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SOS! Help! Batter going to thick trace in record time!

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rdc1978

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I wanted to do a CP process with a freestyle zig zag swirl like how they have on soaping 101. I have done this soap before and it came out really pretty. The last time I did it I used the same fragrance oil that I used this time, namely Bamboo Mint from Brambleberry, which I LOOOOVE.

This time, terrible disaster! I mixed my lye water and oils with the oils at about 100 and the lye at about 112 (I think). I stick blended in short bursts maybe twice and it was at a stage between emulsion and light trace which was great for me. I whisked in the fragrance oil and literally as I started to split the batter into colors it went to like medium/thick trace. I've had something similar happen to me when I soaped with baby breath f/o (Brambleberry) and another one from brambleberry which are all supposed to perform well in CP soaps.

What am I doing wrong?

Here is my recipe (superfat 7%)
55% olive oil - 19.25 oz
30% coconut oil - 10.5 oz
7% palm oil - 2.45 oz
3% castor oil - 1.05 oz
5% rice bran oil - 1.75 oz

Lye Water was at 33% lye concentration
Lye - 4.88 oz
Water - 9.91oz
Sodium Lactate - 2 teaspoons
Fragrance Oil - 3.00 oz

I normally soap at 90 degrees, but figured that maybe soaping at that low a temperature was what was responsible for my baby breath soap going to thick trace so fast. Could that be it?

I'm also wondering if maybe there is something going on with my stick blender, its cheap, but I feel like I've used it to successfully make other bars of soap. However I notice that when I look at soapers on youtube they stick blend a LOT longer than I do. I need maybe like 2-3 seconds before my batter is at emulsion or near enough to emulsion that I can whisk it the rest of the way there. But could it be that?

I have also very recently changed over to using a lye concentration instead of a % to oils when using soapcalc. Could that be it?

I'm so freaking frustrated right now, I barely had time to do something that might be a spoon swirl and I just know the soap is going to be a hot mess. Any help would be much appreciated. I want to soap this weekend but I'm getting scared that everything is going to be a darned mess!
 

AliOop

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Ok, deep breathe. Exhale. 🙂

1. Soaping cooler helps to slow down trace. Try 80-90F with the lye solution and oils.

2. CO is pretty fast to trace; consider lowering your CO and upping the palm.

3. YT soapers are often making much bigger batches that require much more blending to reach emulsion. Also, many times they are STIRRING with the stick blender - not actually turning it on. It is hard to see in the video, causing lots of confusion for new soapers who think that the soaper is actually BLENDING that whole time. No, they are mostly using the SB to stir, with occasional bursts of blending.

4. It really sounds like your FO was the major culprit. Everything was fine till you added that. And FOs can react differently in different recipes, and at higher heat. Try a batch without any FO, and at lower heat, and see how it goes.
 

Lydia Mavroviti

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I wanted to do a CP process with a freestyle zig zag swirl like how they have on soaping 101. I have done this soap before and it came out really pretty. The last time I did it I used the same fragrance oil that I used this time, namely Bamboo Mint from Brambleberry, which I LOOOOVE.

This time, terrible disaster! I mixed my lye water and oils with the oils at about 100 and the lye at about 112 (I think). I stick blended in short bursts maybe twice and it was at a stage between emulsion and light trace which was great for me. I whisked in the fragrance oil and literally as I started to split the batter into colors it went to like medium/thick trace. I've had something similar happen to me when I soaped with baby breath f/o (Brambleberry) and another one from brambleberry which are all supposed to perform well in CP soaps.

What am I doing wrong?

Here is my recipe (superfat 7%)
55% olive oil - 19.25 oz
30% coconut oil - 10.5 oz
7% palm oil - 2.45 oz
3% castor oil - 1.05 oz
5% rice bran oil - 1.75 oz

Lye Water was at 33% lye concentration
Lye - 4.88 oz
Water - 9.91oz
Sodium Lactate - 2 teaspoons
Fragrance Oil - 3.00 oz

I normally soap at 90 degrees, but figured that maybe soaping at that low a temperature was what was responsible for my baby breath soap going to thick trace so fast. Could that be it?

I'm also wondering if maybe there is something going on with my stick blender, its cheap, but I feel like I've used it to successfully make other bars of soap. However I notice that when I look at soapers on youtube they stick blend a LOT longer than I do. I need maybe like 2-3 seconds before my batter is at emulsion or near enough to emulsion that I can whisk it the rest of the way there. But could it be that?

I have also very recently changed over to using a lye concentration instead of a % to oils when using soapcalc. Could that be it?

