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New Recipe Too Brittle

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McBaffie

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Hi all
This is my first post to the forum. I've been making soap for a wee while now, about 30 batches, and mostly with success. I have run into this problem with my last batch though, and it was to my own recipe so I'm not sure whether the problem is in the process or the recipe. Maybe somebody could help shed some light....

This was the recipe:

370gm Olive Oil
201gm Rapeseed Oil
192gm Coconut Oil
50gm Mango Butter
30gm Castor Oil

278gm Liquid (I use liquidized spinach, gives a great colour)
117.5gm Lye (maybe worth mentioning that the lye is a different make than usual?)

I also added around 3ml clove oil and 5 ml patchouli at trace.

After trace the soap began to set up pretty quickly. It didn't gel and was set and cooling within just a few hours. When I unmoulded it it was extremely hard already. I went to cut it the next day and it is impossible to cut. A wire won't get into it and a knife shatters it.

I tried the soap on my hands and it has an excellent rich lather and smells great.

I've been reading about reasons for brittle soap and think that it may be either lye heavy or just the recipe. I did design the recipe to be hard so maybe I've overdone it? I tried zapping the soap on my tongue and it did have quite a zing. I've ordered some ph strips but they won't be here until next week. I've already grated the soap ready for rebatch.

In the meantime, anybody got any ideas?
 

cgpeanut

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What was your lye discount? At 5% on soap Cal I get 115 g lye.
 

kchaystack

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First cancel the pH strips. They are worthless with soap. Second, how long did you wait to take it out of the mold and cut?

Running it through soapcalc that is the right amount of lye. So give it a few days, zap test it again.

I think you waited too long to cut. Also I am not sure why you think this would be a hard bar. Your hard oils are less than 30% of the batch and your hardness number in soapcalc is at the low end.
 

Seawolfe

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I hear clove EO accelerates like crazy, perhaps you cut it too late? Try cutting with a hot knife and leaving it to cure for a bit to see if the zappity goes away.
 

Dorymae

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Try heating your oven to 200 degrees F. Put the soap in for 6-8 mins. Take out and cut immediately. This may help to save your soap.

If it is still too hard 5-6 mins more. Rinse and repeat.
 

McBaffie

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Wow. Thanks all for the quick responses.
From reading them I guess I just waited too long. I'd never had a soap set so quick but my head was still in "wait until tomorrow" mode. Seems obvious now...
The soap got pretty broke up when trying to cut it so it's too late to try and heat it. Shame as that makes sense and would maybe have saved it. I'll know next time, thanks.
I grated up the soap and will go for a rebatch if you guys all seem to think the recipe is ok. This time I'll keep an eye on it and cut it as soon as it's ready. I wonder if it will set as quick again?
Thanks again for all your replies.
 

Obsidian

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Looks like a fine recipe, go ahead and rebatch. It shouldn't set up fast like that again but I would recommend cutting it as soon as its cool.
 

El_Granado_Loco

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It seems to me it 's probably the clove EO. I have soap setting up every time I am using it. Even in a small batch of 528g (which should make it harder to trace) and at a 0,4% of oils, it solidified like a stalactite at pouring! Haha..

The recipe itself shouldn't get that hard so soon, in my opinion.

Next time, apart from cutting sooner, try using more liquid and less clove to see what happens...

Still, it seems strange it gets shattered by the knife the next day. I am not familiar with mango butter but I do use cocoa and shea at higher percentages than yours, with clove it is harder to cut but it can be done. So, a stupid thought... You tried with a big kitchen knife I suppose..?
 

McBaffie

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Aye. Tried with my trusty knife and with wire. Just cooking it down now. I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

McBaffie

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Hi Guys. Just to let you all know. The rebatch ended up quite spongey. I've cut it and put it at the back of the rack to cure off. Will check it in a week or so. Thanks again for all our help.
 

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