Questions about oils and butters (tempering and storage)

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FrayGrants

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Okay so I am fairly new to soaping and I just received my first bulk order of oils and butters and I have several questions about usage and storage. I read somewhere about tempering butters by heating them for a period and then rapidly cooling to ensure even fat distribution. Now this leads to several other questions about tempering and storage.

For hard oils such as palm and coconut, could I heat them for even fat distribution and then refrigerate them in containers where I can scoop them out. This way I wouldn't have to heat and stir them before every use. Is this possible, what do you all do with your hard oils? Doesn't heating and reheating the same oil over and over degrade it over time?

I am still in the research and development phase so I am making small batches and if my "tempering" idea is feasible it is certainly what I will be doing.

What do you all do with your oils as far as getting around separation and long term storage? Let me know thanks!!!
 

dibbles

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If you are only making soap, there is no need to temper butters. I don't melt my coconut oil. I don't use palm very often, but have started buying no stir palm. Before that I would melt my entire bucket of palm oil, stir well and portion it out into quart sized mason jars. That way I only had to melt one jar when making a batch of soap, and each jar was only melted a couple of times.
 

Zany_in_CO

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The only hard oil I melt and divide into separate containers is palm because the stearic acid settles to the bottom and needs to be stirred well to get it thoroughly mixed before weighing.

For easier measuring I melt my butters and pour into 1/2 oz or 1 oz. disk cavities. Once solid, I pop them out, put them in a ZipLoc and store in the freezer.

That's it!

Oh, I just remembered... when making soap for a wholesale customer I would melt and mix four batches of the oils at a time and store them in buckets in the laundry room. Ready to go whenever I needed to soap them. ;) :thumbs:
 

TheGecko

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I used to get my Palm Oil in 7 lbs bags from BrambleBerry and because I wasn’t a whole lot of soap, I was having to constantly reheat it and noticed as I got near the bottom quarter of the bag, it was getting ‘grainy’. So the next bag, I didn’t complete remelt the entire bag, just until it was mush and then I just needed it real well. Then I got into Master Batching an bought a 35 lb bucket of Palm Oil. Got out all my pots, melted that sucker down, poured it back in the bucket to make sure it was well mixed, then portioned it into 1 gal freezer ziplock bags that I put back in the bucket (after I cleaned it). Then whenever I made up a new MB, I’d just grab a bag.

When I heat my oils for my MB, I do it on the stove on medium heat starting with my Cocoa Butter, the adding my Palm Oil and the Coconut Oil. I then turn it off and put in my Shea Butter than I had cut into small chunks. But the time I got my Olive and Castor Oils weighed and in my bucket, the Hard Oils are fully melted and ready to be added to the bucket.

As for storage. My Master Batch bucket is in the kitchen. Most of my bulk ingredients are stored in the garage off the ground. Unless we have a heat wave, it’s all good and then I only need to toss the Cocoa Butter Wafers in the freezer. I do have a couple of small bottles of oils in the frig, but that because they are small enough to me more affected by the heat.
 

earlene

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I have never found Coconut oil to turn grainy in soap, but Shea, yes. Even in CP soap. But I don't temper & move it to smaller containers, for later use because I don't buy it in bulk anymore. I don't use much shea anymore, mostly because I started using palm and don't want too many containers of oils around.

Palm, of course, it depends on what type of palm you buy. Paritally hydrogenated or palm shortening does not need pre-heating to move into separate containers. My palm shortening came in a big thick plastic bag inside a box, and all I had to do was scoop it into smaller containers as is. No tempering needed.

I do not refrigerate my oils. I keep them at room temperature. Of course RT for me may not be the same as RT for you, depending on the season & how you heat or cool your house or storage area.
 

Zany_in_CO

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When I heat my oils for my MB, I do it on the stove on medium heat starting with my Cocoa Butter, the adding my Palm Oil and the Coconut Oil. I then turn it off and put in my Shea Butter
That's the way I master batch my oils range top too. I use a large stainless steel pot to accommodate all the oils and add the shea and any liquid oils after the melted oils cool a bit. Stir for one full minute then pour into buckets. I store mine in the laundry room where it's dark and relatively cool until I'm ready to soap. I make up my lye solution while reheating the oils in the microwave. I add fragrance and whatever other additives to the melted oils, stir for one full minute before adding my lye solution.
 

TheGecko

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That's the way I master batch my oils range top too. I use a large stainless steel pot to accommodate all the oils and add the shea and any liquid oils after the melted oils cool a bit. Stir for one full minute then pour into buckets. I store mine in the laundry room where it's dark and relatively cool until I'm ready to soap. I make up my lye solution while reheating the oils in the microwave. I add fragrance and whatever other additives to the melted oils, stir for one full minute before adding my lye solution.

I have an old Revere Ware "Dutch Oven" and it can only hold 6 lbs of my Hard Oils/Butters so while the Shea Butter is melting in the residual heat, I put my Olive and Castor Oils in the bucket and then add the melted oils...usually around 120F-150F. I make up four 'lots' at a time for a total of 40lbs. I could do it all in one go as I have a really nice stainless steel stock pot, but I'm not as young as I used to be so it is easier and safer and not that huge of a deal. I could also add another 20 lbs of Oils/Butters to my bucket, but again...not as young as I used to be and I haven't been making enough soap to warrant it. I have been looking at plant caddies to place the bucket on, then I can just roll it around.

I just keep the bucket in the kitchen. We don't do a lot of backing so the kitchen doesn't really get any warmer than the rest of the house. I MB my ready-to-use Lye Solution and also keep it in the kitchen. I weigh it out and add my Sodium Lactate while my Oils are in the microwave. I also weigh out my FO and add Kaolin Clay to it.
 
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I purchased Shea in 25 lb blocks and never tempered it for lotions or soap. Your soap batter is going to heat up so I do not see much point in tempering butters for soap making and you really will not be cooling your soap down quick enough. I only tempered it when using it for solid lotions or lip balms. I also never melted down entire buckets of Palm oil I would scoop from different sections of my 5 gallon buckets. I eventually changed to purchasing Palm Shortening from a restaurant supplier in 50 lb cubes which is the same as no-stir palm.
 
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Zany_in_CO

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I'm not as young as I used to be
I hear ya! Same here. The above description was actually from when I was going full-throttle for wholesale accounts. I retired in 2017. Now, even the ceramic insert in my crockpot is too heavy for me to lift out with a mere 35 oz oils batch!
Same with my wood slab molds -- 60 oz oils & 90 oz. oils. I had to retire them and switch to WSP's 1501 silicon loaf molds that make 40 oz. soap / 8 bars (5 oz.) at a time.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Between regular shea butter, raw shea butter and refined shea, I now only buy the refined for the white color in non-soap things like lotion, arthritis cream, "Lip Lubes", herbal balms that tend to be yellowish if I don't use the refined.

I used up the last of my raw shea butter (that I really liked!) to make 67% Shea Butter CP that turned out to be one of my favorites. Happy surprise, that. PS: No grainy feel; just smooth and lovely creamy bubbles that my skin loves. It's one of those soaps I wash my hands with, then wash again cuz I like how it feels! 🤣
 

TheGecko

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Between regular shea butter, raw shea butter and refined shea, I now only buy the refined for the white color in non-soap things like lotion, arthritis cream, "Lip Lubes", herbal balms that tend to be yellowish if I don't use the refined.

I have tried a lot of different "versions" of my oils and butters. I mostly use just regular old Cocoa Butter in all it's loverly color and smell, but when it comes to like Lotion Bars, the chocolate smell can really overpower some scents. Then I will use Kokum Butter or Deodorized.
 
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