MyDeer Tallow Soaping Experiment

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hollyw13

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Hello! I've just joined this forum in search of more info on using deer tallow to make soap. I've never made soap before last week, but I enjoy hunting and actually googled more ways to use deer products (aside from the venison). I was very excited to see that you could use the tallow!

No deer for me YET this year, but I have a friend who processes and gave me all his fat. So, back to Google to find my recipe. I found a very helpful series of videos on YouTube by "SpaeWyfe" called "Making Deer Tallow Soap". I watched all 4 parts and took notes. I followed her process exactly.
Here's the simple recipe as taken from the video:

1000g Tallow
2Tbs Olive Oil

150g Lye
1c water


In short, I added the olive oil to the melted tallow and then combined the fat with the lye solution when both were approximately 120deg F.

Everything went according to plan. I used plastic molds (extra take-out food type). I set the molds on and also covered with towels to cure overnight, as instructed. The next day, cut it into chunks and set it on cooling racks to cure. She said that cutting into chunks helps it cure faster, as more air can get to it. Makes sense. When I tried to cut it, the cut would start nice, but then would sort of just break off in rough chunks, and a lot of small crumbly pieces would break off. I poured my molds last Wed night, and cut it into chunks on Thurs night.

I should add that I made 2 separate batches back to back. I added lavender essential oil to the 2nd batch at trace. Both batches came out identical though (other than the scent).

I'm sure it'll be usable in some sort, but I was hoping to make some bars to give as gifts, but I don't think I'll be able to get a decent "bar" with what I've got. I've read some info on re-melting, but would like to gather as much info as I can before I consider it. In the YouTube series, she actually made the soap unscented, and then did a remelt after full cure to add in her extras, as to not interfere with the first cure process. This is actually why I made the 2 batches back to back. The 1st was unscented, and the 2nd I added the lavender oil at trace, as I had read was common also. I wanted to see how they compared, but they appear to be exactly the same.

I was hoping to see if anyone had any thoughts as to why it might be so crumbly, and if there might be anything I could do either to these 2 crumbly batches, or to the next fresh batch. I tried to message SpaeWyfe on her Facebook page, but it looks as though it's been years since she's used it.
I just saw another deer tallow soap recipe posted here, and it sounds wonderful!

Thank you so much! This has been quite the experiment and learning process!

Holly
I'll try to attach some photos of the process. The rendering was GROSS!
I don't actually have any of the cuts, just the molds.

The pour.
 
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Steve85569

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Rendering should be done outdoors!
But you already know that and why now.
Nice looking first batch of soap too and welcome.

There are lots of much more experienced and knowledgeable soapers here than I so hang on for a learning experience.
 

Pilar

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sorry what is :1c water? centiliter?
I think that soap is very good. Long ago, sops were made with fats
 

houseofwool

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When making soap, it is best to measure all of your ingredients by weight. I prefer grams.

It provides more consistent results.

Then you need to use a lye calculator to determine the amount of lye to use. Based on your recipe, I'm concerned that there is too much lye.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1448941261.040323.jpg

Have you zap tested it?
 

DeeAnna

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For 1000 g tallow, you should be using no more than 140 g of lye. Did you run this recipe through a soap recipe calculator? If not, then here's my advice -- never, never, NEVER use someone's recipe without running it through a soap recipe calc to make sure the lye amount is correct. Even the best of soapers make mistakes.

Learn to zap test, so you can confirm whether a soap is lye heavy or not. If it is, give it a good long time to cure -- I'd suggest 6-8 weeks -- and that will help eliminate a small lye excess like this.

Also, a 100% tallow soap is going to be a firm soap, so you will need to pay attention to unmolding it and cutting it when it's still pliable. There is no black-and-white answer about when it's right to cut a soap. You just have to learn from experience when a soap is at the right firmness to cut.

If you used a knife to cut, that also may be why your soap shattered. The wedging action of the blade will break a hard soap apart. Next time, consider using a wire cheese cutter or a knife with as thin a blade as you can find.
 

hollyw13

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Neat calculator! Thanks. I'm trying to read some of you inputs, but it's blurred when I zoom. I tried it too, but I took out the fragrance. Looks like our water:lye ratios are off. I used 1.5772:1. I'm hoping I did that right. 150 grams lye to 1 cup water.
For 1000 g tallow, you should be using no more than 140 g of lye. Did you run this recipe through a soap recipe calculator? If not, then here's my advice -- never, never, NEVER use someone's recipe without running it through a soap recipe calc to make sure the lye amount is correct. Even the best of soapers make mistakes.
No calculator used first. I honestly never even dreamt of making soap until I was looking into how to use more of the deer! I simply googled it and found the YouTube series and thought, "cool, I'll try that!" So I just followed it word for word! Lesson learned! The calculator is great. Thanks.

Learn to zap test, so you can confirm whether a soap is lye heavy or not. If it is, give it a good long time to cure -- I'd suggest 6-8 weeks -- and that will help eliminate a small lye excess like this.
Will do.

Also, a 100% tallow soap is going to be a firm soap, so you will need to pay attention to unmolding it and cutting it when it's still pliable. There is no black-and-white answer about when it's right to cut a soap. You just have to learn from experience when a soap is at the right firmness to cut.

If you used a knife to cut, that also may be why your soap shattered. The wedging action of the blade will break a hard soap apart. Next time, consider using a wire cheese cutter or a knife with as thin a blade as you can find.
Got it. I did use a knife, and the "wedging" is exactly what's going on. I should've known better.
Any advise on possible rebatch? If you think that's an option, can you recommend a good resource of instruction? If I did it, I was going to use my trusty YouTube link, but I'm doubting now!
I'm assuming you let the initial batch cure to full term (sounds like a pregnancy!), and then re-melt?

Thank you
 
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Steve85569

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If you choose to rebatch you should do so as soon as practical.
Read the threads here about rebatching first. Much knowledge can be found quickly here.

I use the soapcalc that a batch sheet is posted from earlier in this thread soapcalc.net should get you there. If the link hangs go to the " how to use soapcalc" thread and find the link there. http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=49627
Again so much information in one place.

I am new here too and learning as fast as I can absorb information!
 

hollyw13

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Did the zap test after work, and yup, it zaps! I poured it almost a week ago!
 

Yooper

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I have posted some deer tallow recipes on this forum- not 100% tallow I don't think, but some that are mostly tallow.

I use deer tallow, lard, and now lamb fat (is it tallow also?), as well as beef tallow since we believe in using the whole animal when we butcher an animal.

The lamb fat is quite abundant! It's more than I get off of a deer (which are pretty lean) and even a cow.

Lard and tallow make wonderful rich creamy soaps, and I highly recommend them!

Here's one, as an example: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=55749
 
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