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Oatmeal and honey soap...overheating fun and smell questions

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nsmar4211

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I'm attempting to make an oatmeal and honey soap (no FO or colorant) with a decent color. I'm on my fourth batch! First batch accidentally did a partial gel with no wrapping. Then I realized that instead of one tablespoon of honey and oatmeal each per pound of oils I did one TEAspoon of each. Basic math anyone? I blame the small print on the measuring spoon. Was surprised when the batter turned bright orange! I thought only milk soaps did that....it mellowed to tan after cooling but wow! Overall, batch was ok, just wanted more oatmeal and honey in it and an even color.

Second batch I got the tbl/tsp right and said ok, since it heats lets gel it all the way. So I wrapped it in a towel. Two hours later I checked it and ewwwww overheating anyone? Was a brown gelatin and had started rising (volcano?) in the middle. Unwrapped it, smooshed the top down, and left it. Realized later that to top things off I had put the lye in hotter than I did on the first batch because I mixed faster...

Third batch, let the lye cool more and put that puppy in the freezer for two hours and then the fridge overnight. No problems, nice color but not as dark. Fourth batch (this mornings) I poured too early in trace and ended up putting the stick blender right into the mold to finish it faster. It's in the freezer as we speak and will hopefuly be ok.

So, onto the smell question. The overheated batch I obviously mixed too hot and I did have a runny spot on top of about 1 inch of the bars (after cut) that seems to be reabsorbing. Other than that small area, the soap seems ok although its a dark brown color. The good thing is, it smells wonderful! Like toasted oatmeal honey (which I guess it is). I'm wondering if the smell will stay after cure? The unheated batches smell good too, but not as strong. And if its the gel that made the smell better, how on earth do you gel a honey soap without overheating it? Do you just uncover every 20 minutes?
 

green soap

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I reduce the initial temperature of the lye/oil mix because it will heat and gel all by itself, but if the batter temperature is as low as possible, you will get even gel and no volcano effect. At least this has been my experience.

One way I reduce the temperature is by dissolving the amount of honey I want into the water I will use for the soap. Then I put this mixture in ice cube holders and use them as frozen water honey ice cubes. I do this every time I make a honey soap. Adding the lye turns the mix orange, but the final color of the soap is tan.

I leave the loaf uncovered at room temperature.
 

not_ally

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I've seen the gell/scent retention question come up in the context of CPOPing, there the issue was the opposite, ie; people who think CPOPing - and forcing gel - causes *less* scent retention. It does seem like the general consensus is that it does not make that much of a difference, though.
 

IrishLass

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Whenever I make soap with honey, I actually mix my honey right into my fully cooled lye solution, but first, I mix the honey with a little of my plain water amount to get it to a nicely diluted state before adding to the solution. It heats up my fully cooled solution some and turns it bright orange and then almost black, and the smell is like toasted honey, but it never fizzes or sizzles or volcanoes anything like that....and my finished soap turns out a nice light to medium tan color, and smells pleasantly of yummy Bit 'O Honey candy bars, which eventually fades into nothingness over time, btw. To compensate for that 'scent fade', I like to add about .3 oz ppo of Peak's Wild Mountain Honey FO to my honey soaps.

If you click on the link provided below, you'll see the color of my latest honey batch that I made a few weeks ago, along with beeswax (which made the soap a little darker than normal). In any case, it's still the same color as it in the pic, and based on my experience, I don't expect it to get any darker.

The soap fully gelled with no over-heating issues, which has become the norm for me ever since I started making my honey soap this way. It's as if adding it to the lye water takes all the orneriness out of it. lol Before I started doing it this way, I used to get weeping honey that would eventually re-absorb, but then leave my soap with unsightly looking 'honey spots', but that is now a thing of the past.:

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=55689


IrishLass :)
 

nsmar4211

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Wow, I just learned a lot :). You all rock! Lowering the temperature is on the list. For some reason the "experimental" thread didn't come up on a search for "honey", or it was buried five pages back....search is weird! Printed that out, exactly what I need.

Looking at batch three and four, I can see it started to gel even in the freezer! That's impressive! But they're useable :).

The overheated batch still has one slice with a wet spot, I think I'm going to just cut that area off and keep that bar for me.... can't have too many samples!
 

BlackDog

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Whenever I make soap with honey, I actually mix my honey right into my fully cooled lye solution, but first, I mix the honey with a little of my plain water amount to get it to a nicely diluted state before adding to the solution. It heats up my fully cooled solution some and turns it bright orange and then almost black, and the smell is like toasted honey, but it never fizzes or sizzles or volcanoes anything like that....

IrishLass :)
pardon me nsmar for slightly hijacking your thread, but IrishLass, do you think if I tried this technique with milk, the heat would scorch it?
http://www.soapmakingforum.com//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 

IrishLass

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pardon me nsmar for slightly hijacking your thread, but IrishLass, do you think if I tried this technique with milk, the heat would scorch it?
Yes- the heat would scorch it because of the sugars in the milk. Also- keep in mind that milk also has fat in it, and that the lye will actually start to saponify the fat in the milk, causing the milk/lye solution to get thick and possibly lumpy. That is why I don't like mixing my lye with milk.

Having said that, though, I know that lots of people do mix their lye with milk with great success - they freeze the milk into cubes and then add the lye to the frozen milk cubes slowly over time, bit by bit so that the milk doesn't scorch, but I'm much too impatient with that method and really suck at it, so I do the 'split method' of milk soaping instead, which by the way never causes overheating in my soap, in spite of me gelling my soap.

If you do a search for 'split method' on the forum, you will come up with lots of hits, because many others besides myself do the split method with excellent results.

Basically, you split your liquid amount into part water and part milk. The lye gets mixed with the water part and the milk in fresh/refrigerated form gets mixed into the oils either before adding the lye/water solution, or just after (either way works well for me). That will give you a 50% milk soap. If you want to do a 100% milk soap, just fortify your milk with enough powdered milk to bring the concentration up to 100% for your batch and add that to the oils.


IrishLass :)
 

BlackDog

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Thanks, IrishLass. I've made several milks soaps using 100% milk with good success using the "ice cube" method and haven't encountered any issues with scorching. I just thought if I added the extra heating of the honey, it might burn the milk.

I've only done one batch with honey so far, where I added honey at trace (mixed with some olive oil from my recipe) but it didn't incorporate as well as I hoped and I ended up with honey spots in the finished soap.

Adding the honey with the milk would probably solve the integration problem, but I don't want to end up with scorched lye milk!
 
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