My 1st few batches are curing!

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BrewLou

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So I have been busy the last few weekends! When I jump into hobbies I jump in full swing, it is a character flaw :)! I have made "sample" bars for myself out of each set to test down the road, and so far I am very glad that I did.

Sorry for the long posts!

3 weeks ago I did my 1st CP batch. The wife and I love coconut oil so I went with a full 100% CO 20% SF recipe. It traced very fast due to the temps I soaped at. Flowed into the mold great though and firmed up in about 12hrs. The loaf plopped right out of the mold, and cut great after an overnight stint wrapped in a towel. I just used a sample bar last night at the sink and it lathered great. I personally like how it stripped everything off of my hands, but I can see how some consider it drying. No need for lotion for me, the wife may not agree :). Currently on week 3 of curing.

2nd CP batch was high on CO as well. Over 60% CO and the rest Olive Oil. I added in Tumeric and Pumpkin Pie spice. Any thoughts on where this is going :)? It went into the mold at a heavy trace as well but still poured nicely. Again it popped right out of the mold and smelled wonderfully like pumpkin pie. I had my hopes up that it would stick but the CP process is taking another aroma hostage I think. It is still there, but it is very slight. Currently on week 2 of curing.

After cleaning the mold and cutting batch 2 bars I went to CP batch 3. I am a beer geek as well, so I had planned ahead a few days prior and had a flattened Saison in the fridge. I used 100% beer (no H2O.) The lye did act a bit odd. It would settle and I actually had to crush it up a bit in the beer. It would form a hardened disc at the bottom of my cup. It broke up easy but was something I had not encountered before. From my experience using 100% beer accelerated the trace. It was mashed potatoish going into the mold. The top actually hardened quicker than the rest and the cracked. It didn’t volcano, but it did force me to cut off the top layer and mix it back into the still hot middle. The next day the soap came out of the loaf fine but was very soft. 2 weeks later it has definitely hardened some and still smells amazingly like the beer still! Currently on week 2 of curing.

4th CP batch was a week ago. Wife is pregnant and has to limit her coffee intake so I wanted to do a coffee bar for her in the ams. I soaked coffee grounds in sunflower oil 3 days prior. This batch was 16oz CO, 8oz OO, and 6oz SunO (counting the coffee grounds that was soaking as well.) I also put .25oz Vanilla Absolute. If flowed wonderfully into the mold and had setup 12hrs later. It cut into great looking and smelling bars. Coffee has faded definitely but vanilla is still present. The aromas mix well imo! Currently one 1 week of curing.

5th and 6th batches were done Sunday and I went Hot Process… man these were so different. Even after everything I read I was (and still am) not sure if I did everything just right.

For this one I wanted to make something toddler friendly so I searched the web and found a nice castile soap recipe. I went with a 90% Olive Oil and 10% CO recipe. From my books and searching I know true castile is 100% OO but anything above 80% seems to carry the castile label. With my crockpot that I purchased for this there is a lot of surface area being cooked at once so I expected my batch to neutralize in around an hour and a half. It was actually neutral and vasoline like in a little over an hour. I had bought dinosaur silicone mold along with a few animal and small bar silicone molds. Mistake #1 was not trying to get the soap into the mold quicker. I slathered some into a dino mold and by the time I got my next spatula full of soap over it had already decided to harden up on. It didn’t fully harden but it was now pulling away from the mold every pass of the spatula. After about 30 mins of fussing, saying words I usually only use when working on cars, and fighting I had all the molds filled. I finally just said to heck with it and slathered a lot of soap into the mold filling it up to the edges of the silicone. My game plan was to simply cut them out into the shapes with an exacto knife after they came out of the mold. They were solid enough to pop out today with minimal hassle. I just am not “impressed” with the visual appearance of these. The molds were great I just find it hard to see how I can get the detail these molds present to appear in HP soap. Any tips on this (aside from banging it on the table it is silicone after all?.?.) I have a feeling this recipe would be ideal in a loaf setting. I think this type of soap might have issues taking to a detailed mold very well. Possibly might try this CP to have a more "pourable" mixture.

