Palm olive soap

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FrayGrants

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Hello, I will be making Zany's Palm olive and was wondering if it would trace quickly. I feel like with all the palm and pko flakes being quite hard that it will set up like quick concrete.

I was just curious before I come up with a design plan. Maybe @Zany_in_CO could chime in here, or anyone else who has made it before or just has more overall experience. Thanks for stopping by!!!
 
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Palm and olive oil (except pomace) are both fairly slow to trace. If you soap at a cooler temp, you should have plenty of time for swirls and designs.
 

FrayGrants

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It’s funny because I was under the impression that palm would speed up trace, also this recipe has a lot in it. Here’s what I found when googling it:

“There are oils which slows down trace (like olive oil and sunflower seed oil) and also oils that speed up trace (like coconut oil and palm oil).”

“Firm oils like palm oil, coconut oil and butters tend to speed up trace.”
 
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Palm has been my nemesis for the entire time I’ve been making soap. For recipes I’ve experimented with, it behaves perfectly well when the palmitic + stearic is < 27% of the fatty acids (high olive oil), gets fussier in the 28-30% palmitic + stearic range, and wants to race me to trace when the recipe has >30% palmitic + stearic. For fine swirled designs, I‘ve recently been using a recipe that has 30% palm and 10% cocoa butter (p+s is 28). I go very easy on the stick blending (a few seconds) and then hand stir to get a stable emulsion. I should also mention that I aim for having the starting batter temp at around 90F to avoid stearic spots and use a 40% lye concentration. Dropping the lye concentration as low as 33% has not changed the ornery behavior of the batter. On the upside, the recipe works really well for designs that need a medium trace 🙂.

ETA: Zany”s recipe is 38% palmitic + stearic, which is mind boggling for me, but it doesn’t contain any castor. As I recall, Kevin Dunn, the author of Scientific Soapmaking found some evidence that castor causes acceleration in soaps made with palm oil. My recipes include 5% castor. Perhaps the absence of castor in Zany’s recipe makes all the difference. I hope the soap making goes well and you report back!
 
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Palm has been my nemesis for the entire time I’ve been making soap. For recipes I’ve experimented with, it behaves perfectly well when the palmitic + stearic is < 27% of the fatty acids (high olive oil), gets fussier in the 28-30% palmitic + stearic range, and wants to race me to trace when the recipe has >30% palmitic + stearic. For fine swirled designs, I‘ve recently been using a recipe that has 30% palm and 10% cocoa butter (p+s is 28). I go very easy on the stick blending (a few seconds) and then hand stir to get a stable emulsion. I should also mention that I aim for having the starting batter temp at around 90F to avoid stearic spots and use a 40% lye concentration. Dropping the lye concentration as low as 33% has not changed the ornery behavior of the batter. On the upside, the recipe works really well for designs that need a medium trace 🙂.

ETA: Zany”s recipe is 38% palmitic + stearic, which is mind boggling for me, but it doesn’t contain any castor. As I recall, Kevin Dunn, the author of Scientific Soapmaking found some evidence that castor causes acceleration in soaps made with palm oil. My recipes include 5% castor. Perhaps the absence of castor in Zany’s recipe makes all the difference. I hope the soap making goes well and you report back!
Wow, I had no idea that the total P+S number would change how quickly a particular recipe might trace. I always just assumed it depended on the ratio of slow-moving fats/oils to fast-moving ones.

Thank you for explaining this in a way that people without science training (points to self) can understand! 😊
 

FrayGrants

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I contacted Zany in what is now not a private message and this is what she said

“Expect normal trace times. SB to emulsion and pour.

NOTE: Soaping cool to provide working time is not recommended for recipes high in hard oils. TEMPS:
120° - 135°F works best for recipes high in hard oils.
100° - 120°F For recipes high in liquid oils

The only recipes I soap cool or at room temp are those containing "heaters" like, goat milk, honey, cinnamon/clove fragrance blends, etc..” -Zany
 
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Wow, I had no idea that the total P+S number would change how quickly a particular recipe might trace. I always just assumed it depended on the ratio of slow-moving fats/oils to fast-moving ones.

Thank you for explaining this in a way that people without science training (points to self) can understand! 😊
To be clear, the relationship I described is only for my palm recipes. At the other end of the spectrum, lard always traces relatively slowly for me, even if I make an 80% lard bar (p+s = 35) or a 100% lard bar (p+s = 42).

@FrayGrants I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you.
 
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@FrayGrants Did you give it a try? I just looked at the recipe again and noticed that the water as percent of oils is 38% (27% lye concentration). That’s another variable that is way out of the range of anything I’ve tried to date.
 

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@FrayGrants Did you give it a try? I just looked at the recipe again and noticed that the water as percent of oils is 38% (27% lye concentration). That’s another variable that is way out of the range of anything I’ve tried to date.
Well I tried it and I must have done something terribly wrong, it was quite slow to trace and I soaped at 125ish so that was nice as I did a very nice drop swirl.

Then came the cutting and it was crumble city. I have been fairly lazy with my palm recently, sometimes I melt completely and stir and other times I don’t. I’m assuming that this was the issue.

I will double check the recipe and use my new no stir palm and try again. Whatever the issue, it was my worst soap fail yet. That’s what you get for being lazy.

Please disregard this attempt and I will get back on the horse and try again!
 
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Well I tried it and I must have done something terribly wrong, it was quite slow to trace and I soaped at 125ish so that was nice as I did a very nice drop swirl.

