Rebatching crumbly soap...

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

HCee

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Messages
14
Reaction score
11
Hi.

I spent a lot of yesterday researching the above (inc posts on this forum) and I still have questions!

I followed a YouTube online salt bar recipe as follows:
50% CO
27% OO
10% Shea
7% Grapeseed
6% Castor Oil

12% Super fat
Water / lye ratio 2.7

The recipe called for 10% (90g) salt, but I reduced this to 70g (really finely ground) and I added 1 1/2 tsp of pink clay.

Added some fig FO and was working away not really noticing there wasn't a great deal of trace until I went to mould up. I gave it another blast with the stick and put in to individual moulds and a 1lb loaf mould. I then realised it still wasn't at the trace I'm used to as any top swirl decorations were just disappearing - I left it for 20 minutes then it had thickened enough to spoon up into soft peaks

Recipe advised to put in fridge, so did that overnight.

Next day (silicon) unmoulding was fine, but one of the individual rounds broke in two as I was prising it out....
Uh-oh.
Went to cut loaf and it was like cutting a crumbly cheese.

I know salt soaps are notorious for crumbling, but I went easy on the amount, so maybe I just didn't mix it enough in the first place?

Aside from that it's a beautiful soap! Using the broken round, it lathers up really well, lovely light pink colour - and the fragrance was surprisingly nice considering I didn't like it at all in the bottle...

So my question is - after researching rebatching until I'm exhausted - I can't find anything that would tell me why a crumbly bar should come together after melting down and cooking through. And apart from adding some water, I can't find any info on how to work with crumble and whether to add any more oil.
It's not lye heavy and there are no oils floating about.

Sorry for the long read, but I've included as much info as poss as I find usually the replies ask these questions anyway :)
 

Attachments

  • tempImageP5Ex6d.png
    tempImageP5Ex6d.png
    1.8 MB · Views: 20
First off that’s not a good recipe for a salt bar at all. Sal bars need at least 80%CO and butters aren’t needed as they cut lather. They also generally have at least 30%-100% salt. I’ve never refrigerated my salt soap either. They generally gel and I cut mime at about 3 hours.
Since it’s not a true salt soap you could try to rebatch it. I wouldn’t add any oils to it. Maybe just a bit of water if needed.

I think you just happened upon a not so good recipe nor instructions.
 
Thanks Shunt.

Ah that's a shame as the whole Youtube video was from a lovely softly spoken, plinkety plonkety music, 95k subscribed, professional soap maker! She talked through why her recipe worked AND I BELIEVED HER!

I have to say though it does lather up really well! Probably the best instant lather I've had in a soap so far.



I'll have another search around for salt recipes and look out for 80% CO

I still have the question though of why would rebatched crumbly soap come together and not just still be crumbly after 'cooking'
 
I'm sorry this happened to you. From what you are describing, and what I see in the picture, the two problems with this loaf are:

1. You should have been at medium trace before adding the salt. Any thinner, and the salt sinks to the bottom of the batter bowl and then the bottom of the mold, making those parts of the soap very crumbly.

2. You probably waited too long to cut it, although that may not have mattered due to #1, above. Even with such a low percentage of salt, one generally wants to keep a very close eye on a salt loaf so you can time the cut to avoid crumbling.

Holly at Kapia Mera does make nice soaps. I love watching her, too! But her level of practical and artistic skill makes everything look deceptively easy. She also knows her recipes inside and out. She uses very specific temps, molds and soaping conditions - all of which affect how long it takes for a loaf to set up, whether to refrigerate it or not, etc.

Besides all those factors, you added an FO that she didn't use. Whenever you change the FO, you can't expect to follow someone else's exact directions, because FOs can change everything - color, trace, set-up time, unmolding time, cure time. And even if you'd stuck to the recipe exactly, using the same mold and soaping at the same exact temp, soap does different things on different days. You always have to watch the soap, know what to look for, and know how to adjust the process accordingly.

The good news is, as @shunt2011 said, you can probably rebatch this with a bit of water. You could also try crushing it into a powder and adding that powder to a new batch of the same recipe. Either way, I'd use cavity molds so you don't have to worry about timing the cut, or crumbling edges. Since you like the soap, it is worth saving!

ETA: I went back to that video, and will note that she specifically says, "I blended the soap until I thought it was thick enough to hold the salt in suspension without sinking to the bottom." She also stick-blended some more after adding the salt. Take a look at the trace of her soap after that: it is clearly at a medium-thick trace, with the batter drips sitting on top and not sinking in at all, even after she has removed and scraped the stick-blender. It is at thick trace when she pours it. Note: she did not refrigerate the soap - she left it out overnight, insulated in a warm shop, and cut it 16 hours later.
 
Last edited:
Thanks Ali.

Points noted.