I'm so freaking frustrated right now, I barely had time to do something that might be a spoon swirl and I just know the soap is going to be a hot mess. Any help would be much appreciated. I want to soap this weekend but I'm getting scared that everything is going to be a darned mess!
Hi ,I had a similar problem once and I found out that my rice bran oil was a little bit old and when I was adding my fragrance I had a thick trace very fast .When I bought new rice bran everything went back to normal . I dont'know about lye concetration ,though .Good luck .
 

rdc1978

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Ok, deep breathe. Exhale. 🙂

1. Soaping cooler helps to slow down trace. Try 80-90F with the lye solution and oils.

2. CO is pretty fast to trace; consider lowering your CO and upping the palm.

3. YT soapers are often making much bigger batches that require much more blending to reach emulsion. Also, many times they are STIRRING with the stick blender - not actually turning it on. It is hard to see in the video, causing lots of confusion for new soapers who think that the soaper is actually BLENDING that whole time. No, they are mostly using the SB to stir, with occasional bursts of blending.

4. It really sounds like your FO was the major culprit. Everything was fine till you added that. And FOs can react differently in different recipes, and at higher heat. Try a batch without any FO, and at lower heat, and see how it goes.
Thank you so much, this entire message is amazing, though I really needed that first part! The frustration is so real!

And once I exhaled and read your message, it made total sense that the f/o was the likely culprit, especially if it acts differently at a higher heat. Also, I didn't know that coconut oil would trace faster than palm so I will absolutely take that on board and will up the palm on the next batch.

Thank you so much for taking the time.
 

rdc1978

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Hi ,I had a similar problem once and I found out that my rice bran oil was a little bit old and when I was adding my fragrance I had a thick trace very fast .When I bought new rice bran everything went back to normal . I dont'know about lye concetration ,though .Good luck .
OMG, that could be part of it! I had only started using RBO because I had bought it a while back and didn't want it to go to waste. But, I had bought it from a very small grocery store, so there is no telling how old it was or how long it had been out when I bought it (I didn't see an expiration date on it). So, it could very well not be good to use for soap at this point. I purchased a newer container from brambleberry so maybe I'll just break that bad boy open and use that instead.

Thank you - I would have never guessed the age of the oil was the culprit, I use all of the other oils so often that I'm always repurchasing and swapping them out, so the RBO is really the only oil that is a little older.
 

rdc1978

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Everything @AliOop said.
Also, if you switched from liquid as percent of oils to liquid as a lye percent, you may be working with less water than you're used to. Try dropping the lye percentage (i.e. adding more liquid) and working with a 30% lye solution instead.
You're totally right, I was looking at the recipe printout on soapcalc and at 33% it was only like 27% water to oils and I used to do like 35% so that makes a ton of sense.

Thank you so much, I wouldn't have really taken a hard look at the recipe had you not mentioned that. I'll try the 30% instead!

Thanks a million!
 

AliOop

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Lots of good advice here. And I bet your soap isn't as bad as you think, even thought it wasn't what you planned. We'd love to see pics when you cut it. :)
 

rdc1978

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Lots of good advice here. And I bet your soap isn't as bad as you think, even thought it wasn't what you planned. We'd love to see pics when you cut it. :)
LOL, how funny, I just cut it and while its not what I wanted its not as awful as I had expected. Its hard to see the difference in the colors, but one is indigo and the other is midnight blue. I think it would have been super cool had I correctly done the design. But its not the ugliest soap I've ever made!



Is your olive oil the same, or could you possibly have switched to pumice olive oil recently? That can also speed trace. I don't even bother with a SB when I use pomace OO.
So, I kinda use three different types of olive oil. I have extra virgin o/o (the cheapest from wal-mart) and I try to use that for darker colored soap. I used Bertoli extra light o/o for when I really, really want the soap to be a brighter color. I also bought just regular o/o from foodmaxx, because its so much less expensive than the Bertoli and the color is only a little darker, and much lighter than the extra virgin o/o. I think they are all 100% o/o, but I'm not sure what pumice olive oil is or how I would tell? Thanks for the tip though, if I ever know I have o/o pumice I'll have an idea what to expect!
 

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AliOop

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I think that soap is very pretty!

Pomace OO (as opposed to pumice, which is a grainy additive rather than an oil) is the last pressing of the olives, so the oil is considered lesser quality, with a relatively high amount of unsaponifiable substances. If you can find it for a good price, it makes good soap. Many people find that, unlike regular OO, it traces very fast, although not everyone has that experience.

FWIW, extra virgin OO is probably wasted in soap. Unless you want it for the green color, save it for a good salad dressing or something where the taste shines through. Soap made from non-virgin OO won't feel any different, is lighter in color, and is usually quite a bit cheaper.
 

cmzaha

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And once I exhaled and read your message, it made total sense that the f/o was the likely culprit, especially if it acts differently at a higher heat. Also, I didn't know that coconut oil would trace faster than palm so I will absolutely take that on board and will up the palm on the next batch.
Coconut really does not really trace faster than palm. Palm at high percentages will trace quickly. What Coconut does is tend to heat up faster and hotter which will quicken trace. If you soap cooler you can slow your trace. By soaping with a 33% Lye Concentration your liquid requirement was 9.91 oz, which may have lowered your liquid more than you were used to working with. If you normally used the default of 38% Water as percent of oil weight in soap calc your Lye Concentration would have been 26.8% requiring 13.3 oz of water. That is a considerable difference in water requirements. Sometimes a 30-31% Lye Concentration can be a good middle ground, especially if you ever use high Palm percentages.

