my lye solution hardened

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aspekt.skin

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I used soapcalcc to make a coconut milk soap recipe about a week ago. I used canned (Thai Kitchen) coconut milk as 100% water substitute. The lye solution got to about 109°F because I froze all the milk into cubes. As I was mixing the the lye and the milk it turned almost gel like and then it hardened before I got it into my oils. I broke up the the lye solution (it was probably the consistency of a semi-hard coconut oil) and blended it into my oils. It blended fine but traced very rapidly and I ended up having to scoop the soap into the molds. I've done the "zap" test and tested the ph (9.5) so I dont believe it's lye heavy and unsafe for use. But I would like to know what happened. Has anyone else had their lye/coconut milk solution turn hard like that? Is it because it's a full-fat coconut milk (12g in the can and I used half a can) that it did that to me? I'm assuming it was just the fats saponifying and everything is okay. But, just wanted your opinions on this.
 
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It sounds like that's what may have happened. I don't mix my lye with coconut milk - instead I use the split method (splitting my water quantity into 1/2 water and 1/2 coconut cream), and add the coconut cream to the oils, using the water to dissolve the lye.
What was your lye concentration? I'm guessing the higher it is, the more likely it would thicken the coconut cream too.
 

TheGecko

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I used soapcalcc to make a coconut milk soap recipe about a week ago. I used canned (Thai Kitchen) coconut milk as 100% water substitute. The lye solution got to about 109°F because I froze all the milk into cubes. As I was mixing the the lye and the milk it turned almost gel like and then it hardened before I got it into my oils. I broke up the the lye solution (it was probably the consistency of a semi-hard coconut oil) and blended it into my oils. It blended fine but traced very rapidly and I ended up having to scoop the soap into the molds. I've done the "zap" test and tested the ph (9.5) so I dont believe it's lye heavy and unsafe for use. But I would like to know what happened. Has anyone else had their lye/coconut milk solution turn hard like that? Is it because it's a full-fat coconut milk (12g in the can and I used half a can) that it did that to me? I'm assuming it was just the fats saponifying and everything is okay. But, just wanted your opinions on this.
That's going to happen because of the fat content. I make Goat Milk Soap with 100% goat milk. Because of the time it takes to make my Lye Solution so that I don't scorch the milk, all that Sodium Hydroxide is concentrated on the fat and starts the saponification process and I end up with a thick slurry. Not a big deal, I just give it a quick whiz with my stick blender then pour into my oils/FO and whiz to a medium trace and pour.

It's kind of like blooming your yeast instead of just adding it dry...speeds up the process a bit.
 

aspekt.skin

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It sounds like that's what may have happened. I don't mix my lye with coconut milk - instead I use the split method (splitting my water quantity into 1/2 water and 1/2 coconut cream), and add the coconut cream to the oils, using the water to dissolve the lye.
What was your lye concentration? I'm guessing the higher it is, the more likely it would thicken the coconut cream too.

Lye Concentration (from soap calc) was 30.306%. Oh, looking at it now, I may have done a water discount on this recipe before I decided to use the coconut milk because my water : lye ratio is sitting at only 2.3:1.


Also, I shall try your method of mixing the the lye with the water portion and adding the coconut milk portion to the oils. I've been making soap for about 3yrs and I've never tried it that way.

That's going to happen because of the fat content. I make Goat Milk Soap with 100% goat milk. Because of the time it takes to make my Lye Solution so that I don't scorch the milk, all that Sodium Hydroxide is concentrated on the fat and starts the saponification process and I end up with a thick slurry. Not a big deal, I just give it a quick whiz with my stick blender then pour into my oils/FO and whiz to a medium trace and pour.

It's kind of like blooming your yeast instead of just adding it dry...speeds up the process a bit.
Thank you!
 
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