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HP without a Slow Cooker

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thinkativeone

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Anyone make HP soap without a slow cooker? I mainly see people talking about using a crock-pot but used crock pots are quite overpriced here and it would seem one could just cook it in their stainless steel pot. Which I use for CP anyway. I aim to try HP at some point and am going to have some time to do so next month, so trying to decide if I can. Tips? Pointers? ;)
 

DeeAnna

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Yep, I've done HP in a pot directly on the stove and in a double boiler. The double boiler is a little safer -- I watch the pot-on-the-stove version like a hawk to avoid overheating. I keep the water bath in the double boiler about 180 deg F. If you watch the second-hand stores, you can often find crock pots for a song.
 

thinkativeone

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Yep, I've done HP in a pot directly on the stove and in a double boiler. The double boiler is a little safer -- I watch the pot-on-the-stove version like a hawk to avoid overheating. I keep the water bath in the double boiler about 180 deg F. If you watch the second-hand stores, you can often find crock pots for a song.
I've been checking my secondhand stores here but they are ridiculously overpriced and way too small.

But I also have another concern re: using a crock pot/slow cooker - I've read that eventually the insert will break down from the lye, and I'm not entirely sure how resistant most glazes are as it is to this caustic. I've read people say theirs get destroyed and they have to throw them out. Also wondering if the glaze may end up in the soap and if that could be harmful. There have been issues raised about contaminants in crock pot glazes and inserts somewhat recently.
 

lsg

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I like oven HP.
 

thinkativeone

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Oven HP... Is that different from CPOP?

As long as I cook very low and slow over the stovetop it should not hardly be different from using a slow cooker, and with some possible benefits (no gradually destroyed insert).
 

DeeAnna

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In essence, oven HP is saponifying the soap first, and then putting it into a mold.

CPOP is molding the soap batter first, then saponifying.

But both techniques ensure the soap goes through a gel phase and saponifies quickly.
 

roseb

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Haven't heard about the ceramic liners having a problem. I HP almost exclusively and my liner looks fine. Guess I need to do a bit of research on this. Thanks for the heads up.
 

thinkativeone

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In essence, oven HP is saponifying the soap first, and then putting it into a mold.

CPOP is molding the soap batter first, then saponifying.

But both techniques ensure the soap goes through a gel phase and saponifies quickly.
Pretty sure I'm not understanding this. :oops:
 

DeeAnna

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Oven HP -- put the ingredients in a pot, bring the ingredients to trace, put the soap batter, still in its pot, into the oven, and allow the batter to saponify. Remove the hot, finished soap from the oven, and put the soap into a mold. Cool, unmold, cut, cure.

CPOP -- put the soap recipe ingredients in a pot, bring the ingredients to trace, and put the soap batter into a mold. Put the soap batter in its mold into the oven, and allow the batter to saponify. Remove the mold from oven, cool, unmold the soap, cut, cure.

HTH! :)
 

thinkativeone

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Perfect; Thank you!

Oven HP -- put the ingredients in a pot, bring the ingredients to trace, put the soap batter, still in its pot, into the oven, and allow the batter to saponify. Remove the hot, finished soap from the oven, and put the soap into a mold. Cool, unmold, cut, cure.

CPOP -- put the soap recipe ingredients in a pot, bring the ingredients to trace, and put the soap batter into a mold. Put the soap batter in its mold into the oven, and allow the batter to saponify. Remove the mold from oven, cool, unmold the soap, cut, cure.

HTH! :)
Makes perfect sense now! Thanks! :D I wonder what difference it makes doing oven HP versus CPOP in the bars. Going to have to try it sometime, but my pot is pretty huge, not sure I can get it to fit. I'll have to get another smaller stainless steel pot. This reminds me of dutch oven slow cooking, which I LOVE. :thumbup:
 

DeeAnna

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Well, with HP, you don't have to worry about partial gel! :)

HP also gives you the chance to add a true superfat by adding the fat after the soap is fully cooked. Also you can add fragrance after the soap is cooked, so the scent stays stronger (and/or you can use less scent for the same results). The scent doesn't "cook out" like it can with CPOP.

As far as using the oven vs crock pot vs stove top vs double boiler ... it's all a personal choice. I think HP in the oven or crock pot is a little more forgiving ... you don't have to watch it quite so closely.

I liked the tip I read last night on SMF about cooking the soap in the crock pot until the soap "folded over" once, then turning the crock pot off, covering the crock pot with a towel, and let the soap finish cooking with the residual heat for another 1/2 hour or so. (Sorry, can't remember the poster's name.) I think you could also adapt this method to the oven.
 

girlishcharm2004

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I've heard of the problems you're talking about with slow cookers. Some brands have the coating that can get ruined with lye. I have four Crock Pots, and they're fine.

