Recipe to soft for molds?

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JoannaM.

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So I was able to salvage the cracked Rose soap from the 3 pound loaf and get some decent bars, but my roses in molds are aweful. They stayed in mold for 4 days and I even popped them in the freezer for 20 minutes before unmolding. Tops of mold were super solid, but the rose tips of mold were all soft and stuck in the mold. I really like the recipe, but is it just too soft to be used in a mold? It is a superfat of 12% and includes olive oil, coconut, Shea butter, cocoa butter, castor and apricot oils. It also contains rose clay. I REALLY wanted to do this pretty recipe in the pretty molds, so any ideas on how to accomplish that with minimal changes are appreciated. Thanks!!
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JoannaM.

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So I was able to salvage the cracked Rose soap from the 3 pound loaf and get some decent bars, but my roses in molds are aweful. They stayed in mold for 4 days and I even popped them in the freezer for 20 minutes before unmolding. Tops of mold were super solid, but the rose tips of mold were all soft and stuck in the mold. I really like the recipe, but is it just too soft to be used in a mold? It is a superfat of 12% and includes olive oil, coconut, Shea butter, cocoa butter, castor and apricot oils. It also contains rose clay. I REALLY wanted to do this pretty recipe in the pretty molds, so any ideas on how to accomplish that with minimal changes are appreciated. Thanks!!View attachment 56616
Picture of bars to follow- they turned out great except for a crack that I was able to repair.
 

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The_Phoenix

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The recipe, I suspect, is fine. But the 12% sf is more than likely why the soap is still so soft. That’s a good amount of oils that did not saponify.

What you could do is make small batches, one rose soap at a time, lowering the sf% incrementally, and see what sf % works well for the molds so that they can unmold easily. Hope that helps.
 

Rsapienza

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It would help if you posted your recipe. 12% SF is pretty high. Do you have a high percentage of CO that would warrant this amount?
 

AliOop

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Agreed that with a batter of mixed oils as you described, the 12% SF is probably just too high, and is keeping the bars soft. That high of a SF will also inhibit lather and cause a lot of soap scum.

I had those molds, and even with a low SF recipe that tended to make harder bars, I had to freeze them solid (at least an hour) to get them out of the mold with sharp details. But even then, some of the thinner petal edges still broke later. I eventually got rid the mold because it was so frustrating to edges breaking off. There are other rose molds that don't do this since their petal edges aren't as sharp, thin, and tall.
 

JoannaM.

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The recipe was one I found online and she said it was a 12% superfat, I’m still learning about all of that. It was:
8 oz. distilled water
2.7 oz. lye
8 oz. olive oil
5 oz. coconut oil
2 oz. castor oil
2 oz. Shea butter
2 oz. cocoa butter
2 oz. apricot kernel oil
.2 oz. rose oil
1 tablespoon rose clay

I just read some more about superfat and used the bramble berry lye calculator to change it down to a 5% superfat recipe. So will that basically make it a more solid bar, but still retain the moisturizing qualities that the recipe claims to have? Thanks!
 

JoannaM.

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The recipe was one I found online and she said it was a 12% superfat, I’m still learning about all of that. It was:
8 oz. distilled water
2.7 oz. lye
8 oz. olive oil
5 oz. coconut oil
2 oz. castor oil
2 oz. Shea butter
2 oz. cocoa butter
2 oz. apricot kernel oil
.2 oz. rose oil
1 tablespoon rose clay

I just read some more about superfat and used the bramble berry lye calculator to change it down to a 5% superfat recipe. So will that basically make it a more solid bar, but still retain the moisturizing qualities that the recipe claims to have? Thanks!
Now when I typed it into the bramble berry lye calculator it kept all the oil amounts the same and just changed the amount of lye and water- did I do that correctly?
 

