Soap dough and late superfat/colour/FO addition

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
454
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Germany
CP puts a lot of strain on ingredients (this is intentional to break up the oil molecules, but not so much for whatever might be sensitive to concentrated lye). One popular way to circumvent this is HP, and add the more sensitive ingredients only after saponification is (mostly) done.

However, the heat involved in cooking the batter is not the important part in this, but the opportunity to tune composition after the major part of the saponification reaction. HP is just a conveniently quick way to achieve this.

Leaving out the cooking step, however, leaves us with soap dough, i. e. fully saponified soap that has been kept from curing by storing it air locked. Now, wouldn't be this a good time to eventually add lye-sensitive things? Knead in FOs/EOs, colourants, specialty superfats, etc. in a way how you would incorporate something into a bread or biscuit dough.
The obvious drawback is that “liquid” designs (swirls, mica lines, scrape-off layering etc., but also precise mould casting) are impossible – but IMHO this is at least balanced by the plethora of fun things to do with soap dough!

After adjusting the final composition, one can still decide to force gel/CPOP the soap, or not. One could even masterbatch complete soaps in huge quantities (universal, neutral soap dough) for weeks in advance, without compromising flexibility in fragrance/colour/additives or shape, and without the hassle that comes with conventional (hot) rebatch.

Has someone heard of such a “HP late superfat, just without heat” method, or done it already?

(Unless someone comes up with reasons why this is a terrible idea, I will try it for sure – once I'm through with my challenge submission.)
 

Mobjack Bay

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
3,063
Reaction score
5,936
Location
Virginia
I can’t recall reading anything about adding a superfat to soap dough, but @linne added a citrus eo to soap dough with good results and I think @Tara_H may have cpop‘d a very cool looking soap dough soap a few weeks back. Wild Plantanica (on IG) has used natural colorants in soap dough, but only the ones that don’t need to be cpop’d to get the right color.
 

Tara_H

Mad scientist
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
671
Reaction score
1,938
Location
Ireland
@Tara_H may have cpop‘d a very cool looking soap dough soap a few weeks back.
Thanks for remembering me 😊 yes, that soap was CPOP'ED and it seems to have joined together nicely.

@ResolvableOwl I haven't tried superfatting specifically, but are you intending for it to be a workable soap dough texture afterwards? Or something more like HP/rebatch but without the heat? Certainly I've found that it seems to take a lot more colour if done at the dough stage rather than before saponification.

Can't wait to see your next round of experiments!
 

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
454
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Germany
Initial attempt with an “accidental” soap dough, reused from an otherwise failed project. Finally a chance for my long-standing “chocolate as late HP addition” idea – just without HP!

I melted dark chocolate and added 20% into part of the light soap dough as good as I could. Heck, that stuff likes to stick to my fingers a lot more than to the soap dough! Eventually, I had incorporated it, and proceeded with a “danish pastry”-type envelope:
chocolate_danish_pastry.jpg
After sealing the packet, it is rolled (between plastic sheets), folded into thirds, rotated by 90°, and repeated a few times (Heavily inspired by multi-layer marble bread).

The result (after shaping it into handy pucks; I couldn't resist to cut one open):
chocolate_marble_dough.jpg

I'm super curious how this looks like when washing off layer by layer at the sink!


ETA: An uncoloured, intentionally lye-heavy soap dough is in the making, so that I can knead in fatty additions (like infused oils) with gloves only, but without risk of excessive superfat troubles.
 
Last edited:

glendam

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
Messages
374
Reaction score
728
Location
77063
Initial attempt with an “accidental” soap dough, reused from an otherwise failed project. Finally a chance for my long-standing “chocolate as late HP addition” idea – just without HP!

I melted dark chocolate and added 20% into part of the light soap dough as good as I could. Heck, that stuff likes to stick to my fingers a lot more than to the soap dough! Eventually, I had incorporated it, and proceeded with a “danish pastry”-type envelope:
View attachment 56452
After sealing the packet, it is rolled (between plastic sheets), folded into thirds, rotated by 90°, and repeated a few times (Heavily inspired by multi-layer marble bread).

The result (after shaping it into handy pucks; I couldn't resist to cut one open):
View attachment 56449

I'm super curious how this looks like when washing off layer by layer at the sink!


