puchacing?
Shelf life generally refers to "time after opening".
However, that changes if you purchase an oil today and it remains unopened for a year or more, it may or may not be good to use. It depends. Then it's a judgment call.

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SOAPMAKING OILS
 

AliOop

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I like lard because it is:

1. cheap
2. readily available
3. slow-moving, i.e., slow to trace (which equals more time to make swirls and designs)
4. slow to go rancid, i.e. long shelf-life

and most importantly:

5. Lard makes great soap! Lard is very gentle on the skin. Folks who can't use any other soap due to skin issues can often 100% lard or high-lard soaps. Many in my family are in that category, which has a lot to do with why I started soaping.

Lard is very low on cleansing. Don't let SoapCalc fool you - most folks want their cleansing number to be 15 or lower, not between 12 and 22. Soap with a 0 cleansing number will still clean you; it just won't strip away as much of your natural skin oil. High lard soaps often need to cure a bit longer than the standard 4 weeks; I will use them at 6 weeks but love them at 8 weeks.

Good luck on your soapy journey! I've been soaping almost a decade now but only on this forum for about 2.5 years. Like you, I've learned so much here, and have so enjoyed the company of the other SMFers. Uh-oh, that looks like I'm calling them a bad name, doesn't it? oops, well, thankfully we all pretty much have a good sense of humor and like to poke a little fun at ourselves and eachother. I think you will fit right in. ;)
 

FragranceGuy

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@AliOop SMFers 😆 I love it! I’m going to incorporate lard into one of my next two batches. And thanks for clarifying the cleansing numbers. I’ve been hyper focused on getting my values above 12 (closer to 17) but it’s nice to know I have more leeway than I thought. Thanks!

@Zing Yes, that☝makes perfect sense. Once again, in typical Zing fashion, you explained everything so clearly and logically that I could visualize myself doing everything while I read your post. You’d make an excellent teacher.

@AliOop Also, what characters do you look for when purchasing lard? Some brands have added BHAs and BHTs and I’m not sure if antioxidants interfere with the saponification process. Do you have a favorite brand?
 

AliOop

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Yup, that cleansing box causes loads of confusion for most soapers when they first start. Unless you are a grease monkey, landscaper, or person with a similar sweaty job, you probably want to max out at 12-15 if possible. My sweet spot is 10; my DH likes 10-15. He starts to get scaly if we go above 15.

ETA: Just saw your other question. I actual render my own lard most of the time, because I get it very cheaply from a local custom butcher. I add ROE to keep it fresh, just in case my rendering job wasn't perfect (and it probably wasn't).

I've previously purchased the Armour lard from Walmart. It has those additives and soaps just fine. But I just learned Smart Foodservice is right down the road from me. They sell a 48lb bucket of Viva lard for $51. It will take me a LONG time to go through that much lard, but since it doesn't go bad, I'm thrilled to find it at that price. That brand has BHA and citric acid in it, but again, those don't affect how it soaps.

Since you are just starting out, a smaller tub of Armour or SnowFlake from Walmart or the grocery store is a good way to start. If you decide you like it, then it will be time to make those bulk buys.

Oh, and I forgot to mention another benefit of lard is that it makes a very light-colored batter. Some oils (EVOO, Avo), will color your batter greenish. Fine for St. Paddy's Day, not so much for Valentine's Day. ;)
 
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FragranceGuy

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You’ve got me excited about lard! (I never thought I’d say those words 😆) I think I may become a Lardinator as Zany informed me 😆 My gf has very sensitive skin. She’s been using dove since it helped clear up chronic skin issues she had 25 years ago. Most other commercial soaps will irritate her skin. Side note: today she used my 1 week cured first batch of soap and it didn’t irritate her skin at all, which makes me VERY happy 😃 Anyway, I’m going to make her a custom soap using lard, olive oil and coconut oil, aiming for a cleansing value of 10. I’m so excited I already blended my essential oils. Sweet orange, eucalyptus and cedar 🤗
 

Mobjack Bay

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Lard is a very special gift to soapers because it makes great soap and is very easy to work with. The one I thing I don’t like about it is the smell, but I only notice it in older, well-cured soaps that have not retained the scent of the FO or EO.

As for coconut oil, I know from reading here on the forum that higher than 15-20% bothers many people, but I make the bulk of my soaps at 20% and sometimes I use 25%. I don’t sell, but haven’t had any complaints from friends or family.
 

FragranceGuy

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Correction: I used cypress bc I’m out of cedar wood.

@Mobjack Bay I’ve noticed some tallow bars I’ve bought have a subtle odor. I don’t necessarily find it unpleasant, but it’s distinct. How would you describe the smell of lard? How many weeks cured do you think the smell would emerge in a balanced bar? Would lowering superfat to 3-4% possibly help?
 

hlee

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I think you will love the lard and your girlfriends skin will really love it .
I use Morell Snow Cap lard. Rarely have I picked up a lardy odor in soap but some people seem to detect it more than others maybe?
I usually make a small high % lard soap just for me for winter use but forgot to make it this fall . I have missed it and wont forget again.
 

Mobjack Bay

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What I smell in the soap is in the same scent family as what I smell when I open the bucket of lard, but much milder. I will add that I have a pretty sensitive nose, or at least I did before I had a house full of curing soap. The time frame for me has been linked to the time it takes the scent to fade. I have mostly stopped using FOs and EOs that fade within 6 months, so at this point I wouldn’t start smelling lard until many months after a soap was made. I’ve been making most of my soaps with 2% superfat for a year or so now, but it’s possible that some of the early ones were 5%. Without researching my notes, I can’t say if I think the SF makes a difference. I should point out that the lard smell has not kept me from making lard soap. It’s a favorite in our house, and with many of my relatives (especially the ones who grew up on ranches in the west, which I think is just a coincidence). I just make sure to use a scent that I know will stick. I have a glorious 18-month old lard bar at my kitchen sink that smells faintly of cinnamon EO and lard. A 1-year old bar in my shower made with Great Value (Walmart) lard and tallow shortening doesn’t have much of a scent at all. Perhaps the lack of piggy/animal fat scent in the shortening soap has something to do with the way the shortening is processed (?). I’ve read here on the forum that overheating the lard can accentuate the lardy scent, but I’m generally pretty careful not to overheat. Ironically, the shortening soap that has no scent was made with slightly overheated fats. My best advice is to try things and see what you like. Testing is a great excuse to make soap.

ETA: I’ve used Morrell, Smithfield and Armour. I mostly use Armour now because I can get it in bigger buckets.

I usually make a small high % lard soap just for me for winter use but forgot to make it this fall . I have missed it and wont forget again.
I once made an 80% lard 20% CO soap. It was very nice, but not quite as nice as soap made from the lard recipe I spent months and months perfecting ;).
 
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