Trace-lack of-Bastille soap

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Nikolye, Feb 22, 2014.

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  1. Feb 22, 2014 #1

    Nikolye

    Nikolye

    Nikolye

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    hi there. im fairly new to soap making but have done it a few times really well(from luck) and a few not so well.. i've read a book and im starting a new one which has helped me heaps. im compiling the info in my brain and have been, over time, despite the overload. (wish i was better at science and math!) i've just learned about soapcalc(thank goodness) and have what appears to be my best soap to date curing in a shoe box.

    i am in New Zealand and working off grams so recipes i usually convert or put into soapcalc now that i am familiar with it.

    i have just got a bit big headed after having a basic batch turn out well and went for a more advanced recipe. i used a soapqueen baby bastille recipe http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/baby-soap-buttermilk-bastille-baby-bar/

    i put the basic figures that worked for me into soapcalc and i think that the recipe is all good.. so says soapcalc.

    she states to put the milk in the freezer to keep from scalding but also to ice the liquid when adding the lye. my oils and lye started out at about 46C/114F when combined, seems ok. i put the mixture into my table top mixer and whisked away on med/low... it just didn't trace. and didn't trace. hours passed and she says it should happen quick.

    yes its olive oil... but a huge water discount.. what i need to know is it the carrot? the buttermilk? the icewater bath i used combined with the temp of the mixture and frozen milk possibly brought it down to quick? is it possibly the heat and humidity of the day? its gross out.... is my lye off? if my lye is off how do i tell? i just used it last week!! are my gram measurements not small enough? after 4 hours (nearly) ive got light trace. its happening.

    so id like to know maybe what went wrong... and if i did the right things to solve it. its still going but not to medium trace yet. (4 bloody hours!)

    i put it in a crock pot just after it looked like it maybe would trace (3 hours in)and brought it up to the 114F again.. popped it back into the mixer and its not to med but still looking like it may... was this the right thing to do? if it doesn't go to medium trace i'll be dumping the sucker in the mold anyway... is that the right thing to do?

    i searched and searched the forum and got lots of bits and pieces(thank you all) but no real info on my exact problem.

    im totally stoked to get into some peoples heads and read up on this forum. i hope i can learn to navigate it properly! yay!
     
  2. Feb 22, 2014 #2

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    The Efficacious Gentleman

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    I've not used milk yet myself, but I am looking to mix the lye in to the milk cold but then let it warm up a bit once it's all mixed in. If it's still very cold, I wouldn't put it in to the oils.

    I have no idea if it matters or not, but I would think ice cold lye mixture in to the oils could slow down trace. It's funny, Queenie says that it might be fast to trace!
     
  3. Feb 22, 2014 #3

    seven

    seven

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    if you are swapping the full liquid with milk, you might wanna use the mixture asap. milk has fats, and the lye will start to saponify. my experience with coconut milk, if it aint used right away, it will start to have this film on top. it didnt matter at the end, my soap turned out fine, just saying that the lye mixture will look a bit funny.

    about the bastille that wont trace. i've not used a normal mixer, so i cant vouch. i've read that it's doable, but how fast trace will be, that i don't know.
     
  4. Feb 22, 2014 #4

    Susie

    Susie

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    I'm not familiar with using stand mixers either. I can tell you that getting a milk recipe to trace when everything is cold takes much longer than one with warm oils and lye mixture.

    Stick blenders are relatively cheap here in the US. Under $40 even for a really good brand. It is well worth the investment.
     
  5. Feb 22, 2014 #5

    Derpina Bubbles

    Derpina Bubbles

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    Hiya Nikolye, sounds like a stressful batch of soap. Ok, from my experience with milk soap making I can say even with a cold lye/milk mixture I haven't had a slower than normal trace. Once you mix the lye/milk and oils together things usually get rocking along nicely. If you used the right carrot and water baby food it won't be that either.

    I haven't used a mixer, only a stick blender, but really don't think that's it either. You said you used a huge water discount so you should still have had a fast trace or at least a more standard one. I'm thinking it all points to your lye mix.

    This could be where the humidity might come into play. Is your batch of lye clumpy? That would mean it's had exposure to moisture and as you've said, you're in a humid environment and at some point your lye container may not have been sealed correctly. I had a small container of lye liquefy on me once because I cross threaded the lid and didn't notice :oops:. Didn't go near it for ages and was ticked with myself when I found it. Any chance you didn't fully seal the container after last week or did you leave it open for a long time while making soap? I've read on a bunch of sites that lye exposed to moisture loses it's potency because of scientific blah blah. Things get technical, I suddenly see squirrels and start chasing them. Maybe someone can explain the technical bits *coughs DeeAnna* or point out if I've been reading lye lies.

    Also a chance that your scales are out and you just didn't have enough lye in the batch. To check that Google the weight of NZ coins and use those known weights to check your scales.

    You mentioned at the start that you've had a mix of good and bad results so far which also made me think of the above 2 possibilities.

    I'm fresh out of bad ideas after those, maybe someone else will have the answer.

    Definitely worth a go waiting to see how it turns out in the mould in my opinion. If it got to trace it has a chance and at the very least you know it won't be lye heavy! You can always rebatch if it never sets. Good luck with the batch and let us know how it turns out!
     
  6. Feb 22, 2014 #6

    new12soap

    new12soap

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    It seems to me your soap should have reached trace by now, but a mixer will take a looooooooooooong time, much longer than a stickblender.