ETA: An uncoloured, intentionally lye-heavy soap dough is in the making, so that I can knead in fatty additions (like infused oils) with gloves only, but without risk of excessive superfat troubles.
I look forward to hear the results of your intentional lye heavy soap, my fear would be that it becomes too crumbly
 

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
454
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Germany
We'll see. So far it appears still reasonably plastic (at room temperature, will be better with kneading). For sure I am doubly paranoid with locking out air, since I not only don't want evaporation/drying, but must avoid the excess lye to pull CO₂ from the air to form heaps of soda ash.
Maybe I'll knead the first few soaps as soon as tonight.
 

Tara_H

Mad scientist
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
671
Reaction score
1,938
Location
Ireland
Initial attempt with an “accidental” soap dough, reused from an otherwise failed project. Finally a chance for my long-standing “chocolate as late HP addition” idea – just without HP!

I melted dark chocolate and added 20% into part of the light soap dough as good as I could. Heck, that stuff likes to stick to my fingers a lot more than to the soap dough! Eventually, I had incorporated it, and proceeded with a “danish pastry”-type envelope:
View attachment 56452
After sealing the packet, it is rolled (between plastic sheets), folded into thirds, rotated by 90°, and repeated a few times (Heavily inspired by multi-layer marble bread).

The result (after shaping it into handy pucks; I couldn't resist to cut one open):
View attachment 56449

I'm super curious how this looks like when washing off layer by layer at the sink!


ETA: An uncoloured, intentionally lye-heavy soap dough is in the making, so that I can knead in fatty additions (like infused oils) with gloves only, but without risk of excessive superfat troubles.
So hard to convince my brain that's soap, it looks just like something really tasty!
 

Johnez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
99
Reaction score
186
Location
Omaha, NE
Wow, now I know why soap dough was referenced in the microbatch thread. This is so cool.

So to incorporate a superfat, you'd simply knead it in without the addition of heat? I'm wondering if this would work with butters, as someone mentioned extruding or dicing dough (maybe with a potato ricer or similar device) I can see it being possible. I'm curious as to where HP fits in all this however, the point of which is to introduce an outside heat source, but it appears you've completely avoided that and yet gained some of the HP benefits (late addition superfat and/or fragrance). Seems more like "CP process with HP benefits and other cool possibilities" soap dough.

This presents some interesting possibilities with regards to test batches. One could conceivably add in different butters to multiple portions cut from the same master batch and drastically decrease the waiting between experiments-having everything ready at once! So many possibilities. I suppose success depends on how well you can incorporate late additions.

One question-is the batch being lye heavy a requirement?
 
Last edited:

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
454
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Germany
Well, the “cold” in cold process is a relative term anyway. Working with butters, soy wax etc. requires elevated temperatures in any case, and soap dough likes this too. Gelling or not gelling is the question. I don't know (yet) how easy it is to CPOP dough soap through gel phase (if desired). But if you wish to not gel, it is indeed tempting to have HP privileges without HP troubles.

I went lye-heavy since I wanted to add a sizeable amount of oils (10% of total oils) late, and wanted them at least to be partially saponified, unlike specialty oils advertised as distinguished superfat in HP soaps.

A possible route without lye-heavy dough would use neutral soap dough, and make a simple soap batter (butter + lye + water) to incorporate at the late stage, maybe even in three steps (neutral dough + “butter booster” stage with lye + superfat). But in both cases you'll have to somehow deal with not fully saponified oils and free lye during mixing.
The only way around is to keep oil additions so low (few %) that the addition wouldn't make any difference anyway (except for ruining lather). Good for fragances, colourants etc., but of little use for modification of the fatty acid profile itself.

And it won't speed up the feedback process notably. Regardless if you mix all the oils/butters at once, or wait with the final additions, there is no shortcut to curing times to judge the effects of an ingredient. A masterbatched soap base only speeds up the things to do on experimentation day – barring uncertainty of ageing of the dough itself.

Extruders etc. are a great tool to ease thorough mixing. In my danish pastry soap above, I wanted to avoid this to keep some layering intact (though, the initial dough should be homogeneous, which meant some pain indeed). I'm certain I'll get one at some time in the (hopefully more than less) distant future.
 

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
454
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Germany
it looks just like something really tasty!
I'll repeat this in exactly the same way, but with marzipan and gianduja, then send one of them to you, and you have to decide (with closed nose) if you want to bite into it or not. 🤣

Joke aside (but somewhat off-topic). I seriously consider remaking this based on marzipan. Just like margarine has proven to be a viable mock-CP swirl batter, marzipan might be confectioner's favourite replacement for soap dough.
 

Mobjack Bay

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
3,063
Reaction score
5,936
Location
Virginia
For the lye heavy soap, would it work to add the extra oil to the bag with the dough, seal the bag back up and then knead the oil and dough together in the closed bag?
 

