Soap goes to trace near instantly! Help!

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by TNsoaper, Apr 30, 2014.

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  1. Apr 30, 2014 #1

    TNsoaper

    TNsoaper

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    Okay, so I was making an experimental batch of shaving soap. In the soap was about 30% Tallow, 20% lard and oils such as grape, olive and 76F coconut oil. I also put in a good amount of stearic acid and some clay for the slip.

    My lye was sodium hydroxide and I got the oils down to about 115-118 Fahrenheit and the lye water was around 100F. I had my stick blender barely moving and I began to trickle in the lye and to my surprise - BAM! It turned instantly into the thickest mess you'd ever seen. I'd equate the thickness to cookie dough.

    I quickly added more water until I could work with it, turned up the heat and waited for the worst. To my surprise it used up the water and eventually (about an hour) it became very pourable. However, it would harden FAST if the heat began to drop.

    It made beautiful soap and lathered up like mad, but what gives? Why the instant super thick trace?
     
  2. Apr 30, 2014 #2

    FlybyStardancer

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    Adding pure stearic acid to soap tends to do that. That's why a lot of shaving soaps are meant to be HP'd.
     
  3. Apr 30, 2014 #3

    Krazekelly

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    Yep, I HP my shaving soap with stearic acid. Found that out the first time I tried it also.
     
  4. Apr 30, 2014 #4

    shunt2011

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    I agree with the others. When adding Stearic Acid you really need to HP it. My shave soaps are the only one's I HP as CP just doesn't work with high SA
     
  5. May 1, 2014 #5

    TNsoaper

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    I meant to stay, I did hot process the soap and it turned out just fine, but as soon as the temperature drops as you are pouring it in molds, it get hard very fast!

    Here is a new question then. When you pour in the lye, do you simply wait until the heat melts it down, as I did, or is there another, simpler, way of doing it?

    Again, it turned out fine but I had to add a lot of water to get it workable.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  6. May 1, 2014 #6

    saurian

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    I had something similar on my most recent batch (my 4th so far). Not quite so quick or so thick as you got but it went from adding lye to a light trace in under a minute of stick blending. This is also the only batch I've made that got to a partial gel. This all contrasts pretty sharply with my first ever batch which took about an hour, and a paniced call to Seawolfe, before it got to trace (admittedly that was all manual stirring, no SB).

    Right now, I have no real idea when I start off making a batch if I'm going to need an hour to get to trace or a minute. Being able to judge this in advance would be a real help.
     
  7. May 1, 2014 #7

    houseofwool

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    If you don't want to hot process it, simply use a whisk instead of the stick blender.
     
  8. May 1, 2014 #8

    DeeAnna

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    "...When you pour in the lye, do you simply wait until the heat melts it down, as I did, or is there another, simpler, way of doing it?..."

    By "it" do you mean the stearic? If so, I never do it that way. I always melt the stearic separately in a hot water bath to ensure it melts completely. I add my hot lye water to the other oils and additives, and then I stick blend and hand mix this partial batter to trace. During all this, the stearic is sitting nice and liquid in its own hot-water bath.

    Only when I'm happy with the traced batter do I switch to a spatula and stir in the stearic. That way you get to deal with a nice batter up front to get everything properly mixed .... it's only when the stearic gets added does the fun start.

    "...I meant to stay, I did hot process the soap and it turned out just fine, but as soon as the temperature drops as you are pouring it in molds, it get hard very fast!..."

    Yep. :) Don't cool it too much before putting into the mold or it will be hard to mold up as you found out. If you hot process the soap only 15-30 minutes just until there is no zap, then, yes, the soap will be fairly stiff like waxy mashed potatoes. One can process to the vaseline stage if you like, and then the soap is somewhat more fluid, but it will always be a challenge to mold.

    "...If you don't want to hot process it, simply use a whisk instead of the stick blender. ..."

    Uh, for a recipe with a lot of added stearic acid, a whisk will not work well. I normally use a stout spatula and sometimes a potato masher. A shave soap with added stearic really needs to be hot processed.
     

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