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Sagebrush

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I was wondering if you can use a regular salt bar recipe and just make it soleseife style. I'm wondering because I have a salt bar recipe that is tried and true for me that I absolutely love, and I don't want to change any oils, percentages, or any other factors...I just want the salt to be dissolved. Has anyone used their regular salt bar recipe and just made it soleseife style, or know if this works?
 

not_ally

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Sage, do you mean dissolving the salt in the lye water rather than adding at trace, not sure if I am reading your post correctly? If so, I don't exceed 25% salt to water w/brine, I've read that 26% is the most you can do before hitting the solubility limit. I do really like brine bars, though - I just use my regular recipe and "brine" it by adding the salt to the water. I think they have much of the benefits of salt bars, plus the convenience (eg, don't have to do eternal salt bar cure) and look of regular soap.

ETA: I do babysit them carefully for cutting, though, like salt bars they harden fast, often w/in a couple of hours depending on the FO.
 
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Obsidian

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You can use any recipe for a soleseife bar but you won't be able to use as much salt. You can only dissolve so much salt in your water before it becomes saturated.
 

Sagebrush

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Thanks, guys! Yes, not_ally, that's what I was asking. That's good to know not to exceed 25% salt to water ratio. I wondered if there was something to look out for like that. I was reading through the thread about solubility and just kind of got lost :)

ETA: I do babysit them carefully for cutting, though, like salt bars they harden fast, often w/in a couple of hours depending on the FO.

I've learned to watch my salt bars! With a recent batch I set a timer for two hours after I poured and that was still too long...should've cut at one hour. Bah!
 

not_ally

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It is kind of cool how fast they get hard. Often when I cut they are hard on the outside and still a little warm/soft in the middle of the log. Tricky, but fun.

Also, regarding "melting" the salt, I heat up my liquid in the mw, add the salt, mix it until it is all dissolved (usually pretty quick b/c the liquid is warm/hot) and then put it in the fridge to cool before I add the lye. No problems with the salt dissolving doing this, which I have read is sometimes an issue. The lye liquid is thicker than it is for non-brine soaps, and I do strain it, but the small bit of residual gooky liquid at the bottom of the strainer is easy to push through with a spoon.
 

Sagebrush

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It is kind of cool how fast they get hard. Often when I cut they are hard on the outside and still a little warm/soft in the middle of the log. Tricky, but fun.

Also, regarding "melting" the salt, I heat up my liquid in the mw, add the salt, mix it until it is all dissolved (usually pretty quick b/c the liquid is warm/hot) and then put it in the fridge to cool before I add the lye. No problems with the salt dissolving doing this, which I have read is sometimes an issue. The lye liquid is thicker than it is for non-brine soaps, and I do strain it, but the small bit of residual gooky liquid at the bottom of the strainer is easy to push through with a spoon.

I like how fast they get hard too. Having to cut them right away makes me feel like I've gotten more accomplished that day! :) Plus, my salt bars are the only batches I don't have to wait for my husband to help cut. We do the whole two-person fish-line with gloves cutting technique.

That's a good idea for dissolving the salt. I'm gonna have to use that one.

I'll probably make a 1lb test batch today and see how it goes, then go big later this week. Thanks for your input, not_ally!
 

not_ally

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I had bookmarked this blog post long ago b/c it was interesting but I really didn't understand it :) I just reread it and am still not clear on it. Basically, the blogger seems to be doing a split method w/salt and sort of making a combo brine/salt bar.

The part I don't understand is how it really allows you to get more salt into the mix and retain the brine bar benefits. Ie; you'd add much less salt up front to the lye liquid, since you would have less of it, but maybe you could add much more to the second half of the liquid that was getting added at trace b/c that usually just gets added "straight" instead of being dissolved? Anyway, thought it was interesting and worth seeing if someone else could explain it to me :)

https://halcyonbaths.wordpress.com/?s=brine
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I had bookmarked this blog post long ago b/c it was interesting but I really didn't understand it :) I just reread it and am still not clear on it. Basically, the blogger seems to be doing a split method w/salt and sort of making a combo brine/salt bar.

