Recipe Question...

Discussion in 'Recipe Feedback' started by McLasz, May 19, 2019.

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  1. May 19, 2019 #1

    McLasz

    McLasz

    McLasz

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    Good Morning Soaping Friends!
    I have a few questions about a recipe and premixed micas, so here goes...
    I am a new-ish soaper with over 100 batches under my belt, which is still not enough! Don't get me wrong, I have had much success over the last few years(along with my fair share of failures, of course), but I am still in search of my "go to" recipe. I am looking to create a slow moving hard bar with with big bubbles, deep colors and crazy swirls! That said, this is a recipe I've patched together from looking at the oil quality tables, soaponification charts and tons of reading. Sometimes maybe too much reading!
    Can you lend me your thoughts on whether or not this recipe might be what I'm looking for?

    Olive 35%
    Beef Tallow 30%
    Coconut 20%
    Cocoa Butter 10%
    Castor Oil 5%

    I soap at room temp (Oils and lye generally between 75-80 degrees)
    Additives: pinch Tussah silk, sodium lactate @ 1tsp PPO, and premixed micas in vegetable glycerin.

    I'm also wondering, since I tend to use a lot of colorant, can I make the superfat amount on soap calc a zero value to account for the extra glycerin in the micas? The last recipe I made was very soft, even after 3 days in the mold, and I'm pretty positive it's because of the glycerin. I used quite a lot and it was the only thing I changed in my old recipe. for kicks, the recipe I used was:

    Olive 37%
    Coconut 34%
    RBO 15%
    Avocado 6%
    Shea 5%
    Castor 3%

    Additives: pinch Tussah silk, sodium lactate @ 1tsp PPO, and premixed micas in vegetable glycerin.
    Oils 87 degrees & Lye 78 degrees

    I've used this recipe plenty but the other day was the first time I used the glycerin mixed micas and it's still soft . Could I use zero superfat here too to account for the glycerin? I quite like this recipe except it's not really as hard as I'd like after 8 weeks of cure time.

    One more question! Does anyone have any experience with replacing water with aloe juice? I've read that others love it and it can be a straight swap, but wanted to double check.

    Thanks in advance for all of you're sage advice! It is so incredibly valuable!
     
    Alien likes this.
  2. May 19, 2019 #2

    snappyllama

    snappyllama

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    Howdy!

    Hard Bar:

    What lye concentration are you using?

    Are you using a LOT of glycerin to mix your colorant? Are you using that without reducing your water by the same amount? Most folks either:
    • pull out a soft oil (like OO) from their batch to mix colorants
    • reduce batch water by an amount equal to some water + teeny amount of gylcerin to mix colorants. That's what I do, and it seems to work fine for me.
    Looking at your recipe, you could try moving some of that OO into the tallow to make a firmer bar.

    Do you gel your soap? Ungelled soap takes a little longer to unmold.

    Has your lye been compromised -so your SF is actually really high? Exposure to air/humidity will reduce its effectiveness. I can dig up a post here about how to check. "Clumpy" lye or tussah silk taking longer to dissolve are my "uh-oh" indications my lye has been compromised.

    Slower moving:
    That doesn't look like a fast-moving recipe. So the main culprits might be:

    1. Too much stick blending. Are you mainly stirring with the stick blender and pulsing just to emulsification? I had to learn (and still remind myself) to "put down the stick blender"!
    2. Fragrance hi-jinks - Florals, Spicy, and Sea scents all frequently accelerate. What do the FO reviews say? When are you adding your FO? Are you stick blending it in?
    3. Time-sucking distractions when making soap... is everything ready to go when pouring? Digging around for a mold or colorant or whatever would take me a surprising amount of time all the while my batter would be hardening up.
    Big Bubbles
    • Add sugar in some way - either straight sugar dissolved into some water from your batch, honey, or other water replacement (goat /coconut / aloe / beer). Aloe water is really nice to use - doesn't speed trace or discolor. You can straight-up swap it for water.
    • Reduce butters and OO in a recipe
    Dark colors
    Where are you getting your colorants from? Are they micas? I've had good luck with micas from nurture and mad micas. Does the supplier say how much to use and provide an image showing the mica in actual tested soap?

