Room Temp Cold Process - have you tried?

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Mestiza Girl

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Unlike many others, I have been only focusing on the room temperature method for making soap. I feel that it is faster in the sense I don't need to track temperatures and wait for oils to cool. I make my lye water and let it sit until the next day. Once it is fully cooled, I weigh out and mix my room temp oils. I add all my fragrances and additives then SB to trace. I pour the room temp soap into the mold and allow it to gel. (Is gel required if I work with this room temp method??)
 

DeeAnna

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I think everyone tries this method at one time or another -- you don't need to qualify for the secret password to be able to use it. ;)

The room temperature method works fine as long as your recipe is mostly or all liquid oils. It doesn't work well for recipes with a high % of solid fats -- the lye solution can't melt a lot of solid fat.

If it works for your recipes, by all means enjoy using this method. If you find it doesn't have enough oomph to melt all the fats, you'll have to go back to adding extra heat to get everything melted.

The method by which you combine the ingredients to make soap has nothing to do with the saponification process that happens after the soap is poured into the mold. Allow the soap to gel or not as you see fit.
 
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Relle

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No, gel is not required when working this way. I prevent gel and put mine in the frig.
 

Mestiza Girl

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No, gel is not required when working this way. I prevent gel and put mine in the frig.
Wow that's great to know. Why do you think people take the risk of partial gel or other things, as opposed to just avoiding the whole gel process? How long does it usually need to sit in the fridge if I do it this way?
 

penelopejane

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Wow that's great to know. Why do you think people take the risk of partial gel or other things, as opposed to just avoiding the whole gel process? How long does it usually need to sit in the fridge if I do it this way?
As well as the advantages that KiwiMoose listed I find gelling soap is easier than avoiding gel so I don't get partial gel.

Gelling soap also makes the soap harden quicker so you can demold a soap quicker which is important if you want to use your mold again quickly.
 
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shunt2011

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Wow that's great to know. Why do you think people take the risk of partial gel or other things, as opposed to just avoiding the whole gel process? How long does it usually need to sit in the fridge if I do it this way?
I prefer gel as it makes the soap harder to get out of the mold sooner, it also makes colors more vibrant. I never get partial gel. I insulate it well and it does it's thing.
 

Relle

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I have to disagree with the soap being vibrant, if you look at photos of mine no problem with that and my soap has never been crumbly. Sometimes I get ash, sometimes I don't, luck of the draw.
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/my-2nd-christmas-soap-cut-pics-added.71997/
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/no-3-cut-pics-added.72040/
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/surprise-cut-pics-added.72284/

I make my soap during the day and put in the frig covered overnight and take out in the morning and demould, then usually let it sit until the next day and cut. Sometimes I can cut same day but prefer it to harden a bit more.
 
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amd

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I have to disagree with the soap being vibrant,
I will second this as well. I had a batch of soap that had over pour, the over pour went into a cavity mold and didn't gel, the loaf mold did gel (quite thoroughly too as I remember, I was actually worried it would volcano as it got quite hot and translucent). The over pour soap had much brighter colors than the loaf mold. It was at this point that I decided that I would let my soaps do what they want to do, gel or not gel. Sometimes they ash, sometimes they don't. I haven't found a correlation with gel and ash. I have found a correlation with FO though - same batch of soap split and fragranced and put into two different molds, both tucked into the same bed. One ashed, one didn't.

Back to the OG Topic...
Unlike many others, I have been only focusing on the room temperature method for making soap. I feel that it is faster in the sense I don't need to track temperatures and wait for oils to cool. I make my lye water and let it sit until the next day. Once it is fully cooled, I weigh out and mix my room temp oils. I add all my fragrances and additives then SB to trace. I pour the room temp soap into the mold and allow it to gel. (Is gel required if I work with this room temp method??)
You will find many RT soapers on the forum. I have done variations of RT soaping since about my 3rd batch 5-1/2 years ago - and I totally thought I invented the method because I couldn't find any blogs or tutorials that did it that way. One thing I would suggest is that if you are having trouble with false trace or getting hard oils thoroughly melted is to melt your oils completely at the same time that you make the lye, and let both set until the next day to cool. The other thing you can do is add fresh made lye solution to your unmelted oils and the heat from the lye solution will melt everything. This method works well if you have hard oils in small amounts.
 

