Lye/superfat question

Discussion in 'Recipe Feedback' started by Petrichor, Oct 17, 2019.

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  1. Oct 17, 2019 #1

    Petrichor

    Petrichor

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    I am still really new. I decided to try 3 different recipes today in small batches to see which I liked better. It wasn't until I was on my third batch that I realized that my lye for all 3 was exactly the same. Here is the breakdown of each recipe:

    #1: _____________#2_______ #3
    8 oz of oils _________same ____same
    40% goat milk ______same ____same
    4% Super Fat _______3% _____20%
    15% Sweet Almond ___12% _____20%
    5% Castor _________5%
    20% Coconut, 76 _____18% ____80%
    25% Lard __________30%
    20% Olive _________15%
    15% Shea butter _____10%


    All 3 used 3.2 oz milk, 1.12 oz lye, and 8 oz oils.

    I am assuming that this is because of the different lye requirements for different oils? I just found it odd that all 3 used exactly the same amount of lye even though 1 had a 20% superfat. Is something off or is it okay?
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  2. Oct 17, 2019 #2

    Karmic

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    I'm just curious are these recipes you found somewhere or are they your own? I'm still new myself but don't think I've ever seen a recipe with 20% superfat intended, that's a lot of unsaponified oils.
     
  3. Oct 18, 2019 #3

    cmzaha

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    you are missing something in percentages on recipe #2. It only adds up 90%. Also keep in mind your Goat's Milk will up your superfat depending on the fat content of your GM. There is a good article and info here about using milks
    https://classicbells.com/soap/nutritionLabel.asp
     
  4. Oct 18, 2019 #4

    Petrichor

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    Sorry, yes. That one had 10% Avocado oil too.

    I have seen on many soapmaking sites that it is common to make a 100% coconut oil soap with a 20% superfat since coconut oil soap is so drying. I saw somewhere that someone did a 80/20 with coconut and almond oil with 20% superfat. So I decided to try it. My may be too high. But you don't know until you try. But according to my research, that high a superfat is normal for a soap with that high a percentage of coconut oil.

    But yes, I got the other 2 on this forum. I am just trying them out. On the third one, I want to have a super cleansing soap that would be good for removing sap and grease. My current soap is very gentle cleaning, which is great for every day showers and hand washing. But sometimes you just need that extra cleaning power. I saw this recipe somewhere, I don't know where, for a really cleansing bar.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  5. Oct 18, 2019 #5

    shunt2011

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    You are correct on your high coconut oils soap. I SF mine at 17-20%. It’s fine and perfectly normal.
     
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  6. Oct 18, 2019 #6

    DeeAnna

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    Yep, the first and third recipes just happen to have the same NaOH weight. Can't speak to the second one since it doesn't have the same basis -- the fats don't add up to 100%.

    And Carolyn makes a good point that the goat milk may add more fat to your recipes than you might want. It depends on the milk.

    You are using a lot of water (well, milk) in proportion to the NaOH. That might be fine for the 80% coconut batch, but the other two recipes might stay on the soft side for awhile.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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  7. Oct 18, 2019 #7

    Petrichor

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    I tried to reply but it isn't showing up. Apparently I forgot the 10% avocado oil in the second recipe.

    I was told that using a bit extra milk and letting it dry longer before removing from the mold would make the soap more milky and creamy. So I'm trying that out too. It will just sit in the mold longer.

    I also find it interesting that everyone keeps pointing out my superfat and that I should drop it farther since I'm using goat milk. With my first milk recipe I found in a soap book, it had a 5% superfat. It wasn't until I raised it to 7% that it didn't dry out my skin.

    My brain is struggling with how low I have the superfat for the first 2 as is. I'm kinda trusting the recipes I found to know what they are talking about. Because last time I followed a published recipe, I was disappointed. It wasn't moisturizing at all and I thought that was the point of milk soap. That's why I made 3 small batches today. I'm testing formulas.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2019
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  8. Oct 18, 2019 #8

    KiwiMoose

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    Essentially - coconut oil is drying in larger quantities. SO if you have a high coconut oil percentage, you should use a high superfat to minimise the drying effect. I use CO at 20% of my recipe ( with a 5% superfat), but some people on here find even that is too drying and use just 10 - 15%.
     