    Summary
    I just listed off a lot of things... but I'd caution against changing too many things all at once - otherwise it will be hard to know what is working. When tweaking a recipe - just change one thing at a time.
     
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  3. May 19, 2019 #3

    DeeAnna

    DeeAnna

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    "...Could I use zero superfat here too to account for the glycerin?..."

    I can't think of why a low superfat (more lye) would compensate for adding a lot of glycerin. Too much glycerin will make a permanently soft bar no matter what the superfat is, and the only solution to that problem is to add less glycerin.

    Snappyllama's suggestions are good ones.
     
  4. May 19, 2019 #4

    McLasz

    McLasz

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    Hi!!!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond so kindly and thoroughly! To answer your questions, (I knew I'd forget a few things):

    Lye concentration: 33%

    I didn't subtract a water amount to account for the glycerin. I guess I should have?

    I premixed a bunch of micas, (most from Nurture, a few from Mad Micas) in squeeze bottles so I don't have to do it every time I make a batch. I used 1 ounce of glycerin:2 tsp. mica. It's a very thick slurry. It's just super easy to use too much!

    I do gel my soaps

    No clumpy lye and silk dissolves pretty quickly.

    If I lower my superfat in the recipe doesn't that then make room for the glycerin to have a spot?

    My last batch just looks/feels like there is too much glycerin. I just unmolded it and cut it and it's mushy along the edges and I could probably tear it in half if I wanted to. Will it ever harden up? I have a small dehumidifier in my curing closet- maybe that will help some? It definitely does with my other soap, although I still give them up to 8 weeks.

    which recipe do you like better, the first or second? Just curious...

    Again, thank you so much for you're feedback. It is so helpful!



     
  5. May 19, 2019 #5

    DeeAnna

    DeeAnna

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    "...I didn't subtract a water amount to account for the glycerin. I guess I should have?..."

    Yes, you need to adjust the total water weight for the amount of glycerin you add. Glycerin is a water-soluble liquid and should be treated as if it is water when designing a soap recipe.

    "...Will it ever harden up?..."

    Your soap may never harden up as much as you might want, because glycerin does not evaporate during cure like water does. It depends on how much glycerin you use as to whether the soap will harden enough, so it's hard to predict.

    Saponification of fats creates about 10% glycerin in soap after cure. When you add more than a smidge of extra glycerin, your soap is at higher risk of being permanently soft, sticky especially in humid weather, and not as long lasting as you'd like.

    "..If I lower my superfat in the recipe doesn't that then make room for the glycerin to have a spot?..."

    The chemistry of saponification doesn't work that way. A lower superfat only means there is more alkali (NaOH) to react with more of the fat to make more soap rather than leave that fat unsaponified. That's all it means.

    You need to lower the water amount to "make room" for the glycerin, if you're determined to add a lot of glycerin to your soap.
     
  6. May 19, 2019 #6

    Alien

    Alien

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  7. May 19, 2019 #7

    earlene

    earlene

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    Yes, no amount of SF will compensate for too much glycerin, as DeeAnna said. What you could do is decrease the amount of glycerin you are using to avoid that resulting softness of the soap. Of course, if you were to decrease your total added liquids like DeeAnna said, that should help as well, but in my experience, even with too much liquid, the soap does eventually loose water to evaporation. I have not found that to be the case when the excess liquid is glycerin.

    I made a pretty large batch of soap with too much glycerin to mix the colors and after close to 3 years now, it has not hardened up AT ALL! I kept a few bars to see if it ever would, and it has not changed in any noticeable way, other than it is now beginning to smell off.