    When you stop mixing does the batter separate out into oils and liquid? If yes then something is wrong, if not then it has emulsified and you can put it in the mold.

    How huge a water discount did you use? There is such a thing as too little water, that's the vehicle the lye uses to interact with the fats.

    If all else fails, put it back in the crockpot and cook it thru trace. I will look a bit more rustic but it will work.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Feb 22, 2014 #7

    Seawolfe

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    Is your scale digital? If your lye isn't all clumpy with moisture, I'd check the accuracy of the scale next.
    How big was your recipe? I just read a thread that pointed out that once you get down to a very small size (less than a lb or 400g ?) the SAP ranges and weight inaccuracies can come into play to mess up a recipe quite badly.
     
  8. Feb 22, 2014 #8

    AnnaMarie

    AnnaMarie

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    I know what recipe you're talking about. You mention a huge water discount. Did you use water in this recipe? Because no water is called for. It's a milk only recipe. If you didn't use water then I'm perplexed. I've made milk soap and tracing shouldn't be an issue???
    Cheers!
    Anna Marie
     
  9. Feb 22, 2014 #9

    cmzaha

    cmzaha

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    Did you make this recipe exactly as printed without adding in anymore liquid? The milk and puree are all the liquids used. If nothing was added this recipe does work. I will just mention that this is really not a huge water discount. A recipe like this I would soap with a water discount of 27% water to oil (actuall I would go lower, but that is another discussion) not the 33% in the recipe. Less liquid in high OO soap is better for a couple of reasons and 1 being trace issues.
    If you followed the recipe exact I would guess your scale is incorrect. I checked my digtal scale with a calibration weight and know it is off x amount. X being a small amount but still not exact and in a small batch it can make a difference. Stick Blenders are highly recommended especially when making any type of castile or bastile soap
     
  10. Feb 22, 2014 #10

    Nikolye

    Nikolye

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    Thank you all! I haven't figured out how to reply to everyones comments yet... maybe the quote button.. hmm.. anyway, so yes this was a very stressful batch(Derpina Bubbles)! :crazy:
    -i will be looking into a buying a stick blender.. the cheap ones are $30 here so i should be able to get something decent for $50
    -I did use milk only as the recipe stated, it still didn't trace for me! when i said water discount i was only using the term, not actually using water.
    -(cmzaha) in her recipe she states in the comments her water discount for that exact recipe is actually 22%, i put 25% into soap calc so thats what i went with not 33% and as im a fairly new soaper, 25% is in fact a huge discount! so i think i did good there! secretly 22% scared me ;) 25% sounded less scary.
    -I did have to change it slightly to put it into grams, run it through soapcalc and make it to fit my mold. i did make a smaller batch, 700g oils.. so my measurements need to be on point im gathering after reading all this! smaller batch needs more accuracy.
    -I will in fact get a coin and measure that (once i find out how much they weight) and make sure my scale is accurate, but i think ill look for a postal one or one that i dont move around all the time for cooking. it is digital but its constantly in use. and the batterys tend to die when i need it most anyway.. so i need a back up.
    -my lye. i will move it to a better container, its in a plastic one it got shipped in, although i dont think its fully off or whatever, there is a small clump or two... this could be a factor as you said.

    finally- after i put it in the crock pot brought it back up to the 46-50c temp and tossed it back in my mixer it came just about to full trace after another half hour. so it took all night to bloody work. and alot of googling and stressing my husband out with all kinds of math figures. it has set and looks like any other soap should! wow! i'll try and cut it after 48hrs it think.

    I dont know if my lye is weak now from moisture but its not hugely clumpy, just a few little clusters... i do think that i need a stick blender and to check my scales (thanks!!!) i do also think that i cooled the temp to much with the water bath she suggested and it never got hot enough, as when i heated it back up it started to trace! but i will do it again soon to see if i change a few of those things how it goes..im stoked with myself for finally trying a water(liquid) discount and using milk! woot woot!

    so i can in fact (new12soap)take a batch of soap that doesn't trace and push it to reach trace via a crock pot? and then mold it? i read something like that when i was frantically googling, so that was going to be my last resort..

    so much thanks to everyone, ill let you all know how it turns out!!! im so chuffed i found this forum!!! i hope one day i can help others. :D
     
  11. Feb 24, 2014 #11

    Nikolye

    Nikolye

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    And its been cut! eeeeek

    So i cut the soap today. It smells different then any other i've made, but i've never used milk, carrots or that much olive oil and this is the first time i have used a liquid discount... it also stuck to the knife heaps and the corners were rough and a bit broken after the bars were cut. i even had one piece crack.. but it easily molded back together... it didn't feel dry necessarily.... very strange. i have no idea what this soap is going to do or be like!!! eeeeeek! i was going to make another small batch of it to see how it goes, but maybe i should post the exact recipe to see what others think first!? i think i'll give it a week or so before i start again. wish i could see the future!
     
  12. Feb 25, 2014 #12

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    The Efficacious Gentleman

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    That's one reason why I haven't made too many batches yet - I want to cure out and properly test soaps that I make before I make more, just so I know if the recipe is what I am after.
     
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  13. Feb 25, 2014 #13

    Happysoap

    Happysoap

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    i make almost exclusively milk soaps and i discount the liquid a little. milk soaps smell funky at first. especially if the temp gets too high. don't worry, the smell goes away after the cure. also the carrot gives the soap a mild nutty scent. what you are experiencing is likely the combination of the two scents.

    i have very little experience with castile/bastile soaps so i will let someone else weigh in about that.
     
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