I haven't had success on the stove without it being in a double boiler method. But, I've had success with both the oven and slow cooker. There's a tool you can get from Bramble Berry to turn any pot into a double boiler. If your pot is excessively large, perhaps with this tool and a large sauce pan you can get your pot to work with hot process!

http://www.brambleberry.com/Double-Boiler-Maker-Double-Boiler-Maker-P3796.aspx

I'm looking at getting one of these for doing LARGE batches of hot process because the next pot I want to get isn't going to fit in my oven. :p
 

thinkativeone

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Oh, sorry, I meant I was wondering about the difference between the finished bar with CPOP versus oven HP instead of regular HP, so many different little nuances.

I am pretty comfortable with just cooking on low similar to dutch oven cooking instead of a crock pot. They make stainless steel dutch ovens that can be used over the stovetop or in the oven (not that I would buy one for that, ouch, just use my SS pot), if cooking over the stovetop I will just work with it very, very low and check it frequently. That at least means I won't have to buy anything (except for another, smaller SS pot). Walmart has an 8 quart SS pot, very thin and flimsy for $10. I'm not sure how good an idea it would be to get that one. What do you guys think? Mine needs to handle up to 4 lbs easily. 4 lbs. of soap is a bit too shallow in my 12 quart pot, I find at least an 8 lb. batch works best without scratching the bottom too much with my stick blender!

DeeAnna, do you feel that HP (whichever method you choose) soap lasts as long once fully dried as CP? That would probably be my primary concern, how easily it would fall apart and things like that.

girlishcharm2004, how many batches of soap have you made in your Crock Pots? I am not terribly fond of that brand after a bad experience with them and their insert cracking while cooking. They did not stand behind their products for me or try to fix the situation at all, which I was surprised by. :-/ I also had a Crock Pot I purchased at Costco and had to return because the digital settings quit working. From the reviews on it several other people had the same problem... Not sure if their quality has gone down throughout the years or what!

That double boiler maker looks kind of neat. I can make a makeshift double boiler with my other pots, but they aren't stainless steel and the SS pot I have is at least 12 quarts. Cuisinart. :)
 

Dennis

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You could always do it outside, but I would use coals after the wood burned down a bit, or charcoal.

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kywlzaoe2g[/ame]
 

soap_rat

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I find there's a big difference in the soap, between CPOP and Oven HP. The texture of the soap changes a lot with oven HP, the first time I tried it was without sodium lactate, and it was like very dry mashed potatoes. (it also took a crazy long time to cook that time, which also led to drying out)

Using sodium lactate it stays nicely fluid--until I let it cool so it won't burn off my citrus EO. I mist the top of the pot with water as I wait for it to cool. If you're not cooling it you may be able to pour it into detailed molds--if it's a small batch. With a larger batch the latter half may have cooled too much. With CPOP you don't have that issue, you're pouring into molds while it's runny.

So obviously if you want fine swirls you will want to do CPOP, not Oven HP.

Regardless of water misting, I tend to get little clumps of soap that are more dried. So if I add my colorant at the end it won't be in those clumps. Most of my colorants are fine with the lye monster so I mix them into the oils.

I think Oven HP soaps may seem softer at first, in part because I use full water or even a little extra to keep it fluid. I believe it cures to the same hardness.

I think it's SO much easier to do this in the oven rather than the stove top. If you do the stove top, even sitting it in a water bath without lifting it up into a double-boiler setup you will even out the heat more. And if you have the rings from canning jar tops, set your soap pot on those and now it's properly lifted up. A couple of times I've used very low heat on a pot of soap that wasn't tracing fast enough, and there were serious hot-spots that made some scorchy ugly clumps happen.

I know what you mean about used, UGLY crock pots being overpriced at resale shops (and garage sales, and on craigslist...). How about one with NO LID for $13? Around this time last year Ace hardware had a one-week sale with smaller ones on sale for something like $11?

The soapmaking has affected the ceramic liners of my crock pots, there's a dusty ring on it that will not come off (although it's possible it's mineral deposits, I don't know the chemistry well enough). Many people attest that their soapmaking crock pots have lasted well, so other than manufacturing defect I believe they'll keep doing the job for a long time. But a pot in the oven has almost zero risk of failing on you!

As for the really thin pot you saw at Walmart, I think the thinner the metal the more uneven the heating on a burner. So if you do a water bath or Oven HP you should be good. (BTW the stockpot where I got scorches was medium-thickness metal)
 

thinkativeone

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Thank you!!!

