HP Troubles - HP's Please Help

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Kcryss, Feb 15, 2020.

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  1. Feb 15, 2020 #1

    Kcryss

    Kcryss

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    I have tried and tried and tried to get my soap to cook in under an hour. Actually just an hour would even be nice at this point. :(

    When I first started making HP soap, the temps were generally around 150 to 170 during cook. However, I kept seeing posts about fluid hp, cooking in 30 minutes or less etc. So, of course I wanted to save a little time and get mine to cook a bit faster.
    I upped the temp a bit and kept the soap around 170. Still over an hour.
    Tried between 180 and 200 ... again ... over an hour.
    Thought maybe I was over cooking ... zap test after zap test failed. So, I concluded that I was not over cooking.
    The last 3 batches, I've gone over 200 and keep it there ... still over an hour.
    I cannot for the life of me figure out what I'm doing wrong.

    Thought maybe it was the lye. The first lye I bought came from Amazon. I bought some from WHS and now last night I started using lye from Essential Depot. Same result. So it isn't the lye.

    Thought maybe the crockpot. The temps remain consistent whether on low or high, so I've ruled that out as well.

    Oils? Have tried with various combinations. Lard/tallow/OO/RBO etc.
    I always use a calculator and have even compared between soapcalc and soapmakerfriend. The lye can vary a tiny tiny bit, but not enough to make this much difference in the cook.

    Water maybe? I have tried both filtered and distilled, with no difference.

    What am I missing or doing wrong? The only other thing I can think of is (potentially) altitude. I can't imagine why that would make a difference with soap. Altitude matters for baking and making candy but as far as I know, those are the only two things.

    Here are two pics from last nights batch. The first one taken at 45 min cook. The second one taken at exactly one hour. Soap temp the entire time was above 200.

    upload_2020-2-15_7-43-30.png
     
  2. Feb 15, 2020 #2

    Kcryss

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  3. Feb 15, 2020 #3

    Obsidian

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    It almost looks like it got too hot and separated but I've never seen that happen with HP.
    Are you bringing it to thick trace before cooking? The only thing I can think of is to try a different crock pot.
     
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  4. Feb 15, 2020 #4

    GML

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    Are you stick blending when it reaches this stage? I will stick blend and whisk until it comes together and within a couple of minutes I will have a small volcano and then the soap is at the gel stage (usually).
     
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  5. Feb 15, 2020 #5

    Kcryss

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    So, you've never seen it look they way it does in pic 1? Now I really am at a loss ... maybe it is the crockpot.
     
  6. Feb 15, 2020 #6

    Kcryss

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    I tried stick blending at this stage once, but it just immediately got really hard in the area I was blending and clogged up the blade mechanism. Then I had hard crunchies in soup. lol
     
  7. Feb 15, 2020 #7

    GML

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    Every batch of mine looks this way during the applesauce phase. This is why I usually stick blend and whisk to bring the batter back together.
     
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  8. Feb 15, 2020 #8

    Kcryss

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    Maybe stick blending after the first volcano?
     
  9. Feb 15, 2020 #9

    Kcryss

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    ohh ... ok. I can try the SB again and if that doesn't work can try with a whisk.
     
  10. Feb 15, 2020 #10

    Kcryss

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    Yeah, it looks like pic one for almost the entire time it's cooking ... never changes until it hits an hour or a little over. Then if finally starts doing what it's supposed to have already done nearly an hour earlier.
     
  11. Feb 15, 2020 #11

    GML

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    Are you using vinegar as part of your liquid? If so, have you adjusted the amount of lye to account for the additional acid?
     
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  12. Feb 15, 2020 #12

    Kcryss

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    Yeah, I use the soap makers friend calculator and it accounts for vinegar and citric acid.
    However, that brings up a good question. I started using CA for chelating, and then someone said to also use vinegar. So I started using both. Now I have just gotten in an order of sodium gluconate. Can I stop using the vinegar/CA and just use the SG? In this last batch I used all three not knowing what to cut out.
     
  13. Feb 16, 2020 #13

    GML

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  14. Feb 16, 2020 #14

    Kcryss

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    Based on one of the commenters in that thread, I can probably skip the vinegar (it might be causing some of the reaction anyway) and just use CA and SG. I wonder if the added aloe is causing an issue, I wouldn't think so, but at this point I'm open to any possibility.

    What I've been doing until last night's batch:
    100g vinegar
    100g aloe
    water for the remain water needs (for example 250g water needed would mean 100g vin, 100g aloe, 50g water)
    To that I added 1 tbls sugar, 7g CA ppo.
    Mixed until dissolved, then added the lye. Mixed until dissolved, then added to the oils and blend to trace.

    As of last night, I did all the same, but also added 1% SG ppo to the water mixture before adding the lye.

    The previous batches all did the same thing as far as cooking forever. So maybe I should skip the vinegar and aloe and go with just water with the CA and SG.

    Everything else that I add is after the cook.

    Will also try SB after the volcaning is finished. My SB has a whisk attachment ... maybe I'll go with that instead of the regular blades.
     
  15. Feb 16, 2020 #15

    Obsidian

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    I'd make a simple batch, just oils, lye and water. See if the issue persists
     
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  16. Feb 16, 2020 #16

    DawninWA

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    I do it differently than most people, I don't use a crock pot. I use a big stainless steel bowl on a hot plate. I put the temp pretty low, leave it uncovered, and stir often. I'm a rebel.

    When it gets to applesauce, it's almost done, I stir it with my spatula at this point and when it comes back together, it's done.

    I found recently that the cook time decreases greatly if I get the soap to a very thick trace before putting the bowl on the hot plate.
     
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  17. Feb 16, 2020 #17

    szaza

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    Starting cook at thick trace definitely helps shorten cook time.
    I've never cooked longer than +-45mins, not even with very low temp methods. If I soap at the temps you're describing it takes +-5-10mins..
    Have you tried adding sf before cook? If you add it after cook you're using a 0% sf during cook and it might be harder for your lye to find the last remaining unreacted bits of oil (that's how I imagine it, no idea if it's chemically correct).
     
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  18. Feb 16, 2020 #18

    szaza

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    Deleted double post..
     
  19. Feb 16, 2020 #19

    JakeBlanton

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    Theoretically, depending upon your altitude in Colorado, it *might* make a difference since water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes. For example, if you were in Leadville at 10,000 ft, then the boiling point of water is only 193.2F (vs 212F at sea level). As such, a crock pot that could get a water based mixture up to 212F at sea level might only be able to get it to 193.2F at 10,000 ft. Now, if you just had oil in the crock pot, it would not have a problem getting it to whatever the maximum temperature achievable in that crock pot.
     
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  20. Feb 16, 2020 #20

    cmzaha

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    You do not need CA and SG and vinegar is not as much a chelator as it is for hardening your soap. I use SG with EDTA, mainly to get rid of my Tetrasodium EDTA, at .5% each in all batches and I also soap with vinegar adding in the extra NaOH to form Sodium Acetate.

    One question I have is if you actually deducted the amount of vinegar you used from the required total liquid used in Soap Makers Friend. I only ask because the calculator does not deduct the vinegar from the liquid leaving to much liquid if you do not do it manually.

    I also wonder why anyone wants to heat soap to the point of a volcano which can be dangerous? I know there was/is a soaper that hp's this way but it is far from necessary. When I do hp soap my soap is usually done in less than an hour and once it hits thick trace I do not stir again.
     
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