Mobjack Bay

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I’m not sold on the benefits of gel either. I think it’s recipe and additive dependent. Most often I am using lye concentrations of 33% or 37%, and unless I add something like pumpkin or beer, the soaps don’t want to gel for my recipes. When I’m using micas, the colors are bright even if they don’t gel. With some of the natural colorants I use, the colors get deeper and more intense with gel, but not necessarily brighter. I’m actually thinking about revising all of my recipes to 37% lye concentration and then lowering it only if I think there’s a compelling reason. That should keep me out of the zone where I risk partial gel, e.g. with pumpkin as an additive. I also want to add that, so far, I have had no problems with acceleration in my OO and lard based recipes due to using 37%. I haven’t had a chance to test 37% for butter and palm rich recipes, but have noticed that unrefined Shea moves more quickly than refined Shea in the same recipe using 33% lye. I am wary of using palm or butters without getting them fully melted. I rarely get ash, but I have had issues with steric and palmitic spots.
 

DeeAnna

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The interesting thing to me is that at higher lye concentrations, the soap still gets hot (unless you do something to keep it cooler) during saponification even if the soap doesn't necessarily go into the gel state. I suspect this warmth-without-gel creates all of the benefits that we think gel creates. The reason why I suspect this --

The "rescue CPOP" technique I describe on my website calls for the soap to be warmed to the 140F / 60C or higher and it's left at that temp long enough to heat through. The soap definitely does not go into gel -- the soap doesn't soften or become pasty/vaseline like -- but after this heating, the soap sure looks like it did gel. It is firmer and more translucent.
 

Mobjack Bay

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The interesting thing to me is that at higher lye concentrations, the soap still gets hot (unless you do something to keep it cooler) during saponification even if the soap doesn't necessarily go into the gel state. I suspect this warmth-without-gel creates all of the benefits that we think gel creates. The reason why I suspect this --

The "rescue CPOP" technique I describe on my website calls for the soap to be warmed to the 140F / 60C or higher and it's left at that temp long enough to heat through. The soap definitely does not go into gel -- the soap doesn't soften or become pasty/vaseline like -- but after this heating, the soap sure looks like it did gel. It is firmer and more translucent.
That’s an interesting idea and I have an observation that may support it. My results with individual cavity molds improved significantly with two changes in technique. First, I started bringing the soap to light trace, not late emulsion. Even though I’m trying to get ultra smooth tops on the bars, the extra mixing seems to ensure that the saponification reaction really kicks in before the temperature of the batter drops. Second, I put the trays of poured soap bars into an oven that is thoroughly preheated to 140F. I also preheat a pizza stone on the bottom shelf. With the stone in the oven, the temperature drops more slowly after I turn the oven off, which is just before I add the trays of soap. I doubt my soap is staying at 140F due to either of those factors alone, but possibly it does due to the combined effects. If I can remember, I will take the surface temps of the bars after 10 and 30 min or so the next time I make a batch.
 

penelopejane

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That’s an interesting idea and I have an observation that may support it. My results with individual cavity molds improved significantly with two changes in technique. First, I started bringing the soap to light trace, not late emulsion. Even though I’m trying to get ultra smooth tops on the bars, the extra mixing seems to ensure that the saponification reaction really kicks in before the temperature of the batter drops. Second, I put the trays of poured soap bars into an oven that is thoroughly preheated to 140F. I also preheat a pizza stone on the bottom shelf. With the stone in the oven, the temperature drops more slowly after I turn the oven off, which is just before I add the trays of soap. I doubt my soap is staying at 140F due to either of those factors alone, but possibly it does due to the combined effects. If I can remember, I will take the surface temps of the bars after 10 and 30 min or so the next time I make a batch.
You say you don't gel your soap but you are forcing gel with this method. Regardless of your lye concentration.

I have to disagree with the soap being vibrant, if you look at photos of mine no problem with that and my soap has never been crumbly. Sometimes I get ash, sometimes I don't, luck of the draw.
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/my-2nd-christmas-soap-cut-pics-added.71997/
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/no-3-cut-pics-added.72040/
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/surprise-cut-pics-added.72284/

I make my soap during the day and put in the frig covered overnight and take out in the morning and demould, then usually let it sit until the next day and cut. Sometimes I can cut same day but prefer it to harden a bit more.
Your soaps are lovely and vibrant. I think the extra depth you get with gel is discernible if you make the exact same recipe and gel one and don't gel the other.
 

DeeAnna

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You say you don't gel your soap but you are forcing gel with this method. Regardless of your lye concentration....
I respectfully disagree. If the lye concentration is sufficiently high enough (in other words, the water content is low enough), the soap will not go into gel with a typical CPOP method.

There are three things that support my statement. The SMF challenge about high and low water soaps which I participated in, Auntie Clara (Lindberg)'s experiments with high and low water soap in which she used CPOP to preferentially cause the high water soap to gel while the low water soap did not, and my experience with my soap in general and specifically the soaps I've put through the "rescue CPOP" method.