The part I don't understand is how it really allows you to get more salt into the mix and retain the brine bar benefits. Ie; you'd add much less salt up front to the lye liquid, since you would have less of it, but maybe you could add much more to the second half of the liquid that was getting added at trace b/c that usually just gets added "straight" instead of being dissolved? Anyway, thought it was interesting and worth seeing if someone else could explain it to me :)

https://halcyonbaths.wordpress.com/?s=brine
It seems that she adds no salt to the lye solution, but makes a much heavier solution with the other half of the water, which is why she comes to the theory that the end amount of salt is likely to be the same (if you make a normal lye solution with your salt, you can go to around 25%. She makes a 50% solution with half of the water, which is then a 25% solution when calculated with all of the water, based on a 2:1 ratio)

That being the case, I don't see the need for her higher CO (and resulting SF increase) as it is in essence a normal brine soap, but with the salt water added in rather than being part of the lye solution.
 

not_ally

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I wondered about the CO/SF percentages as well, EG, this seemed more like a brine than a salt soap so they seemed high. Still can't tell if this method has any discernible benefits over a regular brine bar, does it in your opinion?
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I really don't know to be honest - is making a lye solution WITH the salt harder than making a 1.1:1 lye solution AND the 50% salt solution? I really can't see it being better or worse per se, other than how people feel comfortable working. If you master batch your lye, it means you can make a 50% salt solution and go straight at it, but as I mix my lye as I need it, I think I'd do it all in one pot.
 

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An amount of water can only dissolve so much 'stuff' before the solute starts to come out of solution. I am guessing this method ensures that all the lye and salt stays in solution during the process, so that there is not undissolved lye or salt as there might be in a combined mix.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Aye - but the 25% salt limit helps there. One major issue is that the order that you dissolve them in is vital. As I can't for the life of me remember which order is the right one, I would think that making the two batches would remove the headache and ensure both salt and lye are okay.
 

kchaystack

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Aye - but the 25% salt limit helps there. One major issue is that the order that you dissolve them in is vital. As I can't for the life of me remember which order is the right one, I would think that making the two batches would remove the headache and ensure both salt and lye are okay.
I remember Deeanna and others saying, always add salt and sugar before lye.
 

FlybyStardancer

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An amount of water can only dissolve so much 'stuff' before the solute starts to come out of solution. I am guessing this method ensures that all the lye and salt stays in solution during the process, so that there is not undissolved lye or salt as there might be in a combined mix.
Except in this case, if there's not enough water to dissolve everything, the lye will bump the NaCl out of solution because NaCl is less soluble than NaOH. You won't have undissolved lye.
 

dibbles

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Those are beautiful - thanks for sharing. I need to make some salt bars - might have to try this instead. I'm thinking a simple swirl could even be incorporated, which I wouldn't even attempt with a regular salt bar.
 

DeeAnna

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Yes, add salt to the water before lye. The lye will all dissolve regardless, but the salt will act differently depending on the order in which you add it.

If you dissolve salt first before lye, then if any salt comes back out of solution when you add the lye, the salt particles will be very tiny and the salt-water-lye solution may look white but entirely liquid-y.

If you dissolve salt after lye, not all of the salt may dissolve and full size salt granules will remain in the bottom of your lye container (and thus end up in your soap unless you strain them out).

In plain water, you can't make a 50% salt (NaCl) solution, meaning 1000 g of salt dissolved in 1000 g of water. You can only dissolve 360 g of salt in 1000 g of water at room temperature. This makes a solution that has a salt concentration of about 26%:

salt concentration = 360 / (360 + 1000) X 100 = 26.4%

And, yes, add sugar before lye too!

ETA: For some of the science-y background, see also my Post 6 in this thread: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showpost.php?p=414926&postcount=6
 
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navigator9

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You can avoid the whole problem of when to cut by using individual molds. Brine bars pop out of them nice and cleanly. Which reminds me that my best friend has been whining about being on her last bar, guess it's time to make her some. :)

brine bars.jpg
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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As it is called soleseife and I'm living here in a German-speaking country, I think I should join you in making a batch, too.
 

not_ally

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Craig, you definitely should, they are really nice. Navigator, v. pretty, creamy and "briny" looking.

Dibbles, you could def. swirl with brine bars, I usually do (two or three colors). The only time I have had it speed a little is when I have used an FO which I know accelerates a bit, so just pick one that doesn't if you use them. A speedy FO can make it more crumbly/harder to cut as well, I think.
 

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