Then came the cutting and it was crumble city. I have been fairly lazy with my palm recently, sometimes I melt completely and stir and other times I don’t. I’m assuming that this was the issue.

I will double check the recipe and use my new no stir palm and try again. Whatever the issue, it was my worst soap fail yet. That’s what you get for being lazy.

Please disregard this attempt and I will get back on the horse and try again!
Oh, so sorry to hear that your soap crumbled. 🙁 Thanks for letting me know.
 
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Well I tried it and I must have done something terribly wrong, it was quite slow to trace and I soaped at 125ish so that was nice as I did a very nice drop swirl.

Then came the cutting and it was crumble city. I have been fairly lazy with my palm recently, sometimes I melt completely and stir and other times I don’t. I’m assuming that this was the issue.

I will double check the recipe and use my new no stir palm and try again. Whatever the issue, it was my worst soap fail yet. That’s what you get for being lazy.

Please disregard this attempt and I will get back on the horse and try again!
I don't think you did anything wrong except maybe wait too long to cut it. That would definitely make it crumbly.

Your recipe as written is slow to trace, especially with the high amount of water (low lye concentration) that you used. I agree with Mobjack Bay that you probably want to switch to 33% lye concentration instead of 38% water as percent of oils.

Also, I must respectfully disagree with the quote above, saying that recipes high in hard oils ought to be soaped at 120-135F. With the exception of ZNSB, my recipes are all at least 50% hard oils (usually lard or lard-tallow combination), and often much higher. If I attempted to make these at 120-135F, they'd trace so fast that I'd never be able to make any designs.

My high-lard-high-tallow recipes do best at no more than 100F. I usually soap much cooler, like 90F, with zero problems. For me, the key is to melt the hard oils completely (to avoid stearic spots), and then mix in the liquid oils to cool everything down more quickly.

The only time I need to soap a little warmer is when I'm using PKO, or a high shea recipe. And sometimes I choose to soap a little warmer with ZNSB. All that OO is so slow to trace, and since it's usually a no-color or one-color soap for me, with no designs, I appreciate the faster trace with the higher heat.
 

FrayGrants

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Alright so I tried again with the no stir palm, soaped at 125ish and did everything like the previous attempt. It behaved exactly as I originally would have expected, it traced super quick. So AliOop you are correct about the temperature and it being too high.

I am pretty sure the palm was the issue with the first batch, because like I said the stearic acid content was probably all out of wack from improper use. I know this isn't exactly a controlled experiment and I'm sorry for coming off as such a noob. I really do know how to make soap, and generally it's really good for that matter.

I will post pictures of tonight's attempt tomorrow as I'm sure it came out right this time. Then I will let it cure a bit and see if I like the recipe. Finally, if I like it I will soap again at a lower temp to try and get the design I am shooting for. Thanks for following me on this ridiculous journey, I'll get there someday, just have to get past a few bumps in the road!
 
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@FrayGrants Great info. Thank you. I hope you don’t mind another question. Are you using the full water called for in the recipe? I have used high water to make a high water/low water type soap, but almost since the beginning have not dropped the lye concentration in my recipes below 33%. I wondered if the high water would slow the recipe down, but it doesn’t sound like it made a difference.

@AliOop I wasn’t able to find the thread this morning, but at one point I made test batches with a range of hard fats that I soaped cool. As I recall, I had no stearic spots in the lard recipe with the fats at 75F when I added room temp lye, but for most everything else I needed to start at 85-90F to get the same results.
 
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Thanks, @Mobjack Bay that’s great info. I’ve never soaped as low as 75F that I can recall, but it is good to know I could if I wanted.

Since you are the one who told me about avoiding stearic spots by pre-heating the high-stearic oils to 150F and then letting them cool down to the desired soaping temp, is it correct to say that this is part of your process, as well? I didn’t want to create the mis-impression that one only needs to heat the lard to 75F, rather than heating it up to 150F, and then cooling it down before soaping. 😊

@FrayGrants I think it is great that you are sharing your process and seeking help. All of us started somewhere, and we all have gaps in our learning. It helps others to read about your soapy adventures and the adjustments made as you go. 😀
 
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Since you are the one who told me about avoiding stearic spots by pre-heating the high-stearic oils to 150F and then letting them cool down to the desired soaping temp, is it correct to say that this is part of your process, as well? I didn’t want to create the mis-impression that one only needs to heat the lard to 75F, rather than heating it up to 150F, and then cooling it down before soaping. 😊
Yes, absolutely. I always melt my fats until they are completely clear, which usually isn’t until 140F or higher for the animal fats. However, when I made the lard soap at 75F, the fats had returned to the sludge stage.
 

FrayGrants

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To @Mobjack Bay, yes I am using the full water in the original recipe. I think I recall reading somewhere that depending on what oils you’re using, a water discount can actually slow trace times.

Anyway, here are the photos as promised. First photo is the epic fail, it was a nice pour but it is not useable soap. The second photo was an attempt at the first design, but it traced too quickly due to the temp being too high and was a ploppy layer situation.

8B555605-A55E-4476-B755-D0C72A542EB0.jpeg

F562AE7F-5CAA-40C4-A48E-3D4EA31CA9E6.jpeg
 
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@FrayGrants I don't think either soap looks like a fail! TBH, the first soap looks to me like it is suffering from high water, giving you that cotija cheese consistency (i.e., wet crumbles, not dry). I'd give it a few weeks to dry, and it should be just fine.

And while the layers on the second one may not be what you wanted, they actually look pretty cool!
 
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