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How much butter is too much?

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spenny92

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I've been playing around with a palm-free, animal fat-free recipe and have made a few batches with minor tweaks to compare. I've been using coconut oil, cocoa butter, castor, sweet almond, olive pomace, rice bran and shea butter as the base. One of my favourite suppliers has just added mango butter and almond butter, and the prices are reasonable. I'm wondering if 4 different butters might be too much? What are the downfalls to using too much butter? I've been using cocoa butter and shea butter at 5-12% each, and I would be looking to add almond and mango at 5-6% each. I've run a few test recipes through SoapCalc and the numbers look good - creamier, slightly harder than my current recipe (I'm finding the texture upon unmoulding really fudgey, not a major issue but would like it a little firmer).
 

Obsidian

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I wouldn't go over 20% total on butters. How much water are you using? I find using 2:1 water:lye helps make a harder soap at unmolding. Always double check any unusual sounding butters like almond, often its just soybean oil with a added liquid oil.
 

KristaMarie

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I use up to 30%, but just cocoa and shea. I can't imagine adding 5% of mango and almond butters will do much besides reduce lather.
If your soap is fudgey, just leave it another day or two before unmolding. My high butter soaps are fudgey after a day, because I usually use full water if I'm swirling. Like Obsidian said, a 2:1 water to lye ratio will cut down on your wait time a bit
 

not_ally

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Krista and Obsidian, how is your lather in the soaps that have 20-30% butters? Have been thinking of trying some experimental batches, but I was concerned about that. Do you add super-lather boosters somehow?
 

KristaMarie

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I don't add anything to boost lather, but I've been thinking of adding sugar. The lather takes a couple extra seconds to get going, but when it does it's nice and creamy. Just like everything else in soap making, it depends on what you like!
 

KristaY

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This Krista agrees with the first Krista, lol. I add sodium lactate to all my batches so that helps the bubbles a bit too. I love the dense, creamy lather with my triple butter recipe and my future DIL is happy as a clam (how does one measure the happiness of the clam?) Anyway, she has very sensitive, dry skin and loves the wedding bars I made for her.
 

spenny92

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Yep, I checked out the almond butter and it's just almond oil plus "hydrogenated vegetable oils" so I'll pass on that.

I've been using mostly 10% cocoa and 10% shea, the lather is lovely and creamy once it gets going (batches aren't fully cured yet, but I had to test them!). I was reading about water discount all day yesterday, and I've just been using the default SoapCalc setting. Since using SoapMaker 3, I've had to manually input the lye strength, so I'm going to do 2:1 from now on!

I might test a batch with 5% mango butter, and go from there.
 

LittleCrazyWolf

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I used 25% mango butter in my very first batch and it lathered ok...probably because I also used 31% coconut oil. It definitely wasn't the right soap for my skin!

Are you opposed to trying lard in your recipe? Lard adds hardness, conditioning, and has a nice creamy lather that I love.
 

spenny92

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I used 25% mango butter in my very first batch and it lathered ok...probably because I also used 31% coconut oil. It definitely wasn't the right soap for my skin!

Are you opposed to trying lard in your recipe? Lard adds hardness, conditioning, and has a nice creamy lather that I love.
I've used lard and like it in recipes for myself, but I'm now working on animal fat free and palm free recipes - I live in rural NZ and we have a large hippie population, so that's what they want apparently!
 

LittleCrazyWolf

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I've used lard and like it in recipes for myself, but I'm now working on animal fat free and palm free recipes - I live in rural NZ and we have a large hippie population, so that's what they want apparently!
You definitely gotta give 'em what they want! : )
 

not_ally

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Those poor hippies don't know what they're missing. Or not, I suspect if they buy soap in stores without reading (and most people don't), there will be sodium lardate in it. I admire people who are principled, but I think balance is good.
 

galaxyMLP

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Is that what you call it? Sodium lardate? I always wondered since with tallow its sodium tallowate. I just haven't ever heard of sodium lardate.

Don't get me wrong. It makes total sense. Just never read it!
 

not_ally

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I know, it seems o easy. Just add sodium to the front and and "ate" to the back. Now, that is the kind of chemistry I can get with :)
 

not_ally

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Oops, sorry KristaM. I had a bad experience w/vegan soap b/c I let the friend of a friend who is vegan stay in my apt for a month when I was gone. Rent free, and she "organized" a bunch of my stuff, which made me crazy. Also left some really drying and not-nice soaps behind, but I am sure that was b/c they were poorly made, not b/c vegan soaps are intrinsically displeasing.
 

Obsidian

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My 20% shea bar doesn't produce big bubbles but it has plenty of thick, creamy lather. I increased the coconut oil (or palm kernel) to help boost the lather a bit.
 

KristaMarie

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Hahaha it's ok NA! Only playing. I actually think that more hippies should use lard anyway (but I'm a hypocrite, because I don't lol), because it's putting to use a waste product.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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It's actually a good point might be that you use too much butter when it has more of a negative affect on your soap than the benefits make up for - if it reduces the lather a touch, for some that is terrible (I'm looking at Susie here) and for others not so bad. Up to a point, a little bit of a waxy feel might be okay for some or too much for another. So for some 30% is too much, for others it is a-ok. For some 20% would be too much - you need to weigh the pros against the cons
 

spenny92

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Hahaha it's ok NA! Only playing. I actually think that more hippies should use lard anyway (but I'm a hypocrite, because I don't lol), because it's putting to use a waste product.
That's my reasoning for using it in soaps for personal use. I'd rather use it than see it go to landfill. But I touched on the topic of using it as an ingredient, and they did not like that idea one little bit. :problem:
 

not_ally

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Oh man, Spenny, that sucks, b/c it really is nice in soap. Plus it seems harder to make a vegan/veg soap generally, although I know it can be done (have never tried) from posts here. I bet you will end up with a nice one after all your work, though.
 

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