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Dawni

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So.... I said somewhere that I'll be writing this post pretending I'm a very experienced HP soaper lol. Let's see how it goes..

But pleeeease, correct me if I'm wrong anywhere, refute me if your experience was different, and add your tips if you're so inclined. We need as much info on HP as we can get, coz there isn't much out there.

First off, a soap I made for the monthly challenge.
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This is a 60% lard recipe, with full water, part added hot after the cook, and a teaspoon of yogurt added to each separate container of colored soap. I should say that I had these containers sitting in a hot water bath the whole time I was pouring.

Interesting, this indigo. In the below pic, the soap on the left was cut about an hour before the pic was taken, and the one on the right about 2mins. Middle one was cut 5mins before the one on the right. Notice the color changes?
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Next up, is my rice soap. Third time to restock this as it's a favorite if the family. This soap is vegan, with cocoa butter and shea making up 38% of the oils. Full water again with part reserved for after, no yogurt this time, and no water bath since I didn't plan on complicated swirls.
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I poured the lighter part only on one side in layers alternating with the rest of the soap and spoon swirled, hoping for thin wispy curls. I need more practice but not bad I think.

Now we come to the lessons I've learned.

1. I've experimented with less water, to decrease chances of warping during cure. I've gone as low as 2.6:1 water and noticed it works with high lard recipes best, not vegan soaps that are high on butters. For those, 3:1 or 25%. Another reason is I can add yogurt to help with the lack of water in the lard recipes. If not for the challenge I'd have used 2.8:1 water like I did the last time I soaped the same recipe.

2. My slow cooker is now almost always on high. Takes less than 20mins from start to almost done, then it's off for it to cook fully. After, I add part of my reserved water (about 20% of the calculated amount), which I heat to hot, not warm, before adding. Sometimes I don't need to add yogurt, sometimes not even the water if I'm not doing complicated swirls.

3. When I'm soaping on high, with 3:1 water, I stir every 5-7mins. Less chances of uneven cooking (thanks for this tip @msunnerstood!) and burning. When I soap on low, I stir only near the end but depending on your recipe, reserved hot water or yogurt to add after the cook helps only somewhat. This no mixing method I do for lard soaps and single colored or chunky marbled soap, not for high butter soaps or multiple colors or thinner swirls.

4. Adding your (heated up) superfat after the cook helps. If you have an oven, having your containers, spatulas and molds heated up also helps, but since I have no oven I use the microwave to warm my mold, and I soap with my plastic containers sitting in a hot water bath. My challenge soap was done that way. I imagine plastic wrap will help more but we don't use that in this house so water bath and rushing it was.

5. I cannot stress the importance of yogurt in HP soap if you want it pourable. I don't always use it because I like the look of soap without it sometimes, but the batter is somewhere in between gloppy and pourable. Increasing water is enough for fluidity, yes, but I have a soap from September that's gotten badly warped up and my notes say the water was 3.2:1 and no yogurt. I haven't found a vegan alternative yet but @szaza suggests soy milk yogurt (she's also who started me on reserving part my water, so thank you!).

6. Last pointer is time management. You can't afford to lose the heat in HP if you want fluid batter. Unless you have plastic wrap (I think) you really need to get everything ready beforehand, to avoid exposing your soap to cooler air outside the pot as much as you're able. In the challenge soap, my colorants were added to the hot reserved water, and in the case of my rice soap the colorant was added to the hot superfat first, and the titanium dioxide to hot reserved water. Any other dry additives I usually add to a tablespoon of hot water, then to the soap, before turning off the slow cooker, since I mix a lot anyway. Actually, I add liquid additives this way too, like honey, diluted in hot reserved water (thanks to @IrishLass for this tip).

That's it I think? Haha sorry for the long and presumptuous post, but I wanted to consolidate what I've experienced and stuff I learned from the forum in one post I can link to for others. Thanks for your patience :)
 

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msunnerstood

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Dawnie your challenge soap came out amazing! I also really like the whispy swirls you attained in the Rice soap, not an easy feat in HP
 

earlene

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5. I cannot stress the importance of yogurt in HP soap if you want it pourable. I don't always use it because I like the look of soap without it sometimes, but the batter is somewhere in between gloppy and pourable. Increasing water is enough for fluidity, yes, but I have a soap from September that's gotten badly warped up and my notes say the water was 3.2:1 and no yogurt. I haven't found a vegan alternative yet but @szaza suggests soy milk yogurt (she's also who started me on reserving part my water, so thank you!).
If you want to search a bit about it, there are methods of producing lactic acid with raw cornstarch or beet sugar. I have not looked into how it could be applied to soap, but it would be vegan.
 