The_Phoenix

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Now when I typed it into the bramble berry lye calculator it kept all the oil amounts the same and just changed the amount of lye and water- did I do that correctly?
Yes. That it correct. I know it’s an odd concept that super fat thing. Basically, “super fat” means that you use less lye to saponify the fatty acids. Let’s say you have a recipe that needs 100 grams of fats (olive oil, coconut, etc.). If you “super fat” the recipe at 12% that means that 12% of the fats will not turn to soap. They won’t saponify. Why? Because each fat requires a specific amount/gram of lye to turn into soap. So, to have some fat in the soap that won’t be saponified, you will use less lye in the recipe.

A good visual is to compare what 5 grams ofIve oil vs. 12 grams. That’s a big difference. Those extra grams of olive oil won’t be turning to soap and will basically be “free” oil. And it is those “free” unsaponified oils that make soap either really soft, really hard, or just right. Some people like all of those extra “free” oils in soap. As you’ve experienced, it makes a softer bar of soap. My recommendation is to make that recipe at 5% sf. Compare how it feels to the 12% sf.

Good luck and don’t forget to report back. 😃
 

JoannaM.

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Thank you so much for that explanation, it really helped it make sense! I only have enough supplies to make one more big batch of this soap, so I’m still going back and forth on what superfat percentage to use. If I jump right down from the 12% recipe to a 5%, would it still be gentle enough for face and body? I don’t necessarily need it to be a facial soap, but people tend to want rose soap to be able to be used on face/very gentle. What superfat would you recommend for a more gentle but not super soft? You obviously have way more knowledge and experience than me, so I’ll trust your opinions! 🤪😂😄
 

The_Phoenix

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If I jump right down from the 12% recipe to a 5%, would it still be gentle enough for face and body? 🤪😂😄
The properties of your soap won't change at all. I looked at your recipe and noticed an oil I am unfamiliar with. Could you perhaps post a link to where you sources the rose oil?

Generally, I think of the fats that comprise a recipe in percentages, not their weight measurement. Let's look at your recipe and I'll explain.
This is what your recipe looks like with each as a percentage:
Olive oil: 34%
Coconut oil: 21%
Castor oil: 9%
Cocoa butter: 9%
Shea butter: 9%
Apricot: 9%
Rose oil: 9%
= 100%

Why is this important? Because as you gain experience making soap, you will eventually want to create your own recipes. To do so, you will think of each fat in terms of percentage of the overall recipe.

I won't overwhelm you with much more than that other to plant that seed in your head. But, that specific recipe will always reflect those percentages regardless of how much super fat you decide to settle upon. Having said that, each one of those fats brings a quality to a bar of soap. Again, I won't go much further than that except to plant that seed in your head. The more soap you make, eventually this will all make sense.

But, to answer your question, the properties of the soap will remain the same.

It is possible to make a much smaller batch of soap with the oils you have. This is an important skill to learn, too, because doing so allows you to test recipes without using all of your ingredients.

Using the calculator provided up top, take a look at this:
1619672945327.png


You'll notice towards the top it says "Oils total." I plugged "100" in, which makes one bar of soap. Keep looking down and you'll see that I plugged the superfat in as "8."

Now, take a look at this:

1619673274738.png

This is your recipe, minus the "rose oil" because it is not listed in the list of oils. I replaced that with "Rosehip oil" for the heck of it. You'll see above that I put in the percentages of the fats from your recipe. We don't need to spend too much time talking about the stuff to the right of your recipe, except to plant a seed. What that is, essentially, is a report on the qualities of your soap. Don't worry if it doesn't make sense yet. It will eventually, Again, planting seeds...

What superfat would you recommend for a more gentle but not super soft? You obviously have way more knowledge and experience than me, so I’ll trust your opinions! 🤪😂😄
I'll give you a straightforward answer. My recommendation would be to bump it down to 8%. I think that's a % you would feel comfortable with. The same feeling you get from the 12% would remain, with a good amount of superfat (remember, "superfat" is just a fancy technical way of saying "oil that will not be turned into soap"), and yet it won't be such a soft bar of soap, which means you can unmold it more easily and it won't feel so gooey.