    For quite a long time, I avoided mixing colorants in glycerine as a result of that massive soaping fail, and switched back to mixing with one of my base oils from the batch. However, I decided to try again recently and found that if I use the tiniest amount of glycerine, and I mean the tiniest amount, I can avoid turning my soap into a spongy bar and the soap hardens up normally.

    Regarding aloe, yes, lots of folks here have used it, me included. I used it a lot in the beginning as my water replacement. I only stopped because I wanted to eliminate some of the extras in my soap. Not that I still don't try more extra stuff! It's like an obsession - what new thing can I try next with my soap?
     
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  8. May 19, 2019 #8

    Alien

    Alien

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    I replace the total water amount with aloe juice all of the time and it works fine.

    Earlene, what a nice informative reply. I am fairly new to soaping and, whenever I am in a store selling handmade soap I always check it out. Yesterday I was in such a store and noticed the soaps they had for sale were all really beaded up or sweating and gooey in their cigar wrappers. It is humid in SC, but not so much in the air conditioned store..no ingredients were labeled, but I wondered, based on reading, if perhaps the soaper had used too much glycerin...hmmm.So happy to see from your post that my thought MIGHT have had merit...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2019
  9. May 19, 2019 #9

    HowieRoll

    HowieRoll

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    Your first recipe is similar to one I often use, which is:

    30% olive oil
    25% beef tallow
    20-25% coconut oil
    10-15% HO sunflower oil or avocado oil
    10% shea butter

    Add: 5% sugar (based on oil weight; an IrishLass suggestion)
    Lye concentration: usually 38-40%
    Superfat: 2-3%
    Colorants: oxides pre-mixed in olive oil (not subtracted from batch oils)
    Temperature: soaping too cool (less than 100F) results in stearic spots, so I aim for 110-120F
    CPOP: usually put it into oven pre-heated to 170F and then turned off when soap goes in. It's hard enough to unmold the next day, or even later the same day if done early enough.

    Ever since I dropped the castor oil and upped the lye concentration I find this to be a very slow-moving recipe, almost excruciatingly so, and it makes a pretty hard bar. The bubbles are great for me, but bubble results can greatly vary depending on the type of water you have. A friend, to whom I've given lots of this soap over the years, recently moved cross country and called to say while she always loved my soap, she REALLY wants more of the one she started using after the move. Turns out it was the exact same recipe as always, only the different water source makes it super bubbly now.

    Anyway, thought I'd share my experience!
     
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  10. May 19, 2019 #10

    DeeAnna

    DeeAnna

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    "...the soaps they had for sale were all really beaded up or sweating and gooey in their cigar wrappers..."

    Or the soap was melt and pour. Some M&P looks a lot like regular soap.

    I often use colorants mixed in glycerin. I've never had trouble with the soap being soft, but I imagine I'm using a whole lot less glycerin+colorant than it sounds like you are using. I don't care for saturated, intense colors and I don't want my soap to make colored lather if possible.
     
  11. May 19, 2019 #11

    kaysejean

    kaysejean

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    So, I may be wrong, but doesnt tallow, while an awesome oil, trace quickly? Would lard be a better option for slow tracing?
     
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  12. May 19, 2019 #12

    dibbles

    dibbles

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    @kaysejean I can't find tallow locally and don't want to render my own, so I don't have first hand experience with it. Lots of people use it, so maybe someone will be able to help you with that, but I have often read that tallow traces faster than lard. I find lard to be very slow tracing.
     
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  13. May 20, 2019 #13

    KiwiMoose

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    I hear ya!
     
  14. May 20, 2019 #14

    lucycat

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    You asked about your two recipes. I would think the first one will be harder and longer lasting because it has a greater % of palmatic fatty acids in the tallow and cocoa butter. I would want to soap that recipe closer to 100 degrees to make sure the soap stayed fluid when I was working. I would think it would be easy to end up with a false trace as the fats want to solidify at room temp. I like room temp better when my recipe is mostly liquid oils. I like RBO and avocado in soap but I also like creaminess and your first recipe would have that.