Last batch was another beer soap using an NC native Amber Ale. Same ratios used as the Saison beer soap. Again it sat 3 days to go flat and I encountered the same issues with the lye clumping and solidifying as I did previously. Again crushing it up worked fine. This thing separated in the crockpot in about 15 mins, came back together and was thick mashed potato in about 30 mins. It was vasoline stage in another 10 mins or so but was not neutral. This was my issue I believe. It took another 30 in the vasoline stage to go neutral. Even with the top on, it was drying out and I had a clumpy mess on my hands going into my 2lb silicone loaf mold. I struggled for about 20 mins trying to form this into a load but I could still see some pockets through the mold. I covered it to try and apply some pressure overnight to get rid of as much air as I could. This am it fell right out of the mold. The top and bottom were fairly crumbly. I said what the heck and started cutting. Crumbling stopped and I have some fairly decent bars. Still a few misshapen bottoms due to air pockets but nothing I cant trim if it bothered me that bad. I took a sample bar and used it this am. Smells very similar to the Saison bars but I added some paprika to try and redden it up to minimal avail. I think it was just to clumpy to disperse evenly.

I am pondering rebatching this to try and get a smoother loaf out of it. I ended up with over a solo cup of crumbles just from the beer soap bar this am.

I am definitely enjoying the thought process through all of this. I love the science in this sort of thing which is why I am into brewing beer too! I am hoping to get some pics up soon for these as well! Thanks for listening to all of this for those that made it this far!!!
 

kc1ble

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You have been busy and congrats on your new addiction. We sure would like to see some pictures of your creations. I'm fairly new and have five batches under my belt, two of which are shaving soaps done with hp, the others were cp. I am planning on using beer and now I know what to expect. Plenty of more experienced members can probably explain your problems with the hp, good luck and have fun.
 

cmzaha

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I admit I did not read all the above posting, so I will just mention to please not use handmade soap on baby. A quality Melt and Pour is even better for toddlers. I only assumed you were making soap for the toddlers with the mention of a dino mold. We never allowed my granddaughters to use handmade soap.
 

BrewLou

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I admit I did not read all the above posting, so I will just mention to please not use handmade soap on baby. A quality Melt and Pour is even better for toddlers. I only assumed you were making soap for the toddlers with the mention of a dino mold. We never allowed my granddaughters to use handmade soap.
I have updated my initial post for clarity. It was made with children in mind yes. There were several toddler bar recipes online. We never used any soap with our 1st child until he was about 1. Now with hours outside in the mud and playing with the dog yield one insanely dirty almost 3yr old. These are 90% olive oil which from what I found should be about as gentle as can be made for that age group.

I know I should take most things on the internet with a grain of salt, but I figured since there are multiple castile soap recipes online that say for use in infants it should be as gentle as feasibly possible? Incorrect train of thought?
 
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snappyllama

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I'll echo Carolyn that CP isn't good to use on delicate baby skin. You're better off with gentle sydnets. I'd recommend talking to your pediatrician for their thoughts on the best ones.

For your beer/lye clump forming: Did you dump in your lye all at once? If so, the sugars in your beer probably lumped together around the lye crystals (at least I think that's what is happening). Next time, try adding in just a bit of lye then stirring until fully dissolved and then adding in a bit more - repeating until it's gone.

Did you strain your lye solution after breaking up your lye clumps? I'm wondering if you ended up with some undissolved lye crystals causing it to zap past when I would expect it to.. hrmn. I don't HP all that often so hopefully someone will come along with more knowledge.
 

BrewLou

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I'll echo Carolyn that CP isn't good to use on delicate baby skin. You're better off with gentle sydnets. I'd recommend talking to your pediatrician for their thoughts on the best ones.

For your beer/lye clump forming: Did you dump in your lye all at once? If so, the sugars in your beer probably lumped together around the lye crystals (at least I think that's what is happening). Next time, try adding in just a bit of lye then stirring until fully dissolved and then adding in a bit more - repeating until it's gone.

