Only my second time attempting a batch. Can you identify the problem?

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Rogersda

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I'm hoping someone might recognize the problem with this batch and tell me if I can potentially save it. I used 18oz olive oil, 16oz coconut oil, and 5oz NaOH. The mixture was thickening up but still a little soupy. I may have botched it turning on low heat. It was a homogenous mixture, but almost instantly turned to granular with a layer of oil. Is there anything I can do? Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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DeeAnna

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How much water did you use in the batch?
Are you using a stick blender to mix the fat and lye solution together?
Are you making this soap with a hot process method or cold process method?

For safety's sake, please do not make lye solution or soap in glass containers.
 

dibbles

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Aside from what @DeeAnna said, did you add a fragrance oil? I have had my batter separate due to a naughty FO.
 

AliOop

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It looks like you are doing hot process since you have it on heat. I'd stick blend it until it is smooth.
 

TheGecko

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First things first...never...ever...never...use a glass pot or a glass bowl or a glass measuring cup to make soap or your lye solution in.

Second...you poured lye straight into the melted oils didn’t you? Sodium hydroxide needs to be dissolved in a water based liquid...like distilled water, goat milk, aloe vera, etc. It looks like the lye is trying to bind with your oils, but it can’t because it’s still in solid form.
 

AliOop

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...you poured lye straight into the melted oils didn’t you? Sodium hydroxide needs to be dissolved in a water based liquid...like distilled water, goat milk, aloe vera, etc. It looks like the lye is trying to bind with your oils, but it can’t because it’s still in solid form.
Good catch, Gecko. I just assumed there was water used, and that the mixture was looking "ricey," which happens with some frequency during HP. However, I reread the original post and see that no amount of water was mentioned. Yikes.
 

TheGecko

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Good catch, Gecko. I just assumed there was water used, and that the mixture was looking "ricey," which happens with some frequency during HP. However, I reread the original post and see that no amount of water was mentioned. Yikes.
I was thinking about how, unless I'm talking about my GMS recipe, I don't even mention how I make my "Lye Solution"...I just use "Lye Concentration" and percentages without a single mention of Distilled Water. It may seem like a no brainer/obvious to those of us who have experience in soap making, a lot of soap making videos don't even show that process and, again, while it may seem obvious to watch someone add in their "Lye Solution" or "Lye Water", the obvious can be missed when you have no experience or knowledge of the process. Of all the soap makers that I follow on YT, I think that Teri from Tree Marie is the only one that I have actually seen make her Lye Solution.
 

DeeAnna

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...you poured lye straight into the melted oils didn’t you?...
Could be that, true.

But it could also be that the OP used an abundance of water and no stick blender. The soap batter will have a riced look like this.

Until the OP clarifies this point, we're all just guessing.
 

Rogersda

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I'm replying from work right now, so I have to be short. But I did use a SOLUTION of lye (I believe I used 16 oz). My suspicion is that I overheated at the end out of impatience, or it was because I was simply hand-stirring with a wooden spoon? Do these sound like reasonable reasons? Also, no fragrance oils had yet been added. Thanks for all of the input so far.
 

DeeAnna

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16 oz water with 5 oz NaOH is a bit more water than I would choose -- that's a 23% lye concentration -- even for a hot process method. But you could probably have made that work okay in the long run.

I'm reasonably confident the soap didn't get overheated. although you didn't say how hot it did get. Soap that does overheat normally climbs out of the pot and makes a huge mess. I gather it stayed nicely where you had it, ergo it didn't overheat.

The real reason why you didn't get this batch turned into soap is (1) you were hand stirring (2) a 100% olive oil soap and (3) you lost patience and stopped way too soon. The granular look is just how curds of soap normally look in a hand-stirred soap. You were maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the way to home base at this point. Some recipes will require hours to thicken and "trace" if you are hand stirring. That's especially true for olive oil soaps which saponify slowly.

The solution? Get a stick blender and learn how to use it.
 
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Monab

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I'm hoping someone might recognize the problem with this batch and tell me if I can potentially save it. I used 18oz olive oil, 16oz coconut oil, and 5oz NaOH. The mixture was thickening up but still a little soupy. I may have botched it turning on low heat. It was a homogenous mixture, but almost instantly turned to granular with a layer of oil. Is there anything I can do? Thanks in advance for any help.
You might have to blend longer with you hand blender to get to trace. So, it won't separate. The last soap I made started to separate when it was in the mold. Ended up taking ut out to hand blend longer they was due to the fact I used a lot of liqiud oils. Which, gave a false trace.
 

DeeAnna

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@Monab -- False trace doesn't happen to recipes high in liquid fats. It happens to recipes high in solid fats -- ones that are solid at room temperature. The fats solidify because the soap batter is too cold. The batter will look like it's emulsified, but it's not. When the batter heats up later from being kept in a warm environment (insulated box, heating pad, CPOP heating in the oven, etc.) or from the heat of saponification, the solid fats melt and separate from the lye solution.

"...The last soap I made started to separate when it was in the mold. ...I used a lot of liqiud oils. Which, gave a false trace. ..."

With a recipe high in liquid oils, it's far more likely that the emulsion was not quite stable enough when you poured the soap into the mold. Or the soap overheated after it was in the mold which can cause a stable emulsion to fail.

It's true in this situation as well as in "false trace" that the soap separates, but in false trace, an emulsion does not form. In your case, I suspect the emulsion formed, but failed for some reason.

In another one of your posts, you say you've only been making soap for a short while, so it's likely you'll quickly learn these things. All of us have stories to tell like this!
 

