Soap Dough Techniques

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TashaBird

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If I'm pretending to be wise, the best platitude I've got is, "Don't fix what's not broken."
Substitute water for the FO/EO amount, and if your recipe usually makes good soap dough with the additives, don't remove the additives. Also, different colorants (even among Mica) do make harder or softer dough, so be prepared to add more water or oil to charcoal, TD, clay, and finely ground Micas, just as you would have to do to pre-disperse them and keep the trace slow.
As with all recipe changes, I'd recommend a small batch of soap dough to start with, to make sure that the water instead of FO still works as dough.
I feel like I’m going to have to start all over to find a soap dough recipe. Maybe I can look up one of the good ones online and see if I can compare it to mine.
I’ve got such a huge useless mess to clean up.
 

TashaBird

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Sorry for kvetching. It’s just not the super fun soaping day I had planned.
 

TashaBird

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I don’t see how mine could be so drastically different than this one. I don’t work with a lot of lard. I use tallow in everything. I just don’t understand why it made such good soap dough before and got so hard and crumbly overnight this time!
Back to the drawing board I guess.
Maybe going from lye at %33 to %30.
Then maybe also reducing tallow from %50 to %40? Increasing my avocado, castor, and RBOs?
Here is Bee’s free recipe, BTW. She also sells dough on the website.
Sorcery Soap
 

GemstonePony

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I don’t see how mine could be so drastically different than this one. I don’t work with a lot of lard. I use tallow in everything. I just don’t understand why it made such good soap dough before and got so hard and crumbly overnight this time!
Back to the drawing board I guess.
Maybe going from lye at %33 to %30.
Then maybe also reducing tallow from %50 to %40? Increasing my avocado, castor, and RBOs?
Here is Bee’s free recipe, BTW. She also sells dough on the website.
Sorcery Soap
My unscientific theory: your soap was hard because the liquid content (FO and sugar) was lower, and crumbly because the sodium lactate wasn't helping it hold together. If the recipe makes a good dough without those things, you wouldn't want to add them, but if it makes a good dough with those things, I wouldn't remove them.
 

TashaBird

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My unscientific theory: your soap was hard because the liquid content (FO and sugar) was lower, and crumbly because the sodium lactate wasn't helping it hold together. If the recipe makes a good dough without those things, you wouldn't want to add them, but if it makes a good dough with those things, I wouldn't remove them.
Ok. I’ll back up and do a small batch with sugar and SL, and increased water to equal EO removed. Do you think I should also change the ratios of hard and liquid fats?
 

TashaBird

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I would just sub water for FO for now. If that doesn't work, then maybe try Bee's recipe, rather than reinvent the wheel.
Shoot. I should just make a big batch of pull throughs (which at least I can do!) and use the left overs for dough. That’s been working. This was my loaf recipe though, which is %50 tallow, and my pull through is %30. Hmmm
 

GemstonePony

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Shoot. I should just make a big batch of pull throughs (which at least I can do!) and use the left overs for dough. That’s been working. This was my loaf recipe though, which is %50 tallow, and my pull through is %30. Hmmm
Wait, if the pull-through recipe gives good dough, why wouldn't you make a batch of that for dough?
 

AliOop

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Shoot. I should just make a big batch of pull throughs (which at least I can do!) and use the left overs for dough. That’s been working. This was my loaf recipe though, which is %50 tallow, and my pull through is %30. Hmmm
Ugh, so sorry for the stressful day. Having to toss our precious ingredients is heart-breaking!

I think you and GP probably just nailed it: you changed the additives, AND you added a lot more of a hard oil that makes very hard soap. And I agree with GP that it's probably worth making a small batch of your pull-through recipe just for soap dough, since you know it works.
 

TashaBird

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Wait, if the pull-through recipe gives good dough, why wouldn't you make a batch of that for dough?
Oooooh! Make a whole batch of pull through recipe for soap dough. Yeah. That’s what I should probably do. I’ve got a loaf recipe (%50 hard) and a pull through recipe (%30 hard). I might split the difference with a higher water content, like from %33 down to %30.
 

TashaBird

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I have made good SD from my loaf recipe too. But it did have higher water and %5 EOs PPO.
Thanks for empathizing my frustration and loss from today. It was a learning moment. Painful, because as I often do, I got ahead of myself. I really did think it was gonna be right on! 😞
 

GemstonePony

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Oooooh! Make a whole batch of pull through recipe for soap dough. Yeah. That’s what I should probably do. I’ve got a loaf recipe (%50 hard) and a pull through recipe (%30 hard). I might split the difference with a higher water content, like from %33 down to %30.
Yes! Exactly! I'd still start with a small batch just to be sure, but let us know how it goes.
 

Jersey Girl

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I have made good SD from my loaf recipe too. But it did have higher water and %5 EOs PPO.
Thanks for empathizing my frustration and loss from today. It was a learning moment. Painful, because as I often do, I got ahead of myself. I really did think it was gonna be right on! 😞
Have you tried Sorcery Soap free recipe. It’s very simple and she says it makes a great dough. It’s the one that’s 50% Lard, 30% CO, and 20% Soybean although she says you can use Olive or Castor which I would do personally.
She uses 33% lye concentration
 

TashaBird

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Have you tried Sorcery Soap free recipe. It’s very simple and she says it makes a great dough. It’s the one that’s 50% Lard, 30% CO, and 20% Soybean although she says you can use Olive or Castor which I would do personally.
She uses 33% lye concentration
I posted that recipe above. But, I Have used my regular soap recipe before, and I’m hoping to just stick with it.
Do you think embeds made with that SS recipe will weld into my soap ok? I kind of worry about that.
 

KimW

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Ugh - frustrating indeed. I'm sorry, Tasha!
I've been thinking about and following this post all day. I've been wondering: Is there a reason you want to use a different recipe from your pull-through recipe for soap dough? If you know that recipe works, why change anything - even the water amount? I'm guessing I've missed something and there's something about the soap dough from that recipe that isn't quite right...(?)

Follow those big dreams, lady!!
 

dibbles

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I've used the Sorcery Soap recipe, and it makes very nice soap dough. I think it would work as an embed in your soap. I would make sure it gels and only test a small batch to be sure though.
 

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A I agree with @GemstonePony. Colorants with TD and clays, can do that. I lost a soap dough mini batch to activated charcoal as well. Hopefully you can still use it, it does seem like moisture was lost in either lack of EO vs before, or by being absorbed by any of the other ingredients (like Ac)
 

TashaBird

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Ugh - frustrating indeed. I'm sorry, Tasha!
I've been thinking about and following this post all day. I've been wondering: Is there a reason you want to use a different recipe from your pull-through recipe for soap dough? If you know that recipe works, why change anything - even the water amount? I'm guessing I've missed something and there's something about the soap dough from that recipe that isn't quite right...(?)

Follow those big dreams, lady!!
I’d like to have some unscented, and it can take awhile for my pull rough left over batter to firm up enough. So, I’m going to try to meet in the middle given all these factors.

I've used the Sorcery Soap recipe, and it makes very nice soap dough. I think it would work as an embed in your soap. I would make sure it gels and only test a small batch to be sure though.
I don’t have any lard, so I’m going to give it another go with a variation on my regular recipes, given what I learned in this fiasco. Also, this will be a smaller batch!
I watched a tutorial recently that said to specifically prevent gelling. Like keep everything under 90F, pour into a plastic airtight bag, lay flat on a cool counter. Can you explain a bit about why you say to make sure that it does gel?
 

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