lye ratio, masterbatching and embeds?

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kierat

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Hi guys, i have some questions about lye and masterbatching in regards to soap embeds ☻

I always use lye at a 2:1 ratio for a 32oz batch of soap using soap calc and adjusting the lye ratio and then getting my oil values etc. not sure why do this but I believe it was the ratio used in my first recipe last year so I've stuck with it. What are the quality differences often see people talk about a 1:1 lye ratio.

My second question is about masterbatching. I embed soaps into my designs and have been using melt and pour soap for this as I was told it would sweat less. However using CP normally I feel like its a waste for me to buy melt and pour soap when I can create my own CP. This is where my thoughts on masterbatching come in. When normally adding lye to the soap I make sure it is at 50c before adding. Can you add lye when it is fully cold? will it interfere in the soap making? I always see people post about masterbatching a then watering down their master batch etc. It confuses me.

If I masterbatch using 2:1 ratio can I keep this and then use it to make my embeds?
Or can I rebatch soap made to use for my embeds? whats the difference between using melt and pour and grating down a cured bar of CP soap?
I'm looking for the most convenient way to make embeds, for each loaf I want 2 and even using melt and pour it requires a lot of time. Does anyone have any embed making tricks other than owning more moulds ahah.

Thanks in advance ☻

attached is my standard soap recipe. usually I would just do Olive coconut and shea, but now I have been adding palm oil but cant really tell the difference tbh.
 

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Great questions. I'll answer a few of them. :)

1. People typically use 1:1 water:lye ratio only for masterbatching lye solution. They don't actually soap with the 1:1 solution . Rather, at the time of making soap, they add additional water to bring the solution to their desired ratio, whatever that might be. More on that, below. If you are math-challenged, the soapmakingfriend lye calculator will allow you to select master-batched lye, set the MB ratio you used, and then calculate the additional water for your desire soaping ratio. Yay!

2. You can choose to master-batch your lye solution at any ratio that works best for you. If you always soap with a 2:1 ratio, you can make your MB solution at that ratio. However, the drawback of premixing at your full usage ratio is that you have no extra liquid in which dissolve additives such as sugar, salt, sodium lactate, citric acid/citrate, etc. That's why a lot of people MB at the 1:1 ratio; that leaves them with extra liquid for dissolving those additives and not exceeding their final lye solution ratio.

3. You absolutely can use lye solution at room temperature. That's why a lot of us master-batch; the lye solution is always cool and ready to use. Plus, you only have to measure and mix lye every once in awhile, not each time you make soap. It's glorious!

4. You can absolutely use MB solution to make CP soap loaves, embeds, cavity molds, soap dough - anything for which you would use freshly-made lye solution (except the heat transfer method of melting fats, obviously). I don't know why you'd want to rebatch to make embeds; why not just pour the CP soap into your embed molds to start? Saves a lot of time and hassle. Some folks do prefer to make embeds with M&P because they can make a whole bunch of them really fast. As soon as the M&P has hardened, you pop 'em out an pour a new batch. That's an advantage if you only have a few embed molds and you need to make a whole bunch of embeds without waiting for CP soap to saponify and harden before you can pour the next batch.

Another way to make embeds is to roll out some soap dough and use cookie cutters to cut a bunch of the shapes you want. Then stack and press them into a long column that will fit into your loaf.

I don't think I answered all your questions, but hopefully that's a good start. Have fun, and post some pics!
 

kierat

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Thank you so much! thats really helpful ☻

What do you mean in terms of extra liquid? Usually I add sodium lactate to my lye mix after it cools. if i did a master batch of 2:1 and then for an example my recipe had 260g of water and 130 of lye. would I measure out 390grams of the master batch for the recipe? Then if i added my teaspoon of sodium lactate for the recipe would that throw off the whole soap? At the moment i do that with my soaps. I don't discount the water for the lye by the amount of sodium lactate or anything like that. should i be?

Will it matter If my oils are at 50degrees and my lye is at 10 degrees? Ive noticed with a warmer lye it traces a lot quicker.

here are some pics of my latest soaps ☻
 

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Hi @kierat ,
Just a couple of comments.
1) I am guessing you are a beginner soap maker. So as long as you only want to make soap using your 2:1 ratio with distilled water as your liquid (sodium lactate doesn't count), then create and use a lye master batch with a 2:1 ratio. It will definitely make things easier until you get comfortable with basic soap making.
2) I prefer to create a 1:1 lye master batch, then add the additional liquid I need to bring it to the appropriate liquid:lye ratio at the time of soaping. The reason I do that is that sometimes i may make a brine or beer soap, so my additional liquid is a concentrated brine or beer liquid. As @AliOop mentions above, the soapmakingfriend calculator really makes it easy to know how much additional liquid I need to bring my liquid:lye ratio to the desired amount.
3) For embeds in which I'm using a special mold (say like a star), I prefer to use the Low Sweat LCP MP soap. It's more efficient for me. Otherwise, I need to make a very small amount of CP soap to fill the mold, wait about 4 weeks for it to lose the majority of its water, then make the actual soap loaf. So being able to make a MP embed and use it the next day in my actual soap loaf is much more efficient for me.
 
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I agree with @Nona'sFarm - you don't need to worry about adding the SL to your master-batched lye. It is already predissolved so it doesn't need more liquid to dissolve.

The additions I was mentioning that might need extra water would be salt, sugar, citric acid, or citrate. If you use any of those in your soaps, then you will need to dissolve them in some liquid that doesn't already have the lye in it. That's why many soapmakers choose to use a 1:1 MB solution, since they need to reserve some liquid for dissolving their additives.

If you aren't using any of those, then you don't need to worry about that, and making a 2:1 MB will work just fine for you.

Regarding the embeds, I like using CP to make them 1-2 days in advance. I don't let them cure very long because I don't want them to be at a different curing stage than the rest of the loaf. That can make it harder for the new soap to stick to the more-cured embed.

Of course, using M&P will be a much faster process since you can incorporate it into your soap within a few hours, as opposed to a day or two. Do what works for you!
 
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