How much water do you use in your soap mixes?

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Saltynuts

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The first batch of soap I ever made I used the brambleberry calculator. I thought it came out very darned good (it was just a simple pure canola oil soap). Then I switched to using soapcalc and others. My soap always seems to get "dry", really "thick" is the right word, before the lye reaction is complete (the zap test still zaps me). So looking at the calculators, I see the brambleberry one DOES have a good bit more water than some of the others. Any particular thoughts on which calculator has the better water levels, how best to calculate the amount to use, etc? Drawbacks of using too much or too little water? That sort of stuff.

Thanks!!!
 

DeeAnna

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Soap batter should get thick before the saponification reaction is complete, if I understand what you're trying to say. But maybe I'm missing your point.

A typical batch for me gets firm-ish in about 1/2 hour after the batter is poured into the mold -- in other words, the soap is still somewhat soft but has become much too thick to pour -- but it will still be zappy until something like 12-18 hours later.

As far as the "best" water amounts to use, there's no answer to that. Use the amount of water that works best for you. The amount of water in the batch doesn't necessarily translate to slowing down trace or keeping the soap batter more fluid, etc. There are many factors that affect time to trace -- temperature, the amount of stick blending, the presence of free fatty acids (example: recipes that use stearic acid), other ingredients that accelerate trace, etc.

If you want to use more water, use 28 % lye concentration (2.6 water:lye ratio), assuming you're using a cold process method. If you want to try less water for CP, try 33% lye concentration (2:1 water:lye ratio) or an even higher lye concentration. It's just a choice -- there's no one right answer.
 
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When I first started, I liked the BB lye calculator for its simplicity, I still do. As I got more curious about ingredients and recipes, I switched to soapcalc.

I use a smaller amount of water when I use titanium dioxide (a white colorant) (ratio of lye to lye/liquid is 32.5%) in order to prevent a cosmetic thing called glycerin rivers.

When you say "thick" I am wondering if you are talking about trace? I, like many newbies in my early days, over-used the stick blender and I would get thick-traced batter very quickly. Now I use my stick-blender as a stirring spoon with only a few occasional bursts.

Also, liquidity can depend on your oils and butters. There are recipes that are slower to trace and gives you more time to color and design. Other recipes with lots of solid butters will get thicker quicker. Hope that helps.
 
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As has been said, the best water amount depends........

For your colouring fun, you'd need a different amount than someone else who isn't using multiple colours. If you have a problem with acceleration or are wanting to either ensure or prevent gelling, you would look at different water amounts
 
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