Did you strain your lye solution after breaking up your lye clumps? I'm wondering if you ended up with some undissolved lye crystals causing it to zap past when I would expect it to.. hrmn. I don't HP all that often so hopefully someone will come along with more knowledge.

I added some clarity to my initial posts. The soap will be for the toddler, not the infant. We didnt use any soap on our 1st until he was basically 1, and we still use baby soap on him at the moment. This castile soap was made to try and transition him into actual soap.

The lye was added in small increments. The 1st CP beer soap was in 5 increments and it started doing this around the 3rd addition. It actually foamed up on the 4th addition as well, but I chalked that up to possibly to much at once. I broke the HP beer soap up into 7 parts and it started falling out at the 2nd addition. This attempt I was able to avoid foaming though.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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100% olive (which is actually a Castile - other soaps with high olive are referred to as Bastile here) would be even better than 90% olive.
 

Susie

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Hey and welcome!

If you could post your questions, it would help.

You will not get a smoother soap from a rebatch, ever. It will be more rustic than the first.

Your bastile (not quite castile, but close) soap will take at least 5 or 6 months to cure.

Did you run all of your recipes through a reliable lye calculator? Did you do any research online before starting, such as how to properly scent soap, and what HP soap will look like? Also, you do know that you must cure even HP soap for 4-8 weeks?
 

RobertBarnett

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Don't use handmade soap on children under 5 years, it isn't good for their skin, this according to my children's Doctor. Also no essential oils until age 10 they can poison a child and cause organ damage, this also according to their doctor. If you are going to use essential oils on adults be careful too much of some of them can cause problems. For example peppermint for pregnant woman can in extremely cases cause a miscarriage. Now this s in extreme cases, but that was a warning from my wife's obgyn. So be careful with them.

Well that is my 2 cents to add to your soapy adventure. Have fun and enjoy. Btw if you ever do a beer soap, you need to not only let it go flat, you need to boil off the alcohol too. Simmer for two hours and you will need more than the recipe calls for because of evaporation.

Robert
 

BrewLou

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All six bars in order.


This is the "drying" issue I am confused on. Is HP soap supposed to have this crumbly type texture around the edges? Is this the "rustic" appearance? It should be obvious but top bar is CP bottom bar is HP.



Finally another shot of CP on each end and HP in the middle. Bad lighting this am sorry.



Is there anyway to fix the rough edges on the HP or is that just the nature of the beast?.
100% olive (which is actually a Castile - other soaps with high olive are referred to as Bastile here) would be even better than 90% olive.

Thanks for the info!

Hey and welcome!
Did you run all of your recipes through a reliable lye calculator? Did you do any research online before starting, such as how to properly scent soap, and what HP soap will look like? Also, you do know that you must cure even HP soap for 4-8 weeks?
Thanks and Yes, Yes, Yes (although "rustic" leaves a lot to the imagination), and Yes. I did not do HP to speed up curing. I did HP to have bars I could use that would be pH adequate...

Don't use handmade soap on children under 5 years, it isn't good for their skin, this according to my children's Doctor. Also no essential oils until age 10 they can poison a child and cause organ damage, this also according to their doctor. If you are going to use essential oils on adults be careful too much of some of them can cause problems. For example peppermint for pregnant woman can in extremely cases cause a miscarriage. Now this s in extreme cases, but that was a warning from my wife's obgyn. So be careful with them.
Well that is my 2 cents to add to your soapy adventure. Have fun and enjoy. Btw if you ever do a beer soap, you need to not only let it go flat, you need to boil off the alcohol too. Simmer for two hours and you will need more than the recipe calls for because of evaporation.
Robert
Thanks, but I am not into dabbling with essential oils yet. FO are about it atm. I will do some more hunting on beer soaps too. I found several sites that were really only concerned about the CO2 being an issue with Lye. Lye bubble = NO! Alcohol boils at ~173ish if memory serves, the Lye isnt going to get beer that hot. I have yet to hit above 155 since I am using beer that has been in the fridge for over 3 days. Any info on the concern with the alcohol?
 
