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How important is the weather?

Discussion in 'Recipe Feedback' started by xmasdeer, Nov 8, 2018.

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  1. Nov 8, 2018 #1

    xmasdeer

    xmasdeer

    xmasdeer

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    I made some batches of soap at the end of summer and they worked perfectly, set quickly and dried out well, except for the one with too much coconut oil (50% - beginners mistake on calc). Batches were either 100% olive oil, or 50/50 Olive/Sunflower (low oleic) and these both turned out really well, set quickly with no problems at all. These were made at room temp, cooling the lye to match the oils.

    I have recently made more soap, in Autumn (France 6-19 degC), recipe was Avocado 5%, CO(76d) 20%, OO 35%, Low Oleic Sunflower oil 40%. Plus peppermint EO. This recipe is taking days to set and has tiny oil beeds on top (I read in other thread that this will reabsorb). This batch was done at 120deg F with lye/oil differing by less than 10% temp.

    Does the weather affect the soap making at all or will this recent batch still set properly over time? Any other suggestions are welcome. I hope the really experienced soapers don't mind these beginner questions too much.
     
  2. Nov 8, 2018 #2

    jcandleattic

    jcandleattic

    jcandleattic

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    Weather as well as the oils/additives used, along other things will all have an effect on how the soap turns out. I would assume that along with the weather the reason your batch is acting differently is because you are using a significantly different recipe.

    If you give us exact measurements in grams or oz, with your exact process, along with exactly what is different than before we'd be able to help you more.
     
  3. Nov 9, 2018 #3

    shunt2011

    shunt2011

    shunt2011

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    Your recipe has mostly liquid oils and will therefore remain softer longer. Did you gel your soap? Liquid amount plays part as well. There are a lot of variables in soapmaking.
     
  4. Nov 9, 2018 #4

    xmasdeer

    xmasdeer

    xmasdeer

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    The two recipes here were both done recently, in cold weather. They are labelled Christmas Test and Christmas Pink. Both CP batches.
    Christmas Test batch 3/Nov/18 - melted oils and added lye when both at 120degF - 2 days to unmold. 1/2 batch was log bar set hard and lovely, the second half was into silicone rose molds, are hard but softer than the log.
    Christmas Pink batch 6/Nov/18 - melted oils and added lye when both were at 150deg F - still in molds (today is 3rd day), too soft, log bar has tiny beeds of oil, though appears to be a little less this morning.

    My original batches were all either 100% olive oil, or 50/50 OO/SunFO, done at room temperature, it was 76 deg F (24C), and cooled lye to same temp as oils. All of these batches were Oils 295g/water 88g/SHyd 33g. All set good, unbatched 1 day and set hard now, cannot use wire to cut them now.

    I am now trying to figure out what the best temp for heating oils/lye to for cold weather climate is for better all round results.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] soap 1.jpg soap2.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  5. Nov 9, 2018 #5

    DeeAnna

    DeeAnna

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    Weather can have a small effect in that cool air temperatures can cool the soap enough in the mold to slow saponification, but you're soaping plenty hot -- way hotter than I ever do even during winter when my house is cool. I never soap hotter than about 110F / 45C and usually more like 100F / 40C. Soaping at 120-150 F will way over-compensate for any coolness of the air temp, so I think it's counter-productive to focus on weather as being the problem.

    If I'm following your notes correctly, your problem is less about the air temp and more about your recipe. The major issue I see is that you are using recipes very low in stearic and palmitic acids (no palm, tallow, lard or butters) and high in oleic acid (olive, avocado, and sunflower). There's nothing particularly wrong with that idea, but a high oleic, low stearic/palmitic soap does better with less water than you are using.

    It looks like your current lye concentration is around 29%. Shift to using lye concentration (or water:lye ratio) if you are currently using "water as % of oils." Raise the lye concentration to at least 33% (or use a water:lye ratio of 2:1). Some people use even less water -- a 40% lye concentration or a water:lye ratio of 1.5:1 for this type of recipe.

    Suggestion: The shorthand "SHyd" is not common; in fact this thread is my first encounter with this abbreviation. Better to type the actual chemical formula "NaOH" which is very commonly understood.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  6. Nov 9, 2018 #6

    xmasdeer

    xmasdeer

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    Thank you for the info. I will adjust everything and see how it goes. The calculations came from soap calculators, which makes me wonder why the soap calc is not making similar suggestions to you. I am a bit wary of these calculators, because putting the same oils and ratios into 3 different calculators always gives me different results.
     
  7. Nov 9, 2018 #7

    DeeAnna

    DeeAnna

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    "...The calculations came from soap calculators, which makes me wonder why the soap calc is not making similar suggestions to you...."

    The default settings in Soapcalc and other soap calcs are generally accepted to be fairly safe settings that will allow most beginners to make typical middle-of-the-road soap recipes. Just because they're default settings doesn't mean they're optimum settings for all recipes and all soapers all of the time. Your recipes fall outside the norm somewhat since they don't have much stearic and palmitic. If you want to make this type of recipe, it's important to be willing to learn and adapt. No calc can give you that training -- the finer points of making soap are not something that can be taught by a calc.

    "...I am a bit wary of these calculators, because putting the same oils and ratios into 3 different calculators always gives me different results...."

    Yes, it's true there is some variability from calc to calc, but that doesn't mean one calc is more correct than the others, nor does it mean they're all lying to you. Every calc is based on assumptions about water content, alkali purity, etc. and they all use average numbers for the saponification values. These assumptions and averages are going to vary slightly depending on how the calc is designed and what set of data the calc designer used for the calculations. This variability is true of all mathematical models for any real-life process, including every soap recipe calc.

    Getting multiple answers from several calcs won't help you make better soap. Pick one that you like and get used to how this calc performs. and ignore the others. As I pointed out above, all soap recipe calcs are mathematical approximations (models) of a real life process, and that's just how it is. Once you get more experience with making soap, you'll do fine no matter what calc you use.
     
    xmasdeer and shunt2011 like this.

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