Soap setting up too fast.

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Be careful with the fancy stick blenders because they often have a flexible gasket or seal around the impeller shaft. Flexible seals aren't usually used on cheaper stick blenders. These flexible seals are rated for exposure to food, not concentrated alkali, so they will eventually fail if you use them in soap batter. Better to use a cheapo stick blender that only has a less expensive metal-to-metal seal around the shaft.

I learned this the hard way -- dear husband got me a fancy Bamix once-upon-a-time. I use it only for food nowadays.
My beloved AllClad does have a silicone seal around the metal disk that acts like a low roof, if you will, on the inside of the bell of the blender. I've seen stories of folks having trouble with that seal failing. Fortunately my DH is a pretty good fixer-of-things, and he feels confident that he can repair this if it does fail.

I'm thankful for that but still holding my breath. This is by far the best SB I've ever used when it comes to lack of bubbles, low speed, and ability to blend small amounts at a time. If it fails, for me it will be a tragic love story: me left standing as the bereft princess after the prince dies while trying to save her. ;)

In the meantime, I use it sparingly and dunk it immediately in a waiting container of hot soapy water when blending is done. It's also the first thing that gets washed after the soap is in the mold. 🤞
 
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Punkerdoodle! Great to hear from you. Hope it was a good ballgame. You've already gotten great advice so I will just say that I think of honey as being an advanced technique. Sugar is easy to work with. I dissolve it in my distilled water before I add the lye. It'll turn pale yellow but won't affect the final color.

Also, stick to distilled water only.

( :secret:Also, try to stay on Judge @KiwiMoose 's good side. Sometimes she kinda skirrs me.)
 
Want to add on about scents. If you are buying soap scent at places like micheals or hibby lobby,
I said hip, hop hibby to the lobby to the hip hop hop so don't stop rocking to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie the beat.
 
Glad to hear you are having fun, all the whle convincing your spouse that homemade soap saves money - well done on THAT one! 😁

Some suggestions:

1. Soap cooler. Anything above 100ºF will usually accelerate my recipe.

2. Use the stickblender very, very sparingly. When you watch YT videos, they are either making HUGE batches which need tons more blending, or they aren't actually blending the whole time. Instead, they are using the SB more like a stirring spoon, without turning it on. Even soaping cool (under 100F) with a high-lard recipe, I can't exceed three, 1-second bursts with my stickblender, or I'm way beyond emulsion and into tracing. Once the SB brings the soap to trace, the batter will keep thickening. Speaking of which...

3. Learn to stop at a stable emulsion, before you reach trace. Here is a good video on that.

4. What scents and additives are you using? Many of them are known to accelerate trace.


@AliOop, thanks for that GREAT video! I have been wondering about emulsion with every single batch I have made - well, except for my first batch (which internet recipe I used had only 19% water as percent of oil- I'd only stick blended about 30 seconds - didn't know about bursts... and it was like the consistency of room temperature tallow. I had to scoop it out and smash it into my molds.). Now that I actually know how to tell if it has emulsified, I can relax a little. I stick blend very little. I mainly hand stir, with the occasional blast. Every beginner should watch this video many times!! I've watched it 3 times since Sunday morning- I should probably get a life :)

I'm just gonna add that I don't SB my soaps as my SB is for food and I don't wanna buy another. That said, I hand whisk all my soaps and so far so good. I use my OP that is known to accelerate to help balance out the slower trace due to non-SB. Even with hand whisking, this particular fast tracing OP can help me reach emulsion in 2 minutes.
I learnt it is important to let the batter sit for like 30 secs and observe to see if it's separating. Then mix some more. I have achieved soap on a stick with hand whisking before!
Lisa in the I Dream In Soap video also suggested @Zuleika's technique of letting the batter sit for 30 seconds to see if it separates. That video has really unscrambled the mystery of emulsification for me. It was nice to see VISUALLY the difference between the oils & lye water emulsified and not emulsified.
 
Glad to hear you are having fun, all the whle convincing your spouse that homemade soap saves money - well done on THAT one! 😁

Some suggestions:

1. Soap cooler. Anything above 100ºF will usually accelerate my recipe.

2. Use the stickblender very, very sparingly. When you watch YT videos, they are either making HUGE batches which need tons more blending, or they aren't actually blending the whole time. Instead, they are using the SB more like a stirring spoon, without turning it on. Even soaping cool (under 100F) with a high-lard recipe, I can't exceed three, 1-second bursts with my stickblender, or I'm way beyond emulsion and into tracing. Once the SB brings the soap to trace, the batter will keep thickening. Speaking of which...

3. Learn to stop at a stable emulsion, before you reach trace. Here is a good video on that.

4. What scents and additives are you using? Many of them are known to accelerate trace.
Update, and I hang my head in shame…
All of the input on this has been helpful, applicable, and much appreciated but yesterday the idiot bell rang. Trying to do a repeat of the first small batch that worked out well was a complete disaster from the moment I started mixing. I will not bore you all with the details but… I found out my nice little laser thermometer that I have used for years is ready for the trash.

The thing is reading 25 to 32 degrees below actual temperature in the 100 to 120 range. Quick calibration check, new batteries, recheck, wife banged on the counter a few times, recheck…it’s toast. Checking on ice it is within a couple of degrees and what it normally reads, higher the temp the more it is off. Boiling water reads 165ish. Looking back at the problems I’ve had it must have been gradually getting worse. I should have caught this before now…
 
Awww well glad you caught it now. Lots of us have had similar issues with scales and the like.

I was recently having acceleration issues that I blamed on the FOs. Turned out it was my aging oil masterbatch - I hadn’t paid attention to how old it was or realized that I wasn’t soaping as often as I had been at the time making this huge MB.

I had probably 6-7 accelerated batches, followed by an unscented one, before the lightbulb finally went on. :rolleyes: Now I still make a huge oil MB, but portion it out into smaller, 2-batch containers that stay in the freezer till I want to make soap.

All that to say, welcome to soaping, where there is always something to learn and new mistakes to be made. 😂
 

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