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Navaria

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They look great! Those rough edges are the "rustic" look everyone talks about lol. You can plane the sides and bevel the edges (and lose soap in the process), or you can embrace the rustic look and work it to your advantage :)
 

BrewLou

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I see now! Rustic, crumbly, potato, potahto :) !

My only concern I guess at this point with HP is simply loss. I had over a solo cup full of crumbles from cutting just this batch. Easily a bar in itself if not more. I guess I can save these crumbles up over time and possibly do like a big rebatch of leftovers? Make some type of "mutt" soap lol.

Well I am glad it isnt something I did horribly wrong then. I can adapt and work around/with that then now that I know.

I have a feeling I will keep my dino/animal/car molds to CP only and use HP to fill my 6lb wooden loaf mold that I built over the weekend.
 

earlene

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Alcohol boils at ~173ish if memory serves, the Lye isnt going to get beer that hot. I have yet to hit above 155 since I am using beer that has been in the fridge for over 3 days. Any info on the concern with the alcohol?
Actually it does get beer hot enough to boil. I have had the beer/lye solution get that hot. And yes, it was flat beer and refrigerated, but not in the freezer. But then not all refrigerators are equal in their coldness, so that could have been a factor.

I also believe constant stirring during the entire process of creating your lye solution is an absolute necessity when making lye solution with any substance that can add to the over heating thereof. And once you leave it to sit, and you find it solidified in the bottom, stirring it up again completely AND pouring it through a sieve is very important. You can end up with lye rocks in your soap otherwise. Unfortunately I have done it and it is no fun finding those is your soap as you are cutting into it!

In any case, great job on your soaps.

Regarding HP and making it more fluid, yes you can manage that. By adding in some milks or yogurt (I prefer yogurt, but use milk if I don't have yogurt in the 'fridge) a bit before you are ready to put into the mold, then stirring it in thoroughly, you can loosen up the HP batter enough to get it into the mold a little easier.

The same is true of rebatching soap. By adding some yogurt at the end, stirring it well and then putting it into the mold it is more fluid and easier to put into the mold. See this picture below of CP vs HP moldability comparison photo I took a few days ago. The 2 soaps on the left were done CP, the one on the right was done as a rebatch with milk & yogurt added. Two were molded in the same shape individual molds. The rebatch was a lot softer than it should have been when I took it out of the mold, though, so it doesn't look as nice.



But here are some more that came from the same pot and I left them in the molds for several days (5, I think) and they look a lot better than the one taken out at day 2:



My point is that you can get a smoother pour with HP and rebatch than you might expect, but be prepared for a longer time in the mold to harden up sufficiently and a longer drying time.
 
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earlene

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4th CP batch was a week ago. Wife is pregnant and has to limit her coffee intake so I wanted to do a coffee bar for her in the ams. I soaked coffee grounds in sunflower oil 3 days prior. This batch was 16oz CO, 8oz OO, and 6oz SunO (counting the coffee grounds that was soaking as well.) I also put .25oz Vanilla Absolute. If flowed wonderfully into the mold and had setup 12hrs later. It cut into great looking and smelling bars. Coffee has faded definitely but vanilla is still present. The aromas mix well imo! Currently one 1 week of curing.
In my experience neither coffee (as the lye solution liquid) nor coffee grounds (as an exfoliative additive) will lend any long-term (barely even short term) fragrance to soap. You need to use fragrance oils or EOs for that, and a lot more than I normally like to use. Coffee grounds are used in kitchen soap to help eliminate odors, so it stands to reason that it would also absorb whatever fragrance you add to the soap. Coffee soap is my husband's favorite, but getting that perfect long lasting coffee fragrance is still a goal I have not reached.

The top and bottom were fairly crumbly. I said what the heck and started cutting. Crumbling stopped and I have some fairly decent bars. Still a few misshapen bottoms due to air pockets but nothing I cant trim if it bothered me that bad. I took a sample bar and used it this am. Smells very similar to the Saison bars but I added some paprika to try and redden it up to minimal avail. I think it was just to clumpy to disperse evenly.