I find there's a big difference in the soap, between CPOP and Oven HP. The texture of the soap changes a lot with oven HP, the first time I tried it was without sodium lactate, and it was like very dry mashed potatoes. (it also took a crazy long time to cook that time, which also led to drying out)

Using sodium lactate it stays nicely fluid--until I let it cool so it won't burn off my citrus EO. I mist the top of the pot with water as I wait for it to cool. If you're not cooling it you may be able to pour it into detailed molds--if it's a small batch. With a larger batch the latter half may have cooled too much. With CPOP you don't have that issue, you're pouring into molds while it's runny.

So obviously if you want fine swirls you will want to do CPOP, not Oven HP.

Regardless of water misting, I tend to get little clumps of soap that are more dried. So if I add my colorant at the end it won't be in those clumps. Most of my colorants are fine with the lye monster so I mix them into the oils.

I think Oven HP soaps may seem softer at first, in part because I use full water or even a little extra to keep it fluid. I believe it cures to the same hardness.

I think it's SO much easier to do this in the oven rather than the stove top. If you do the stove top, even sitting it in a water bath without lifting it up into a double-boiler setup you will even out the heat more. And if you have the rings from canning jar tops, set your soap pot on those and now it's properly lifted up. A couple of times I've used very low heat on a pot of soap that wasn't tracing fast enough, and there were serious hot-spots that made some scorchy ugly clumps happen.

I know what you mean about used, UGLY crock pots being overpriced at resale shops (and garage sales, and on craigslist...). How about one with NO LID for $13? Around this time last year Ace hardware had a one-week sale with smaller ones on sale for something like $11?

The soapmaking has affected the ceramic liners of my crock pots, there's a dusty ring on it that will not come off (although it's possible it's mineral deposits, I don't know the chemistry well enough). Many people attest that their soapmaking crock pots have lasted well, so other than manufacturing defect I believe they'll keep doing the job for a long time. But a pot in the oven has almost zero risk of failing on you!

As for the really thin pot you saw at Walmart, I think the thinner the metal the more uneven the heating on a burner. So if you do a water bath or Oven HP you should be good. (BTW the stockpot where I got scorches was medium-thickness metal)
Your entire post helped me SO MUCH. :mrgreen: Thank you, thank you! I love it when I receive such clear answers and everything makes sense perfectly. I am also now encouraged to give oven HP and stovetop HP a shot. Thank you for the canning ring tip! That's AWESOME.

If you can recommend a good SS pot and where to get it that is about small-medium size that'd be great. Everything at the thrift stores has been 2 1/2 - 3 quarts, which is too small - most of the time they don't even have that, and I've been checking for months. I need a small pot that can do up to 4 lb. batches easily. As I mentioned, my 12 quart swallows up 4 lbs. a bit and is better with a 8 lb. + batch, but following your canning ring suggestion I should be able to make it into a makeshift double boiler easily with the right sized pot to fit inside and make test batches. :D *excited*
 

soap_rat

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I'm glad it helped, I felt like I wrote way too much.

I remembered why my first Oven HP batch got so dry; I didn't have any pH paper so I was using the tongue test for zapping. The surface of a little glob of soap would be cool but the inside was hot. I was burning my tongue but thought it was lye zapping! Now I have pH paper and wait until the pH is around 11 before I tongue test. (if using pH paper, get a tiny gob on the paper but you may have to add a drop of water and massage for the paper to react.)

Sorry, I'm no help on where to find a pot. The thin walmart one will work fine if it's the right size, that thinness is a problem only directly on a stovetop. Sometimes ethnic stores (like Asian or Mexican groceries) have things for great prices, sometimes for inflated prices.
 

DeeAnna

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"...DeeAnna, do you feel that HP (whichever method you choose) soap lasts as long once fully dried as CP?..."

I've heard a few comments that HP soap doesn't last as long as CP. But many soapers have the idea that HP soap "cures faster" than CP, so they start using the soap before it has really dried properly. Small wonder it doesn't last as long, IMO, if that's what the comments are based on.

The HP soaps I've made have cured for at least a month before I use 'em, and they seem to last fine. But that's just my personal opinion -- I haven't gotten out my pocket protector and high-water pants to do a seriously nerdy, scientific comparison. :)

edit: As far as a soap that falls apart easily, I think that relates more to the soap perhaps being too dry when you mold it and whether you get it packed firmly into the mold without a lot of air pockets.
 
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PinkCupcake

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Wow! I didn't know people were charging prices like that for used crockpots. I saw a new 5-quart one at WalMart for less than $20.
 

MOGal70

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I know what you mean about the prices at thrift stores being outrageous. My sister was in town a couple of weeks ago and told me that she stopped by our thrift store on her way home, and she was quite shocked by the prices here. She routinely buys my brother in laws clothes at her local thrift stores for a $1 each piece. Here they are $4 when they are on sale.
 

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