My first attempt...need debriefing

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

kmkieva

Active Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2015
Messages
29
Reaction score
6
I had an unexpected day off today and decided it was time to stop reading and start doing. I found a simple beginner's recipe in "Smart Soapmaking, the "All Veggie Grocery Store Soap #1, containing just olive oil, coconut oil, water, and lye. I decided to include Sweet Almond Oil as the superfat. I used SoapCalc to resize the recipe for my mold size, and then recalculated when I discovered I didn't have quite enough olive oil, so I bumped up the coconut oil to compensate:

20.8 oz olive oil
11.5 coconut oil
1.7 oz sweet almond oil
12.9 oz distilled water
4.8 oz lye

A total of 34 oz of oils. So far, so good. Mixed the liquid oils, melted the coconut, added to liquid, temp at about 100 deg F. Mixed lye, put the pot into a roaster with cold water, added ice cubes to water, dropped a couple in the lye. Took them out...yes, with gloved hands. Muscles kicked in before my brain did.

Temp of lye about 95 deg F. Mixed lye with oils, stirred for a few minutes with spatula, then with stick blender. Bubbles on outer edges. Blended for about 15 min when it reached trace....meaning, the mixture stayed on the surface when it dripped off spatula. Start pouring into mold. Mixture looks lumpy, like homemade gravy. Temp at 130 deg F.

Do the lumps ring any bells? Like, does that mean for sure that I did something wrong? I'll check it when it's hard enough, cut it apart, etc. But I don't expect great results.

I'm glad I finally took the jump, but I can see it's going to take some time to get the process down. Also, the lye "jumped" out of the container when I first opened it. I scrubbed the kitchen down, but I worry I may have missed something. I had a drop cloth covering the counter and floor, but still.

Any thoughts and/or advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
Last edited:

MrsSpaceship

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2015
Messages
259
Reaction score
175
Location
Somewhere West of the Rockies
The first time I made soap I had lye beads drift over my counter, I ended up just putting vinegar in a spray bottle and spraying the whole area.
I've noticed that my first batches I had a tendency to want and shake my lye container, I think I i liked the swoosh sound of the beads, or maybe it gives me an idea on volume. Whatever, it causes the static to built up and the beads jump around like mad and then want to crawl the sides of my measuring container.
To combat this, I stopped shaking, and wipe down the lye container and the measuring cup with a dryer sheet. This allows the lye to pour cleanly out with only a few stray beads clinging stubbornly to the edges. I actually forgot to do this on my last batch, and ended up with lye coating the sides of my measuring cup. :???:
 

Arimara

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
3,435
Reaction score
2,546
Good idea about the dryer sheet. Would a coffee filter work the same way?

OP- I don't recall having a lumpy CP mixtures (I made 3 so far). I only had lumps, per se, with my HP soap and that was expected. If we go by temps, what temp was your oils? I have had good luck so far with both my lye solution and my oils being between 95F and 110F.
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,291
Reaction score
11,093
Location
Right here, silly!
Welcome Kmkieva! :wave:

Ditto Mrs. Spaceship regarding the flying lye. I always wipe the outside of my container down with a dryer sheet before opening, too. One wouldn't think it would work, but it really does.


Glad to see that you recalculated when you added in more coconut oil (very important). :thumbup:

As for the superfat- your almond oil actually won't be the oil that remains unsaponified, I'm afraid. Dr Kevin Dunn has conducted lab experiments with superfatting at trace in CP, and it turns out that the superfatting theory was a bust and nothing more than wishful thinking. The lye is still about 80% to 90% active at trace and will bond with whatever fatty acids it desires. In the end, the fatty acids that remain as the superfat are just a mix bag of all the oils that went into making the soap, regardless of when they were added. If you HP and add an oil after the cook when the soap batter is zapless, the chances are definitely better, but there are ongoing debates as to how much better.

Did I read you correctly? Did you stick-blend for a whole 15 minutes, or did you just mean that you blended intermittently on and off for 15 minutes? If it was continuous, I just wanted to mention that it's much better if you use the stick-blender intermittently.

As for the lumps, I've had certain of my batches lump up when pouring (due to the fragrance oil), but they turned out fine. Let us know how things turn out!


Arimara said:
Would a coffee filter work the same way?
No- I'm afraid not. The anti-static components in the dryer sheets are the magic ingredient that makes them stand apart from other materials in reducing static.



IrishLass :)
 

Dharlee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2015
Messages
163
Reaction score
53
I use the chip form of lye just because I read that the beads are static-y I was worried about them flying around or sticking to me so thought it was better that way. I sure could be wrong though, that's all I have ever used. As to lumps, the only time I have ever seen them was when I had a soap that accelerated trace super fast and it seemed to get thick so darn fast. It wasn't so much lumps as just thickening I think as it turned out alright in the end.
 

notapantsday

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
89
Reaction score
83
Location
Berlin, Germany
A little dash of fabric softener on a paper towel should work just as well as a dryer sheet in this case, but I haven't personally tried it. Somehow I don't have that problem with static electricity.
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
10,328
Reaction score
8,161
Location
Idaho, USA
Sounds like you blended to a thick trace, when you do that the soap can start to set up in the bowl making lumps when you pour. It doesn't hurt the soap at all.
 

penelopejane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
Messages
5,460
Reaction score
4,251
Location
Sth Coast, NSW, Australia
I mix the lye first. This gives it a little more time to cool while I organise everything else. But your ice method probably worked as well to bring the temperature down.
 

MrsSpaceship

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2015
Messages
259
Reaction score
175
Location
Somewhere West of the Rockies
Good idea about the dryer sheet. Would a coffee filter work the same way?

OP- I don't recall having a lumpy CP mixtures (I made 3 so far). I only had lumps, per se, with my HP soap and that was expected. If we go by temps, what temp was your oils? I have had good luck so far with both my lye solution and my oils being between 95F and 110F.
A coffee filter would probably compound the issue. the waxy coating on the dryer sheet is what actually does the trick, not the material portion itself.
 

Wildcraft_Garden

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2015
Messages
138
Reaction score
95
Location
Alberta, Canada
I've had some lumps in the past, especially in the bottom of the bowl if I've been mixing other colours. I've always been able to stick blend them out.

The high amount of olive oil is likely why you had to stick blend so long.

Welcome to soapmaking!
 

TwystedPryncess

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
226
Location
Texarkana, Texas
Hello and welcome!

Sounds like the lumps are a trace thing, which you will learn to manipulate through trial and error. Actually seeing your batches trace helps, after you have been reading for ages. You will eventually learn how and why to work with thin and thick traces, and even welcome lumpy batter. Or, curse it, depending on the creative outcome in mind.
 
Top