I am pondering rebatching this to try and get a smoother loaf out of it. I ended up with over a solo cup of crumbles just from the beer soap bar this am.
I would suggest you zap test or PH test or use Phenolphthalein (if you have it) the crumbles in the solo cup as well as other random areas of the batch. Sometimes crumbly soap can mean lye heavy. Not always, but just to be on the safe side. If any part of it is lye heavy and other parts are not, then the soap is not safe to use.

~ ~ ~
Regarding cure time, just in case you haven't already found this information in your research:

To determine when the soap is finished curing, weigh a bar from each batch weekly, using grams. Record the weights for each respective bar per batch. When the bar has not lost any weight for two consecutive weeks, it is done curing. http://bunni.com/what-is-the-curing-time-of-your-soap/
 

BrewLou

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Actually it does get beer hot enough to boil. I have had the beer/lye solution get that hot. And yes, it was flat beer and refrigerated, but not in the freezer. But then not all refrigerators are equal in their coldness, so that could have been a factor.

I also believe constant stirring during the entire process of creating your lye solution is an absolute necessity when making lye solution with any substance that can add to the over heating thereof. And once you leave it to sit, and you find it solidified in the bottom, stirring it up again completely AND pouring it through a sieve is very important. You can end up with lye rocks in your soap otherwise. Unfortunately I have done it and it is no fun finding those is your soap as you are cutting into it!

In any case, great job on your soaps.

Regarding HP and making it more fluid, yes you can manage that. By adding in some milks or yogurt (I prefer yogurt, but use milk if I don't have yogurt in the 'fridge) a bit before you are ready to put into the mold, then stirring it in thoroughly, you can loosen up the HP batter enough to get it into the mold a little easier.

The same is true of rebatching soap. By adding some yogurt at the end, stirring it well and then putting it into the mold it is more fluid and easier to put into the mold. See this picture below of CP vs HP moldability comparison photo I took a few days ago. The 2 soaps on the left were done CP, the one on the right was done as a rebatch with milk & yogurt added. Two were molded in the same shape individual molds. The rebatch was a lot softer than it should have been when I took it out of the mold, though, so it doesn't look as nice.

But here are some more that came from the same pot and I left them in the molds for several days (5, I think) and they look a lot better than the one taken out at day 2:

My point is that you can get a smoother pour with HP and rebatch than you might expect, but be prepared for a longer time in the mold to harden up sufficiently and a longer drying time.
WOW, very nice! I took some pics of the dino molds from my HP attempt and yeah I am not even going to post those lol. You can tell 50% of them are dinosaurs but there was an egg mold, a trex head mold, and a fossil in a rock mold, all ended up looking like just a small blob of soap. I think I stumbled across a thread of yours about adding yogurt to HP before molding, it is saved for me to read later tonight. Thanks for chiming in!

I was constantly stirring my beer/lye combo and it just seemed to crystalize the second it hit the beer on the 2nd addition. It was easily broken up with the spatula though with just a little more time and effort. I went through that solution like crazy to avoid the situation you spoke of. Last thing I wanted was to cut through it and find a rock of lye!

Curing time aside I took a sample bar into the shower this am of the HP beer soap. I knew the pH was fine (I tested it before molding) so I wanted to see how it would fair after about 36hrs. I have to say it lathered up very nicely and rinsed off well. No over drying or anything like that. I prefer a bit of a drying bar due to my skin type and this has done rather well so far!
 

BrewLou

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I would suggest you zap test or PH test or use Phenolphthalein (if you have it) the crumbles in the solo cup as well as other random areas of the batch. Sometimes crumbly soap can mean lye heavy. Not always, but just to be on the safe side. If any part of it is lye heavy and other parts are not, then the soap is not safe to use.[/URL]
I probably look crazy when the wife looks in at me. I am zap testing sample bars every few days for the CP stuff I have curing just to learn how it goes over time. I honestly did not try zap testing the crumbles, I chalked it up to how long it was in the pot for and was just a bit over dried when it went in the mold. I will check a few of the larger crumbles tonight to see, but the bulk has been fine!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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And zap testing is more effective than trying to measure the pH with drops or strips - if you're not getting zapped, it's not lye heavy. The actual pH is not important for soap making.
 

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