KiwiSoap

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Thanks for sharing your experience here, Dawn! Your experimentation is paying dividends, your colours and swirls are so pretty, and your rice soap .. I would buy it for personal use if you weren’t half way around the world! ;) (I truly do wish I could try it!)

Keep up the great work and thanks again for sharing it with us!
 

Mobjack Bay

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Thank you so much for sharing this post and your techniques. It’s really helpful. I am so impressed by the swirls and pours you are able to get in HP soap. Very pretty!
 

Dawni

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Dawnie your challenge soap came out amazing! I also really like the whispy swirls you attained in the Rice soap, not an easy feat in HP
Thank you. It means a lot, coming from you :)
If you want to search a bit about it, there are methods of producing lactic acid with raw cornstarch or beet sugar. I have not looked into how it could be applied to soap, but it would be vegan.
I will definitely do a search on that, thanks earlene :)
Thanks for sharing your experience here, Dawn! Your experimentation is paying dividends, your colours and swirls are so pretty, and your rice soap .. I would buy it for personal use if you weren’t half way around the world! ;) (I truly do wish I could try it!)

Keep up the great work and thanks again for sharing it with us!
Thanks, love! I'll get a couple of bars to ya somehow, one day lol
Thank you so much for sharing this post and your techniques. It’s really helpful. I am so impressed by the swirls and pours you are able to get in HP soap. Very pretty!
Thank you! I can't wait to see what you come up with :)
Nice swirls !
What is RICE soap?
Thank you... It's my soap where all my additives (other than the usual sugar n salt, and coconut milk powder) are some form of rice. I have the non vegan recipe, and more info, posted here if you're interested :)
 

Dawni

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Something I discovered recently, Mixing the mica with hot sugar water instead of oil seems to keep the colors vivid and help with fluidity.
Yes, sugar water helps. I learned that from a video I once saw on YouTube. Unfortunately, I only remember it sometimes lol thanks for reminding me :)
 

szaza

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Oh sugar water, haven't tried that yet. Thanks for the tip!
I also use a 1:2,7-3 lye concentration for HP and depending on how fluid I want the batter I adjust how much I add after the cook. I feel the amount I add after cook has more influence on warping than the total amount, though I haven't systematically tested that theory.
I also often use more than a tablespoon of yogurt ppo if I want a really fluid batter because I feel like I can get away with less additional liquid.
Please remember I'm not the one who came up with the yogurt idea, I think it was Sharon Johnson who invented it..
 

Bladesmith

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This is a great post Dawni! It is definitely hard to find information on the subject. Do you use sodium lactate? I use it to harden my bars a bit. But I was also lead to believe that it has a tendency to hold on to water and can help in fluid recipes by helping to prevent evaporation during the cook. Frankly, I have no idea if it's true. I've only made my fluid soap with it and haven't tried without.

One thing I've not done is hold back some water until after the cook. I'm going to have to give that a try next time.

I've been using a lye concentration of 27.5% which I believe is a little less water than you use. I'll have to do more experimentation.
 

earlene

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I read it and then I tested it out. My Challenge soap was done that way and the colors were brighter than Ive gotten before. I also used it with my honeysuckle Jasmine soap and its really bright too
Great to know. I am going to have to give this a try! So you actually make hot sugar water and mix the micas in while still hot? What proportion of sugar to water do you use?
 

szaza

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I read it and then I tested it out. My Challenge soap was done that way and the colors were brighter than Ive gotten before. I also used it with my honeysuckle Jasmine soap and its really bright too
Your entry soap is wonderful and I was already wondering how you got such beautiful bright colors!! [emoji106]
 

josianeg

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Questions:

1) if I’m adding my preheated superfatting oil at the end of the cook, do I add it first (before yogurt and/or water)?

2) when you add yogurt, is Greek yogurt OK? How much do you add? I found 1 TBSP ppo in some posts here.

3) do you warm the yogurt before you add it (and if so, how warm do I want it)? I read in one of your posts that the yogurt is at room temperature, but doesn’t that cool the soap too much?

4) when you add yogurt do you ALSO add water? if you add both...

a- is it important which you add first?
b- do you still use a 3:1 water to lye ratio?
c- let’s say held back 20% of the recipe’s water for after the cook, do you add less water (and if so, how much less) to account for the water in the yogurt?

5) you say that when you cook on low water or yogurt only help “somewhat” and that you don’t use the no stirring method for high butter recipes. I was planning to cook my high butter recipe on low and stir because I was worried that if I cooked HP soap in the slow cooker on high it would overheat. I know you stir every 5-7 min, do you do anything else to prevent the soap from volcanoing?

Thank you so much! 😅 I’ve done a couple batches of CP soap but I’m hoping to make my first back of HP soap tomorrow.
 
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