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  9. Oct 18, 2019 #9

    shunt2011

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    Unfortunately, just because a recipe works for one person doesn't mean it will work for everyone. That's where making a bunch of small batches with different superfast, oils etc come in handy. I started with 7-8% SF but with time and experience have learned that since I use milk in every batch that I could lower the SF and I keep it at 3-5% with the exception of my salt soap.

    You said you found the soap drying. How long did you cure it before using it? Depending on recipe, it can take 4-6 weeks or longer in some cases.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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  10. Oct 18, 2019 #10

    DeeAnna

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    It's not necessarily true that more superfat always makes soap milder. There are some recipes such as your 80% coconut oil soap that require a higher superfat to not be harsh. But many soap recipes are fine with a low to moderate superfat, because the blend of fats used to make the soap is mild to start with. Extra fat isn't needed to "tame" a naturally mild soap. I routinely use 2-3% superfat for almost all of my soap recipes. They are mild to the skin and lather well.

    I think some people want soap to clean and also to leave a film of fat on the skin so they don't have to use lotion. Not saying this is your goal, but it does seem to be something that many people expect. And then the lather is lacking due to the higher superfat, so they go through all kinds of gyrations to build the lather back.

    I also think there was a strong trend when I started soaping a few years ago to routinely use a higher superfat for most soap recipes. Nowadays it seems people are more willing to use a moderate to lower superfat -- or at least not get all horrified at those of us who do. ;)

    You're the first person in my experience to have mentioned the idea that adding extra fluid goat milk will make the soap more "creamy." If you want more milk solids in the soap to alter the skin feel or lather quality, you'd be better off adding dry milk, not more fluid milk. The extra water supplied by a few percent more fluid milk won't make that much difference to the lather or skin feel, but it can definitely cause problems when making, saponifying, and curing the soap.
     
  11. Oct 18, 2019 #11

    TheGecko

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    There wasn't much difference between the first and second recipes in terms of saturated/unsaturated. A high Coconut Oil recipe demands a high SuperFat, but it's not going to take as much lye as you think because your recipe is high is Saturated Fats.

    Neither has anything to do with how 'milky and creamy' your soap will be. If you had more liquid, your soap will be softer and wetter and thus you will have to wait to take it out of the mold and it will have to cure longer. Even though I used frozen Goat Milk, my soap turned brown because it overheated during saponification...I burnt the milk. The second time, I used frozen GM AND an ice bath AND I put it in the frig...very 'creamy' looking. I did have to wait until the soap reached room temp to unmold.

    It will clean all right, but it will leave the user with dry hands. My nephew works in a powder coating shop and all I did was to add a little bit of pumice and color it a 'manly' green and the guy love it.
     
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  12. Oct 19, 2019 #12

    DeeAnna

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    "...A high Coconut Oil recipe demands a high SuperFat, but it's not going to take as much lye as you think because your recipe is high is Saturated Fats...."

    @gecko -- I'm not sure I understand the connection in the underlined part of your statement.

    Here's my perspective -- Coconut oil (along with palm kernel and babassu) has one of the highest saponification values compared with other common soap making fats. In other words, it requires quite a bit more NaOH per gram compared with other fats such as lard, olive, palm, etc. Looking at other fats with a fairly high percentage of saturated fatty acids, many of them don't require nearly as much NaOH per gram as coconut oil does. Examples include palm, lard, the butters, and tallow.

    So I'm not quite sure how "not as much lye" can be correlated with "high in saturated fats". Can you clarify what you mean, please?
     
  13. Oct 19, 2019 #13

    cmzaha

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    A couple years after I started soaping I figured out I liked a low 2-3% superfat. When I posted such I was told by a member they would never touch my soap. Well, low and behold a year or so later many are using a low superfat. If I remember that far back I think the change in thinking actually came from DeeAnna agreeing she also liked lower superfat. It contributes to lather, and less plumbing issues. I will mention a tallow/lard combination with 17-18% CO will give a good creamy lather that is gentle. I keep lard at 25-27%, with a cleansing around 15%
     
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  14. Oct 19, 2019 #14

    DeeAnna

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    "...A couple years after I started soaping I figured out I liked a low 2-3% superfat. When I posted such I was told by a member they would never touch my soap. Well, low and behold a year or so later many are using a low superfat. If I remember that far back I think the change in thinking actually came from DeeAnna agreeing she also liked lower superfat...."

