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Pims

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I've read differing opinions about how small a test batch should be. From purely a cost perspective, a pound seems to make sense. But I've read comments to the effect that the measuring has to be so precise at that small a quantity that it's risky to go that small. And also, at that size, it may be difficult to get a gel.

Any thoughts?
 

paillo

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I've been doing shampoo bar tests at one pound. It's tough to get accurate ounce measurements in batches that small, so I use grams instead. I've also been doing them in individual silicone molds, and insulating the overall mold in heavy towels because I do want gel.
 

Genny

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It matters what you're testing. Are you testing soap recipes in general? Then 1 lb is good. Like Paillo said, switch to grams and make sure you're as accurate as possible when weighing.

If I absolutely want my soap to gel, I just preheat the oven to 170. Turn off the oven once it's preheated. Put my mold on a baking sheet & pop it in the oven for 24 hours with the light on. Don't open the oven during that time though since it can let out the heat. I've done that with silicone molds, individual silicone mini cupcake molds, plastic drawer organizers from the Dollar Tree that I use as molds, cardboard molds lined with garbage bags, etc. I haven't had any of them warp or melt.
 

chicklet

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What you have said is true - prescise measurement is extra important in small batches and it might be harder to get the soap to gel. You can help it gel by putting the mold on a heating pad, covering it with towels, or even putting it into a 170 degree oven for an hour. Some people get the oven heated to 170 then turn it off when they put the soap in. Or - you can just not gel it. If it has milk or beer in it you might want to refrigerate it (or freeze it) to keep it from getting partial gel.

As far as the precise measurements - I am totally ignorant of the metric system, but still I push the button on my scale to weigh all my soap stuff in grams. It's a much more precise measurement than ounces.
 

chicklet

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And I see that I have repeated what some of the others have said. That's what happens when you start a reply at 9:15 but don't push the post button until 9:35. :)
 

100%Natural

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When testing veggie soaps, I test in 1 lb batches. That way I get 5 bars to test that have ends and middles (I use log molds for veggie soaps). When testing milk soaps, I test 2lb batches and use slab molds. Gives me lots of bars for ph testing, shower testing and friends and family testing before I decide the recipe works and start making bigger batches.
 

jcandleattic

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IMO it is absolutely necessary to be as accurate as possible regardless of the size batch you are making. Yes, there is more play room with bigger batches, but it just makes sense to be accurate.

Depending on a few different factors, my test batches are anywhere between 1lb-3lbs.
 

Badger

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I have been making 1 lb batches partly because that is what I can afford to do right now. I am using a pvc mold, so I can just partially fill it. I measure in grams for more accuracy, and have only had a problem with my first batch where I had a wonky scale issue. (I have replaced the scale and have not had issues since). I think the 1 lb batches are a good size, I would not want to go smaller then that though.
 

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