    You didn't talk about fragrance. My unscented bars are harder than my scented ones, both at 2 days and at 3 months. It isn't a lot but it is there. With fragrance rates these days so high I think it can make a difference in hardness.
     
  15. May 20, 2019 #15

    McLasz

    McLasz

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    Hi and thank you for sharing your experience!
    Dropping the castor oil made a big difference for you? In what way? Curious.

    QUOTE="HowieRoll, post: 770063, member: 21015"]Your first recipe is similar to one I often use, which is:

    30% olive oil
    25% beef tallow
    20-25% coconut oil
    10-15% HO sunflower oil or avocado oil
    10% shea butter

    Add: 5% sugar (based on oil weight; an IrishLass suggestion)
    Lye concentration: usually 38-40%
    Superfat: 2-3%
    Colorants: oxides pre-mixed in olive oil (not subtracted from batch oils)
    Temperature: soaping too cool (less than 100F) results in stearic spots, so I aim for 110-120F
    CPOP: usually put it into oven pre-heated to 170F and then turned off when soap goes in. It's hard enough to unmold the next day, or even later the same day if done early enough.

    Ever since I dropped the castor oil and upped the lye concentration I find this to be a very slow-moving recipe, almost excruciatingly so, and it makes a pretty hard bar. The bubbles are great for me, but bubble results can greatly vary depending on the type of water you have. A friend, to whom I've given lots of this soap over the years, recently moved cross country and called to say while she always loved my soap, she REALLY wants more of the one she started using after the move. Turns out it was the exact same recipe as always, only the different water source makes it super bubbly now.

    Anyway, thought I'd share my experience![/QUOTE]
     
  16. May 20, 2019 #16

    McLasz

    McLasz

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    Thank you all for your thoughtful responses- I truly appreciate your sharing your experiences with me- It's a constantly evolving effort.
     
  17. May 20, 2019 #17

    HowieRoll

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    I personally don't see any difference in lather with/without it, and feel my bars are slightly firmer without it. Dropping it also slowed the trace of my recipes, which isn't always a good thing because sometimes I get too impatient waiting it to thicken up enough so the swirls don't get all muddled. :rolleyes: All in all, I just found it to be unnecessary and now it's one less thing to buy.
     
  18. May 21, 2019 #18

    DeeAnna

    DeeAnna

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    I'm another one who has decided castor isn't all that big of a deal. I used to use it at 5% all the time, because, well, castor is that magic ingredient, right? ;) A year or two ago I decided to modify my high-lard recipe to omit the castor. I don't even remember why -- maybe just to try it out of simple curiosity. Eliminating castor hasn't caused any obvious change, good or bad, from what I can tell. And, like HowieRoll said, it's one less thing to buy.

    YMMV if you make soaps that are quite different than mine -- it could be the % of other fats that determine whether castor is helpful or not.
     
  19. May 23, 2019 #19

    Lin19687

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    With 20-25% CO you won't see a difference.
    But in a recipe with very low CO or low PKO the Castor will make a big difference in the final bubbliness.
    I did an experiment just this Janurary, with and with out Castor, same recipe, low PKO (because I don't use CO) and it was a huge changer............... also note that the longer the cure - part 2 months- made even more of a difference.

    I think you need to test the recipe. Any recipe with 20% CO will bubble so the Castor is not going to help much, but what it does IS help bring out what bubbles are in the Recipe.

    I too had a post on here last year about it and who dropped it. I dropped it but I also had higher PKO. I wanted to have a milder bar so I dropped the PKO amount. I am a bubble HO with dry skin :( I reformulated and now I like what I have and can continue to soap. I stopped soaping bigger batches for almost 6 months till I had acquitted time to test how things were, tweeked, made, waited, tweeked , made, waited
     

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