I would not think even an old RBO at 5% usage would contribute much to accelerating the trace. I really think the biggest culprit was the temps you soaped at, especially if you soaped this fo before and it behaved well.

Do keep in mind high water will also cause hotter and faster gelling in the mold causing possible separation, even volcano issues so it is another reason to soap cool with high Coconut oil.
 

linne1gi

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I wanted to do a CP process with a freestyle zig zag swirl like how they have on soaping 101. I have done this soap before and it came out really pretty. The last time I did it I used the same fragrance oil that I used this time, namely Bamboo Mint from Brambleberry, which I LOOOOVE.

This time, terrible disaster! I mixed my lye water and oils with the oils at about 100 and the lye at about 112 (I think). I stick blended in short bursts maybe twice and it was at a stage between emulsion and light trace which was great for me. I whisked in the fragrance oil and literally as I started to split the batter into colors it went to like medium/thick trace. I've had something similar happen to me when I soaped with baby breath f/o (Brambleberry) and another one from brambleberry which are all supposed to perform well in CP soaps.

What am I doing wrong?

Here is my recipe (superfat 7%)
55% olive oil - 19.25 oz
30% coconut oil - 10.5 oz
7% palm oil - 2.45 oz
3% castor oil - 1.05 oz
5% rice bran oil - 1.75 oz

Lye Water was at 33% lye concentration
Lye - 4.88 oz
Water - 9.91oz
Sodium Lactate - 2 teaspoons
Fragrance Oil - 3.00 oz

I normally soap at 90 degrees, but figured that maybe soaping at that low a temperature was what was responsible for my baby breath soap going to thick trace so fast. Could that be it?

I'm also wondering if maybe there is something going on with my stick blender, its cheap, but I feel like I've used it to successfully make other bars of soap. However I notice that when I look at soapers on youtube they stick blend a LOT longer than I do. I need maybe like 2-3 seconds before my batter is at emulsion or near enough to emulsion that I can whisk it the rest of the way there. But could it be that?

I have also very recently changed over to using a lye concentration instead of a % to oils when using soapcalc. Could that be it?

I'm so freaking frustrated right now, I barely had time to do something that might be a spoon swirl and I just know the soap is going to be a hot mess. Any help would be much appreciated. I want to soap this weekend but I'm getting scared that everything is going to be a darned mess!
I have used that fragrance oil from Brambleberry and it accelerates a lot! When I use it, I stick blend for maybe 2-3 seconds total and then hand stir from then on.
 

lenarenee

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Nothing wrong with that soap at all!! I love a blue and white bar!
 

GemstonePony

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I think it looks great! May not have been what you planned, but if I was handed that, I'd think from the colors, swirl, and FO that it was meant to be an ocean wave, and that it was very well executed design. I know it doesn't fit the picture in your head, but it's still a beautiful soap!
 

rdc1978

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I think it looks great! May not have been what you planned, but if I was handed that, I'd think from the colors, swirl, and FO that it was meant to be an ocean wave, and that it was very well executed design. I know it doesn't fit the picture in your head, but it's still a beautiful soap!
Awww,.thats the kindest thing I've heard all day. Thank you.

You probably have a point. All I can see is how it doesn't look like what I planned.
 

rdc1978

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I have used that fragrance oil from Brambleberry and it accelerates a lot! When I use it, I stick blend for maybe 2-3 seconds total and then hand stir from then on.
Ohh, maybe thats it. I remember it performing well last time but this time I stick blended just a tad more because the pour looked like it was done at a light trace. There are so many things I probably did wrong!!!!
 

earlene

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So, I kinda use three different types of olive oil. I have extra virgin o/o (the cheapest from wal-mart) and I try to use that for darker colored soap. I used Bertoli extra light o/o for when I really, really want the soap to be a brighter color. I also bought just regular o/o from foodmaxx, because its so much less expensive than the Bertoli and the color is only a little darker, and much lighter than the extra virgin o/o. I think they are all 100% o/o, but I'm not sure what pumice olive oil is or how I would tell? Thanks for the tip though, if I ever know I have o/o pumice I'll have an idea what to expect!

It's on the label. Pomace Olive oil or Olive Pomace Oil (darn my spell check!) Here is what it is:


I buy it in a local grocery store when they stock it; otherwise I purchase from SoapersChoice.
 
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