I do want to add one thing. I'm not sure if you like to cook, but I like to think of looking up soaping recipes similar to looking up cooking recipes. Everyone has their take on the best cheesecake, banana nut bread, chocolate chips cookie recipe, chicken enchiladas, etc. At some point, you will make tweaks to those recipes to make it your own. Well, the same can be said of soap. So, I want to plant yet another seed in your head: the idea that you can create your own soap recipe.

Hope this all didn't overwhelm you. Let me know if you have any questions.

:)
 

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KiwiMoose

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Another contributing factor, I'm assuming, is that the 'cracked' soap gelled, but the small soap in the rose moulds didn't. I always have a few smaller 'left over' soaps that don't gel and they do take longer to harden than gelled soap.
I didn't check the water content in your original recipe because the ounces do my head in - but did you have a high water content?
 

JoannaM.

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Help! The second batch turned out way worse than the first cracked batch! The changes I made were changing the superfat from the original 12% recipe to a 8% superfat based on the bramble berry lye calculator. I also put this batch right into the fridge for 12 hours then on the countertop for about 2 days before unmolding and cutting. They looked great on top in the loaf, no crack, but then look aweful and discolored when cut. May be hard to see, but only around the edges is a pretty pink with ugly dark spots everywhere else. I have ordered all ingredient to try the recipe AGAIN, but don’t know what to fix. I changed to a different rose oil, hoping maybe the first was just poor quality, but other ingredients will all be the same.
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ResolvableOwl

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First, I wouldn't say these soaps are ugly. Not yet at least; give them a week of curing time, and another chance to fulfil your expectations.

AFAICS, the dark spots are just air bubbles. Easy to avoid when you pay attention to “burp” the stick blender (hold inclined and release the air bubble) prior to blending. Another thing are the light spots, likely so-called “stearic spots”, that can form when initially cocoa and shea are not heated enough (at least 50°C, until fully clear). They are harmless, but can impart look.

only around the edges is a pretty pink with ugly dark spots everywhere else
People here have mentioned gelling and not gelling. What you have here is most probably partial gel (gel in the central part, no gel at the rims). Heat is liberated during saponification, and this has kept the loaf warm enough in the middle to gel (although in the fridge). It has become more translucent with deeper colours and less opacity, so that it looks darker and less brilliant.
What is your loaf mould like? Wood or thick plastic can insulate the soap quite well, so the fridge can't cool it down quickly enough to prevent gel in the middle of the loaf. Low temperature isn't the best for your recipe anyway, because that fosters stearic spots.

It is difficult to work against gel, so you might work with it instead. Increase your clay, to counteract the dull, waxy look of the gelled soap. Don't cool but (gently) heat the soap loaf (CPOP: put it into a warm, switched off oven). That will give you more reliable results, also with your beautiful individual rose moulds!
 

JoannaM.

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Hi, thanks for the replies from everyone. The dark spots I’m referring to are not the air bubbles, but the brown discoloration everywhere- shown most clearly maybe on the side photos? The mold I use is a wooden 3 pound loaf. So the first batch was uglier with the crack, but atleast a uniform dark pink color all over- these are mostly brown looking except for the pink along the edges. :(
 

ResolvableOwl

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Thanks for adding a photo of your mould.
Hrm. What puzzles me is that the edges of the individual pieces are pink, but both the cut and the outer surfaces have this brownish discolouration. Textbook false trace is expected to have uniform colour on the sides that had contact with the outer wall, and only cut surfaces to have that oval. Sorry, I'm really at a loss with these symptoms rn. Maybe someone else has another idea.
 

JoannaM.

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Would the fact that I used rose water (distilled water and rose petals simmered down) as my liquid instead of plain distilled water make any negative difference in the recipe?? I did so both times I made it and you could see from my other post “crying over cracked soap” that the 1st time was overheated and cracked and now this 2nd batch did who knows what this is! 🤦‍♀️ I also make one using chamomile tea instead of plain distilled and one with brewed coffee instead of plain distilled- doesn’t affect either of the other two recipes...
I decided to change to a different companie’s rose essential oil and hoping possibly a poor quality rose oil could be to blame for the brownish color? I’m still waiting for my supplies to come, but hoping to have a improved recipe game plan with help from you all! :)
 

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