I've never had a soap not trace before (I'm usually chasing my tail after adding FO ) I also had the stick blender flip backwards out of the batter bowl so I know I wasn't fully concentrating at that point as was in a tizz cleaning up the counter top and myself for a few minutes after adding the salt. Lord knows where I got the refrigerator bit from then 🧐😆 But I remember hers cracked a bit so maybe I'd just read it somewhere else before I got started (I research everything to the point of driving myself mad)

I did wonder if the salt had sunk, but I turned the bar on its side and cut a piece and it seemed just as crumbly at the top, but I'm not put off! I feel like I want another go at this!

I might bung it in a different soap, but I don't think it's hard enough to crumble - maybe I'll leave it a while until it is.

I'm also still wondering how rebatching solves the crumble?
 
Thanks Ali. Points noted.

I've never had a soap not trace before (I'm usually chasing my tail after adding FO ) I also had the stick blender flip backwards out of the batter bowl so I know I wasn't fully concentrating at that point as was in a tizz cleaning up the counter top and myself for a few minutes after adding the salt. Lord knows where I got the refrigerator bit from then 🧐😆 But I remember hers cracked a bit so maybe I'd just read it somewhere else before I got started (I research everything to the point of driving myself mad)

I did wonder if the salt had sunk, but I turned the bar on its side and cut a piece and it seemed just as crumbly at the top, but I'm not put off! I feel like I want another go at this!

I might bung it in a different soap, but I don't think it's hard enough to crumble - maybe I'll leave it a while until it is.

I'm also still wondering how rebatching solves the crumble?
I’ve had the same issue with the stick blender falling over and making a mess. It is rather disconcerting, to put it mildly. It definitely flustered me, and mistakes were made. 😆

All salt soap is crumbly to some extent; this generally isn’t an issue unless you are trying to cut it after it has hardened. Rebatching helps the crumble bc it brings the soap back to a semiliquid state so you can stir it into a more homogenous blend. It also gives you a second chance to cut it before it rehardens. Or to put it into cavity molds so no cutting is necessary. 😉
 
Last edited:
Holly mentions that she personally prefers a lower salt content. So although this may not be the usual high CO content with high salt content salt bar, it is what her skin prefers. I don't think that makes it a bad salt bar; it just makes it different than what is normally done. I myself have yet to like a salt bar. I am still waiting for the 2 - 1/2 year old high CO high salt content bar I made to make my skin happy.

Maybe for me it's the high CO content (my skin really does not like high CO). Or maybe it's the high salt content. Or maybe it's both, or a combination of other factors. Who knows?

I might bung it in a different soap, but I don't think it's hard enough to crumble - maybe I'll leave it a while until it is.

Speaking of leaving crumbly soap longer: Early in my soap making journey, I made a soap that was really crumbly like yours (not a salt bar, & I don't really recall what it was now). What I do recall is that I left it to cure after cutting, crumbles and all, and found out that that cure (or just leaving it alone) somehow eliminated the crumbling. I mean it did not crumble further after a long cure. After the cure, it still looked pretty bad, but in handling, it no longer fell apart.

I notice that you subbed Grapeseed oil for the Avocado Oil that Holly used in her recipe. I assume you ran it through a lye calculator to make sure you got the correct amount of lye for your altered recipe?
 
Holly mentions that she personally prefers a lower salt content. So although this may not be the usual high CO content with high salt content salt bar, it is what her skin prefers. I don't think that makes it a bad salt bar; it just makes it different than what is normally done. I myself have yet to like a salt bar. I am still waiting for the 2 - 1/2 year old high CO high salt content bar I made to make my skin happy.

Maybe for me it's the high CO content (my skin really does not like high CO). Or maybe it's the high salt content. Or maybe it's both, or a combination of other factors. Who knows?



Speaking of leaving crumbly soap longer: Early in my soap making journey, I made a soap that was really crumbly like yours (not a salt bar, & I don't really recall what it was now). What I do recall is that I left it to cure after cutting, crumbles and all, and found out that that cure (or just leaving it alone) somehow eliminated the crumbling. I mean it did not crumble further after a long cure. After the cure, it still looked pretty bad, but in handling, it no longer fell apart.

I notice that you subbed Grapeseed oil for the Avocado Oil that Holly used in her recipe. I assume you ran it through a lye calculator to make sure you got the correct amount of lye for your altered recipe?
I have a question. The soap may be great, but being the CO content isn't very high and the salt content is very low, would this recipe even be considered a salt bar? If I stumbled upon this recipe, I would not think it was a salt bar. I'm thinking that's what Shunt was getting at. That it's not a very good salt bar recipe because it's not really a salt bar.
 
I don't really know. I am not a salt bar expert. But it has salt, so why not? Maybe not the sea-man's type of salt bar, but still it's not just added to harden the bar like SL or a tsp ppo is added to harden a bar.

And IMO 50% CO is pretty darn high for someone who doesn't respond well to high CO.
 
@earlene good catch on the oil sub - I missed that. Yet another reason that the soap behaved differently than expected.

@HCee glad you are willing to give it another try; please post pics of the rebatch!

I personally love salt bars after a good long cure, but mine are might higher in salt and in CO. I may have to give Holly's version a try to see if I like it.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top