Question on using alternative liquids in cold process soapmaking

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slipperysoap

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Hi all! I have a question regarding using alternative liquids in soapmaking as im new to the field. Usually, I’ll add the lye water into the oils around 45-50 deg celcius. For alternative liquids, online instructions usually recommend this step to be around 30 deg celcius. I understand that some liquids such as milk and beer contain sugars, hence a lower temperature is preferred to prevent scorching. However, what about other liquids such as tea and coffee? These typically don’t contain sugar. However, I’m not sure why it’s still recommended to mix in the lye water and oils around 30 deg celcius. I’m worried that this low temperature will affect the gel phase. Is it okay to mix them around 45-50 deg celcius instead?
 

earlene

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It really does depend on your overall recipe. If you have a lot of ingredients that cause soap batter to heat quickly, then a lower temperature makes sense. But if all of your ingredients are slow to heat up, then a higher temperature makes sense.

Some teas, such as kombucha tea, do have sugars & even alcohol. Any alcoholic beverage used as water replacement naturally will heat up faster, particularly when first introduced to lye, but then again even when the cooled lye solution is added to the oils and they begin to interact. I have to use a very tall container & leave a lot of empty 'head-room' inside the container, to mix lye with kombucha tea or anything with alcohol for that very reason.
Even when pre-cooled, these beverages heat up fast when using them to make the lye solution. The same is true for any beverage that contains a lot of sugar.

Then when added to the oils, the batter heats up faster as well, so if I have a high Coconut Oil content (I don't usually, but now and then make soap with a higher CO content) then that batter will heat up even faster. I have had soap with a high CO content and no other heater-upper type additives, heat up so fast it began to crack on top (caused by build-up from higher heat inside the soap loaf trying to escape out the top of the loaf.) The solution to stop the cracking was to put the soap loaf onto an elevated rack to increase air-flow to all surfaces of the mold.

If any of my additives contains sugars or alcohol, then of course, that also contributes to faster & higher heat as the batter starts to react with the lye solution.
 

slipperysoap

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It’s actually my first time using this recipe and I’ll be replacing the water directly with genmaicha matcha tea. The recipe contains mostly sweet almond oil, but has 17% CO. I will experiment with a small batch at low temperature first, since it is possible that genmaicha has some sugars too. Thank you so much for your advice!
 

earlene

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It’s actually my first time using this recipe and I’ll be replacing the water directly with genmaicha matcha tea. The recipe contains mostly sweet almond oil, but has 17% CO. I will experiment with a small batch at low temperature first, since it is possible that genmaicha has some sugars too. Thank you so much for your advice!
From what I read, rice is used, but even brown rice only has 0.7 grams sugar per cup of rice, so I doubt if you are brewing tea made with some puffed brown rice and some tea leaves that it would have much sugar in it at all.

reference: "Genmaicha is a mellow blend of roasted and puffed brown rice grains and Sencha that has been well-loved by green tea fans in Japan for centuries. " from this link.
 

slipperysoap

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Thank you so much for your advice! I’ve made a 500g batch, soaping it around 35 deg celcius. I’ve wrapped it overnight with a scarf and stored it in a thermal insulation bag. I presume that the saponification process / gel phase happened quite successfully, as the mould became quite warm. I’ve added essential oils, titanium dioxide dispersion and chromium oxide green powder. I think I didn’t mix the green powder well enough (added when it was already quite traced, but didn’t want to blend even further for fear of overtacing), hence the colour doesn’t look smooth. Here’s the end result:
1B0F69A0-0967-4EFB-9BE8-9432A90CA348.jpeg


Nevertheless, it was a fun experience! I’ll definitely attempt to use alternative liquids again.
 

slipperysoap

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Ahh so these are glycerin rivers. Perhaps I should’ve waited for it to cool down to 30 deg celcius instead before mixing. Will attempt it again, thank you for the advice!
 

slipperysoap

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Thank you everyone for your kind explanation and tips! I will be making another tea soap this week. Hopefully it will turn out well too!
 

slipperysoap

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Here’s an update of a second tea soap that I’ve made. This time with peach green tea. I lowered the soaping temperature to 30 deg celcius and unfortunately it was still overheated! Might be the scarf I used to wrap it around before putting in the thermal bag.
6AC312AD-20FC-491F-A4AE-A8B0FE66EEB2.jpeg
The colour of this tea was darker so I added titanium dioxide, yellow and green colourants. However, as the original colour was very dark brown, the eventual colour of the soap was light brown.
 

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