Teeny Batches, Bigger Questions

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Clarice, Feb 10, 2019.

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  1. Feb 10, 2019 #1

    Clarice

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    Hi all

    I see regular advice "make a small batch" to test out a recipe.

    I have some questions about .....

    FIRST - and this is gonna sound lame, in what do you stick-blend your teeny batches? I have done some smallish batches and when i start the SB phase in my container (2 quart pitcher) and it is hard to work when the ingredients are only an inch deep. It also seems that because of the small quantity the SB beats the living hell out of it, and it gets to trace so fast!

    SECOND - and this not only relates to teeny batches, but all batches: Will soap be soap if you don't insulate it so it goes through gel? I ask this because I would have to use individual molds, and since they are silicone, I have not yet figured out a way to wrap them without making a giant mess. (I don't even know if I asked that question in a remotely intelligible way! That is how much I do NOT know!)

    THIRD - I see glycerin in recipes for cream soap and liquid soap - is it ever added to bar soap?

    Thank you!

    Clarice
     
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  2. Feb 10, 2019 #2

    Marilyn Norgart

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    how small is a teeny batch? I have done 1/3 batches to test out fragrances but that is as small as I have gone (1/3 of a 2# batch)
    yes soap is still soap if it doesn't go thru gel
    and I haven't a clue about glycerin :)
     
  3. Feb 10, 2019 #3

    Clarice

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    One article i read recommended 100gm total oil weight batch

    I have no idea what I would mix it in, and fear my SB would be challenged!
     
  4. Feb 10, 2019 #4

    Marilyn Norgart

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    what are you testing for?
     
  5. Feb 10, 2019 #5

    Clarice

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    to see if I like the soap - do I like the combo of oils, to learn about oil properties in soap, to address my paucity of knowledge, cuz I like to play, and i have had to throw out some 1000 gm batches......Lots o reasons :)
     
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  6. Feb 10, 2019 #6

    Meena

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    I have done 1 pound batches, 1st through 5th and 7th (soap stones) because I'm new and so everything is a 'test' -- and yes, impossible to burp the SB with these batches! I don't get fast trace, though. I use a medium sized stainless mixing bowl, most commonly, unless I'm doing HP.
     
  7. Feb 10, 2019 #7

    midnightsoaper

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    If I were doing a batch that small, I'd just skip the SB and use a whisk. I do 1lb test batches though. It makes 4 bars. One to save for...well, forever. And 3 to cut in half and use at different cure times (or by different family members).

    My 1lb batches just barely fit the medium 4 cup twist n loc ziploc containers. They are tall and narrow so the SB has plenty of depth to work with. It is difficult to burp the SB though, so I do the best I can and don't worry about minor air bubbles. When I find a soap I love and I want to make a bigger batch, it will be much easier to control that.

    Rubbermaid makes a 4 cup twist n seal takealongs container with straight sides - this would be MUCH better than ziplocs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  8. Feb 10, 2019 #8

    Clarice

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    would you have a guess as to how long that would take? Am I imagining that a SB seems to trace small batches faster than big?

    I love your idea of a 1# loaf and how you parse it out to test it! Discipline! Do you have a four bar mold? If so - where did you find it?

    Thank yoU!
     
  9. Feb 10, 2019 #9

    SaltedFig

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    100 grams is getting a bit too small for test batches - at this weight, any slight variation in measurements can have a drastic effect on the final feel of the soap.
    If your scales aren't accurate to 2 decimal places, then I would not attempt this.

    For example, 100 grams of olive oil would require about 1.35grams of sodium hydroxide to convert it to soap. At 1.38grams of NaOH, you have a negative superfat of -2% (the soap will be lye heavy), at 1.4grams your -ve superfat becomes -4%.

    It is recommended that a minimum of about 400grams of oils is used for test batches - this is small enough that you don't have too many soaps (cut 3 bars, then keep one, use one and chop one up for testing lol). For really small batches, I use a milk frother (just don't let the air suck all the way to the bottom, or your soap will be full of bubbles). For the 400gram testers - a tall thin jug (that just fits the stick blender) will work, or a larger jug, tilted, so the blender head is immersed. Or just hand stir - that still works ;)
     
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  10. Feb 10, 2019 #10

    Clarice

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    So glad I asked these Qs!

    I am blown away that a 0.03 gram difference in lye would change the outcome so much!

    I thought that gal was nuts when she suggested 100 gram batches - but maybe she has a super scale! Mine only goes to one decimal place for grams!
     
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  11. Feb 10, 2019 #11

    midnightsoaper

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    I use the 4" silicone mold from Nurture Soap, very much worth it at just $9. I also use the 6" slab (also with my 1lb batch) so I can test out slab type swirls. I have to cut these by hand using a ruler & soap knife though, ugh, I hate it, but its good enough for my family lol It makes 6 decent sized test bars.