All three show the typical CPOP temperature does not force a low water soap to go into the gel phase, although this temperature does ensure a high water soap will gel.
 

Mobjack Bay

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You say you don't gel your soap but you are forcing gel with this method. Regardless of your lye concentration.
In this presentation, Kevin Dunn indicated that soaps at or above 33% lye concentration won’t gel unless the temperature reaches 160F or above. Clara Lindbergh has also written on the same topic, for example:

“High water soap enters full gel phase at a lower temp than low water soap and we managed to manipulate the temperature so that it was high enough for the high water soap to enter full gel phase, but too low for the low water soap to enter gel phase.”

https://auntieclaras.com/2015/10/ghost-swirl-soap-follow-up/

But it’s a bit more complicated than that because, if I’m reading the info at the next link correctly, the low water soaps may be going into gel phase very quickly and for a very short duration due to the combined effects of saponification and an oven temperature of 140F (60C).

https://auntieclaras.com/2014/05/glycerine-rivers-trying-to-understand-them/

I turned to the 140F oven approach because I was having problems with stable emulsion batter partially/almost, but not quite, separating in individual cavity molds. The batter was sitting on the counter getting colder and colder and it seemed that I may have landed on a combination of emulsion and temperature where it almost, but not quite, separated before it was saponified enough to become soap. (Excuse my less than stellar explanation of what I think was happening. I need to up my game on soap making terminology.)

I honestly don’t know whether or not the soaps I’m making now in the individual molds are gelling. I’m not seeing obvious visual signs of gelling when the lye concentration is 37%, but I could be missing what may be a very short phase. When I get a chance, I will try cracking one of my soaps, the way Clara did, to see if the internal structure is crystalline.

ETA: DeeAnna posted before I finished my post...
 
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penelopejane

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I respectfully disagree. If the lye concentration is sufficiently high enough (in other words, the water content is low enough), the soap will not go into gel with a typical CPOP method.

There are three things that support my statement. The SMF challenge about high and low water soaps which I participated in, Auntie Clara (Lindberg)'s experiments with high and low water soap in which she used CPOP to preferentially cause the high water soap to gel while the low water soap did not, and my experience with my soap in general and specifically the soaps I've put through the "rescue CPOP" method.

All three show the typical CPOP temperature does not force a low water soap to go into the gel phase, although this temperature does ensure a high water soap will gel.
Thanks DeeAnna and Mobjack.
Oh, well, that really throws a cat amongst the pigeons. I use about 32% lye concentration on soap calc (I use another calculator) so I’m not 100% sure I’m gelling my soap then, but I do soap warm and insulate them. :(

But, I don’t get ash, or glycerine rivers or partial gel and I do get soap that hardens quickly enough to demold within 12 hours and has a deep colour so I’m happy.
 
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DeeAnna

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As I said before, it's my opinion that getting the soap to gel isn't strictly required; it's getting the soap warm enough that is the real key. What I mean by warm is the usual CPOP temp of 140F / 60C, give or take a few degrees. Or whatever the temp needs to be for your particular recipe so a higher-water batch would probably go into gel, but a lower-water batch won't necessarily gel.

I do not believe any more that a soap has to actually go into the semi-liquid state we call "gel" to gain the advantages of hardness and translucency. I believe getting the soap sufficiently warm is sufficient -- makes no difference whether it gels or doesn't.
 

penelopejane

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As I said before, it's my opinion that getting the soap to gel isn't strictly required; it's getting the soap warm enough that is the real key. What I mean by warm is the usual CPOP temp of 140F / 60C, give or take a few degrees. Or whatever the temp needs to be for your particular recipe so a higher-water batch would probably go into gel, but a lower-water batch won't necessarily gel.

I do not believe any more that a soap has to actually go into the semi-liquid state we call "gel" to gain the advantages of hardness and translucency. I believe getting the soap sufficiently warm is sufficient -- makes no difference whether it gels or doesn't.
Thanks for clarifying it all for me.

I soap at 42*C and then insulate it. It stays warm for hours.
I used to CPOP at 110*F (42*C) and I try and emulate that with the wooden molds and polystyrene box covered with a doona that I currently use.

I’ll try and sneak down and take the soap temp an hour or so into saponification next time I make a loaf. And, I’ll try and stop saying I gel my soap!
 

DeeAnna

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I think most of us will still say we "gel our soap" because it's a well known phrase that is more or less what actually happens a lot of the time. It took me a long time to tumble to the fact that many of my batches looked like they "went through gel" even when I knew they didn't actually gel. And even then, I had to watch even longer before I made up my mind that I really was seeing what I was seeing.

It's like the name "glycerin rivers" -- pretty much everyone knows what this means, even if it's not really very accurate.
 
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