Johnez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
99
Reaction score
186
Location
Omaha, NE
I went lye-heavy since I wanted to add a sizeable amount of oils (10% of total oils) late, and wanted them at least to be partially saponified, unlike specialty oils advertised as distinguished superfat in HP soaps.

A possible route without lye-heavy dough would use neutral soap dough, and make a simple soap batter (butter + lye + water) to incorporate at the late stage, maybe even in three steps (neutral dough + “butter booster” stage with lye + superfat). But in both cases you'll have to somehow deal with not fully saponified oils and free lye during mixing.
The only way around is to keep oil additions so low (few %) that the addition wouldn't make any difference anyway (except for ruining lather). Good for fragances, colourants etc., but of little use for modification of the fatty acid profile itself.

And it won't speed up the feedback process notably. Regardless if you mix all the oils/butters at once, or wait with the final additions, there is no shortcut to curing times to judge the effects of an ingredient. A masterbatched soap base only speeds up the things to do on experimentation day – barring uncertainty of ageing of the dough itself.
My thought was basically saving the step of making a separate batch for each individual change by separating each portion with its own iteration and letting them all cure at once. A side benefit (maybe the biggest from a scientific point of view) is you wouldn't have to worry about if a certain batch didn't turn out right because of a different set of conditions from another batch as they all have the same starting *and* curing conditions.
 
Last edited:

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
8,179
Reaction score
8,474
Location
Western Illinois, USA
I am confused by the discussion of gelling or not gelling soap dough, or maybe I am misunderstanding the purpose.

Gel speeds up saponification, but why would that be desired or necessary with soap dough? Because you want to be able to handle it sooner? To get more vibrant colors? To make a potentially more translucent soap dough? Just curious.

All soap saponifies, whether gelled or not, even when kept in the refrigerator (in a plastic bag, of course, to keep the air from drying it out).
 

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
454
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Germany
For the lye heavy soap, would it work to add the extra oil to the bag with the dough, seal the bag back up and then knead the oil and dough together in the closed bag?
Great idea! I was about to knead the dough and the oil together in a bowl with hands/gloves, but this appears to scale up a lot better. I will try both and report back.

@Johnez Ah, you mean something like a repeated scale-out parameter scan? Yes, that makes sense, although, if you want to make all soaps of one “iteration” at once, you don't need the dough step! Just make a basic soap batter, divide and melt the butters into the small portions, and treat them like normal CP/CPOP.
Food for thought to obtain training data sets for @Tara_H's ML project ;)

I am confused by the discussion of gelling or not gelling soap dough, or maybe I am misunderstanding the purpose.

Gel speeds up saponification, but why would that be desired or necessary with soap dough? Because you want to be able to handle it sooner? To get more vibrant colors? To make a potentially more translucent soap dough? Just curious.
Uh, dunno. I won't bother to CPOP my dough soaps (we'll se if this will revenge with stearic spots). It's just that the possibility exists to avoid and/or force gel to taste, while in HP gelling is obviously unavoidable.
My point is, the soap dough detour appears the only way (as far as I overlook it) to get an ungelled soap with a well-defined superfat or heat-sensitive ingredients.

With a different reading of your comment, you're raising another point that I didn't find an answer to yet: Is soap dough itself of any use if it undergoes gel during its initial preparation? All sources I found either avoided gel or didn't really care/mention. HP soap dough, anyone? I can't really predict if gel phase does something to the consistency that makes gelled soap dough inferior to ungelled. Sounds like yet another thing to try out. 🤪
 

Tara_H

Mad scientist
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
671
Reaction score
1,938
Location
Ireland
I won't bother to CPOP my dough soaps
I was (perhaps wrongly) assuming that you might CPOP the finished soap after you had finished the adjustments.

For this soap I assembled all the pieces with ungelled dough over a few days, and once it was completed I CPOP'ed the whole thing to encourage the various elements to combine into a solid bar.

I may be entirely wrong on this point, but in my mind using CPOP to bring it to a full gel state would almost 'reset' the soap and allow the crystallization to proceed as normal since the molecules would be more free to move around while in this state.
 

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
454
Reaction score
1,057
Location
Germany
Well, all is not lost. I'm open to being persuaded otherwise. Actually, when I'm done with the samples (mostly colour tests), unmoulded from individual silicone moulds, I'm considering to cut each in half, and subject them to (“emergency”) CPOP.

By the way, in view of soaps like this, has someone already told you that your are TERMINALLY INSANE???
 

Latest posts

Top