    I agree. I should have also added that if I attempted a batch this small, I'd use my gram scale. I'd probably only do a batch this small with a shave soap (because they last FOREVER lol).
     
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  12. Feb 10, 2019 #12

    Dawni

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    I'll answer the one that hasn't been addressed and the only one I can give a sure answer to lol
    It's still soap even not gelled. It'll just have a different look. Colors will pop out more in gelled and will look slightly more translucent compared to non-gelled, but of course that also depends on your ingredients. I just read someone saying gelled soap hardens faster but I haven't tested that.

    Before molding you can set the silicon mold on a tray or a sturdy cutting board, so you can lift it n stuff with minimal mess. Helps lots when you need to burp the soap to get rid of air bubbles. You include that when you wrap, too. Much easier than trying to move flimsy silicon.
     
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  13. Feb 10, 2019 #13

    Misschief

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    Glycerin is a byproduct of the saponification process. There's no reason to add it.
     
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  14. Feb 10, 2019 #14

    Dean

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    When doing test batches, I do two bar batches. I use a SB and a a pint pyrex measuring cup.

    Gel not nec.
     
  15. Feb 10, 2019 #15

    cmzaha

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    I actually do 125 g test batches, which give me 2 bars. I am talking 125 g oils not total batch weight, using a gram scale for measuring. If using a scale with only a 1 gram increments I would go with at least 400 g
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  16. Feb 11, 2019 #16

    Micchi

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    I do teeny, tiny batches - 125g oils - to make the ears for my cat soaps. I use the measuring cups I normally use to pour off batter for accent colors to mix everything in. They're about 3.5 cups, and the head of the SB is just barely covered when the oils and lye are in. Just gotta be careful to BARELY blast that stick blender - it took me about 20 seconds to reach light trace with it! I'll usually mix in my colors and fragrances by hand when doing these itty bitty batches.

    I don't usually aim to gel my soaps - I don't insulate them at all, really, beyond going into a silicone liner in a wooden mold. Sometimes I get partial gel, usually I don't. It's still soap! Gel is just cosmetic, and doesn't impact the final product. If you wanted to force gel in individual molds, though, you might try putting them on a towel that's on top of a heating pad that's on top of a wooden cutting board and putting that in a box with a lid for half an hour or so. I feel like that might create enough heat to gel those individual molds. That's purely theoretical, though, since I don't aim for gel.
     
  17. Feb 11, 2019 #17

    KiwiMoose

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    Here's my limited knowledge:
    Cavity molds tend not to gel as much as larger moulds - like a loaf or PVC tube.
    I use a 28% lye solution and my loaves will gel with no added heat (other than wrapping in a towel) - but it's pretty hot and humid here right now, this may be helping.
    My next goal is to make a creamy white soap - so I intend to NOT gel it, to keep the 'creaminess'. I will increase my lye concentration to 33% and use cavity moulds to ensure non-gelling.
    I put my silicone cavity molds into a metal cooking/baking tray for stability ( as @Dawni suggested) and then wrap the cling film around the whole lot to insulate, then cover with a towel or not, depending on my mood. Only once did these bars gel - and it was in my very early days and I didn't realise I had a lye concentration 0f 28% for that particular recipe which would have made gelling more likely (it scared the bejeezus out of me coz I wondered what was happening! LOL)
     
  18. Feb 11, 2019 #18

    Clarice

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    Wow - in my soapy baby-brain i would have thought that the higher the lye (within the 28 - 33 range) the more likely a soap would be too gel......no?
     
  19. Feb 11, 2019 #19

    shunt2011

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    @Clarice - yes 28-29 even 30 will gel easier. The more liquid in a batch the more likely to gel. Also tends to get hotter and more prone to glycerin rivers. I generally soap 30-33%. I do use a higher lard recipe. Individual molds are just harder to get to gel regardless. It will also depend on how warm/hot you are soaping. My oils are just warm/clear and my lye is room temp.
     
  20. Feb 11, 2019 #20

    DeeAnna

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    The other posters have answered your other questions. I'll take a stab at the glycerin question.

    Extra glycerin is added to cream soap for several reasons from what I can tell. One is to add back the glycerin that is not produced when you saponify stearic acid. Glycerin acts as a processing aid -- adding it to cream soap makes it easier easier to mix and whip. And finally, glycerin is as a texture modifier -- it softens and loosens the soap similar to water but doesn't evaporate.

    I suppose one could add glycerin to bar soap, but I'm not sure there's much benefit to it. For one thing, cold and hot process soap made using fat will contain 8-10% glycerin due to the glycerin being produced from the fat during saponification. Adding even more glycerin increases the risk of the soap being overly soft in general and becoming sticky/gooey in humid weather.
     
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