    You are probably be right, Carolyn, at least here on SMF. Many people on the Facebook soaping groups still seem to be horrified by the thought of getting anywhere close to zero superfat. A 2-3% superfat is way too close to zero for their comfort. I think people here are gradually accepting the idea that soap made with lower superfat can be perfectly safe and good quality. Some of the reasons why --

    Like you said, a big reason is that you and others (including me) share that we make soap with 2-3% superfat and get good results.

    We have also learned that a slight lye heaviness, should that happen, will gradually dissipate during cure. We explored the outer limits of that idea ;) in the "super-lye Andalusian olive oil soap" thread when it was active a few years ago.

    The recipe calcs are based on 100% NaOH purity but our real NaOH isn't that pure, so there's a hidden extra superfat built into recipes based on these calcs. The hidden superfat is typically 1-5%, possibly more, depending on the NaOH supplier and whether the soap maker keeps NaOH really dry during storage.​
     
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  15. Oct 19, 2019 #15

    TheGecko

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    I must have misunderstood the article I read (can't find it now) and applied flawed logic to it. My apologies.
     
  16. Oct 19, 2019 #16

    Dawni

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    @cmzaha and @DeeAnna I also now superfat at mostly 2-3% because of you guys. The important points for me were the lye purity and the plumbing issues. I keep my cleansing near the minimum 12 if not less, and very rarely more, and I cure my soap 2mos, just in case (for other reasons as well).

    The point when I made the decision make soap this way was when I had forgotten to add my SF and you said to let it cure for more than usual and it should be fine. It was, and it's awesome soap now.
     
  17. Oct 19, 2019 #17

    DeeAnna

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    No reason to apologize -- I was just wondering. I'm always curious to learn new things.

    I hate when I find something interesting, but don't bookmark or save it so I can find it later. So annoying!
     
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  18. Oct 19, 2019 #18

    TheGecko

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    Well...if you're okay with it, I'll explain my thought process. As you noted, CO has a higher SAP value and so it takes more lye to turn it into soap. But CO is a very drying oil so you need offset it with SuperFat. SuperFat is unsaponified oil. We can SuperFat by using using less Lye or adding additional Fat. So I ran all three recipes and 80/20 CO/SAO at a given rate of 5% SF. I compared the lye requires and the Sat:Unsat Ratios. The Sat:Unsat Ratios for the first two were almost even, the Ratio for the high CO was just over 2 to 1. The lye requirement for 5% SF were higher than 20%.

    So my conclusion was that if your recipe is high in Saturated Fat and you want a high SuperFat, you would not need as much as much as you think.

    As for why other oils/butters also high in Sat Fats not needing as much lye to saponify as Coconut Oil...it could just be the base nature of the oil/butter.

    Thank you for being so understanding.
     
  19. Oct 19, 2019 #19

    DeeAnna

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    I'm following your train of thought and can see why you're thinking what you're thinking. I think the way you are describing the situation is a little confusing, however, because you're forming conclusions on these 3 recipes (or similar recipes) and the superfat used in these recipes, but you are describing those conclusions as if they are general principles that apply to all soap recipes all of the time. That's not necessarily always true and could be confusing to other soap makers.

    "...As for why other oils/butters also high in Sat Fats not needing as much lye to saponify as Coconut Oil...it could just be the base nature of the oil/butter...."

    Yes, that is correct. Lard, tallow, the butters, and palm also contain a high % of saturated fatty acids, but these fats are richer in palmitic and stearic acids, and contain less of the lauric and myristic acids as found in coconut oil.

    Which is why you can't look at just the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids and draw a valid conclusion about the superfat needed and the amount of NaOH needed for saponification.
     
  20. Oct 20, 2019 #20

    TheGecko

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    I will make it a point in the future to clarify my statements.

    I’m getting there. So much information to be cross-referenced, going to have to build a spreadsheet pretty soon.

    Thank your for your patience and explanation.
     

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