Monab

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The videos was watching said it was false trace because the my recipe were high in liquid oil. Which, to me because all I was in my recipe at the time were only oil but when I took it out it just needed to be blended a little bit longer. Thanks for letting me know. The article is down below.

Plus, I hadn't known about this page at the time. I only just started to find stuff about the problem I had when I was looking for information about how to make my soap creamy.
 

DeeAnna

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I can appreciate your confusion.

Soap Queen tutorials and videos are, on the whole, a good resource, but it's important to remember the Bramble Berry staff is in the business of selling. Their tutorials and videos are created to promote their products and entice people to buy. I don't think Bramble Berry / Soap Queen is the last, best word about soap making, but they do have some fun stuff to learn.

edit:

But I think in this case, you may have misinterpreted what the article is saying. I don't think the article is saying a recipe high in LIQUID fat will show false trace. I'm reading the article as saying false trace happens when soap batter is cold enough to cause the "hard" fats to solidify. Here's one statement they made --

"...You can see false trace in the photos below. In this batch, the oils were around 100°F and the lye was around 70°F. The recipe is 25% palm oil, 30% coconut oil, 30% olive oil, 10% sweet almond oil and 5% castor oil. ...

"...After just a few more pulses with the stick blender, check out that batter! You can see the thick chunks of soap. That is false trace. The chunks appear to be at thick trace, when they have actually cooled and hardened due to the cold lye temperature....
"

The palm and coconut are the culprits here. At 55% of the total fats, they will solidify and cause false trace when they get cold enough. The Soap Queen article confirmed this --

"...Higher temperatures prevent false trace. Soaping around 100-130 ° F will keep the hard oils and butters in the batch melted throughout the entire process. ..."
 
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Monab

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I can appreciate your confusion.

Soap Queen tutorials and videos are, on the whole, a good resource, but it's important to remember the Bramble Berry staff is in the business of selling. Their tutorials and videos are created to promote their products and entice people to buy. I don't think Bramble Berry / Soap Queen is the last, best word about soap making, but they do have some fun stuff to learn.

edit:

But I think in this case, you may have misinterpreted what the article is saying. I don't think the article is saying a recipe high in LIQUID fat will show false trace. I'm reading the article as saying false trace happens when soap batter is cold enough to cause the "hard" fats to solidify. Here's one statement they made --

"...You can see false trace in the photos below. In this batch, the oils were around 100°F and the lye was around 70°F. The recipe is 25% palm oil, 30% coconut oil, 30% olive oil, 10% sweet almond oil and 5% castor oil. ...

"...After just a few more pulses with the stick blender, check out that batter! You can see the thick chunks of soap. That is false trace. The chunks appear to be at thick trace, when they have actually cooled and hardened due to the cold lye temperature....
"

The palm and coconut are the culprits here. At 55% of the total fats, they will solidify and cause false trace when they get cold enough. The Soap Queen article confirmed this --

"...Higher temperatures prevent false trace. Soaping around 100-130 ° F will keep the hard oils and butters in the batch melted throughout the entire process. ..."
I forgot to said that my room temperature was no where near warm. It was cold inside and raining outside. I know that because my room wasn't at and ideal temperature. I used mostly Grapeseed, Avocado and coconut oil Avocado being my the highest. Thank you for letting me know and explaining. Plus, I know brambleberry is all about getting people to purchase ingredients and supplies from their site. I always forgot about room temperature because it just one season here but I was Chilli becasue of the rain and I usually have the window open.
 

AliOop

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@Monab I've met Texans who define "cold" as anything below 80F, but that isn't "cold" for soap-making purposes. Unless your room was well below 70F, that wasn't an issue for your soap. And it doesn't sound like you had enough hard fats in the recipe that false trace was likely to be an issue.

As an aside, I lived north of Dallas for several years. I wouldn't call it four seasons, but it was definitely more than one. Winter temps got down in the 40s, although the biting wind and high humidity made it seem colder. Summer (from mid-May to the end of October) was blazingly hot and humid, with many weeks well above 100F and 99%+ humidity.

Fortunately, the two weeks of spring and two weeks of fall each year were quite pleasant. ;)
 

Monab

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@Monab I've met Texans who define "cold" as anything below 80F, but that isn't "cold" for soap-making purposes. Unless your room was well below 70F, that wasn't an issue for your soap. And it doesn't sound like you had enough hard fats in the recipe that false trace was likely to be an issue.

As an aside, I lived north of Dallas for several years. I wouldn't call it four seasons, but it was definitely more than one. Winter temps got down in the 40s, although the biting wind and high humidity made it seem colder. Summer (from mid-May to the end of October) was blazingly hot and humid, with many weeks well above 100F and 99%+ humidity.

Fortunately, the two weeks of spring and two weeks of fall each year were quite pleasant. ;)
I'm originally from New York but my husband is from Texas. I can definitely say it was blazing in the summer. When I was making that soap my temperature for the house was on 68F and it was a rainy day in Hawaii.
While, I was making soap that about the only thing i could think about as to why it separate. I taken pictures but I was completely confuse. It was the first it separated. I only used oils so maybe I didn't blend long enough for it to trace or my temperature was too low. Everytime, i make soap i just take note on what not to do.
 

AliOop

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Hi @Monab I assumed you were in Dallas because that's what it says on your public profile next to your posts. Hawaii definitely has less defined seasons than Dallas, so now your statements make more sense to me. Thanks for explaining.
 
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