Trouble with Andalusian lye heavy castile

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Obsidian

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I wanted try try the lye heavy castile again so I hunted up the thread http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=42922 and mixed up a -40 SF batch.
It want to trace relatively quick but some of the water just didn't want to stay emulsified. The batter eventually came together in a rubbery mess like is common but there was a huge amount of water in the bowl under the batter.

No amount of blending would get the water mixed in. I eventually gave up and poured most of the excess water off, there was at least a cup if not more.

I poured it in a silicone mold, textured the top and CPOP. It went into gel ok and looks alright but its not setting up. Its at thick trace consistency and is showing no signs of hardening.

My last batch of lye heavy was -35% SF and if I remember right, it set up fairly quickly. For those of you who have made this stuff before, what was the longest it stayed soft? Should I just put it away for a few day or is it ruined?
Do you think the water I poured off will effect the lye neutralization? I wonder if cooking it in a crock would help it firm up?
 

topofmurrayhill

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I don't remember how long mine took but it hardened fairly slowly. Maybe just be patient? You probably won't get Andalusian Grandma's soap, but you'll get something.

That was a fascinating thread, but still nobody seems to have hit upon the key thing to make it work as expected. Something about the way we are doing this makes it differ from the traditional method, with somewhat randomly varying results. I put the recipe aside because what I really want is to see what result Andalusian Grandma got, and I'm not convinced we are getting the same thing.

The most striking thing is how these ingredient proportions seem to make the emulsion want to flip to water-in-oil. You end up with a big blob of oil skating around in lye, with the rest of the lye as droplets inside the blob. That's not really supposed to happen. It seems less likely if you stir gently instead of stick blending, but then it's still prone to separation.

I don't know what the trick is exactly. The only speculation I have is that something in the traditional technique maybe kicks off saponification quickly to create a proper soap batter emulsion.

You know how including a pretty small amount of free stearic acid makes soap trace dramatically faster? If used oils are typically recycled to make this kind of soap, they would have a lot of free fatty acids and maybe that's what makes it work as expected.
 

newbie

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I seemed to have the record for that recipe taking the longest to come to trace. I often took me two hours where most people got trace in 30 minutes. I got the rubber ball thing once and really wanted to get it again because it was the oddest texture to work with, but fascinating. THe other times I got a soft mass of soap that was also interesting to work with, although in the end, the amount of shrinkage i got in the bars more or less undid the decorative things. I also didn't like the lather no matter how long the soap cured. If it is holding together now, I think it will be fine. Just don't heat it or you'll have massive separation. I bet tomorrow it will be fine.

I don't think losing some of the water will affect it drastically. A number of people had lye water weeping out and the idea we thought was behind it was the large amount of water allowing the excess lye movement to the surface, so losing the cup shouldn't make or break it.

Oh wait, I just read that you CPOP'ed it. My recollection was that any heat ruined people's soap and caused the soap to break out of emulsification, so I am wondering how you got it to gel! Have you pulled a side away to take a look? SOme people got soap floating on a mass of lye water when they heated. I'll be following this!
 
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topofmurrayhill

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I found the recipe and did the poking around as best I could

http://spanishjourneys.com/olive_me_blog/make-your-own-pure-castile-soap


0 superfat is as far as I'm going should I try this.
If you do 0 superfat, you could just do a regular castile soap instead. You don't want to make it with all the excess water in this recipe.

I think the point of the lye-heavy castile is that it ends up full of sodium carbonate when the lye is cured out, which adds properties that this recipe counts on. It's supposed to harden the bars, help lather, and maybe reduce slime.
 

ngian

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I think the point of the lye-heavy castile is that it ends up full of sodium carbonate when the lye is cured out, which adds properties that this recipe counts on. It's supposed to harden the bars, help lather, and maybe reduce slime.
If we make a normal castile soap (0% superfat) and we add a little washing soda amount in the recipe, wouldn't we achieve the same result?
 

topofmurrayhill

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If we make a normal castile soap (0% superfat) and we add a little washing soda amount in the recipe, wouldn't we achieve the same result?
You might. I think Kevin Dunn suggested experimenting along those lines to try and understand the recipe better, but nobody has tried it yet.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I don't think losing some of the water will affect it drastically. A number of people had lye water weeping out and the idea we thought was behind it was the large amount of water allowing the excess lye movement to the surface, so losing the cup shouldn't make or break it.
There's a lot of speculation around the recipe and I have no final words on it, but the suggestion that the water is to bring the caustic to the surface didn't strike me as plausible. I suspect this recipe is not supposed to separate and that the extra caustic is supposed to be in the soap. The lye doesn't really need to come to the surface. Excess lye has been shown to cure out in bar soaps in a few weeks even with normal water. If it's CO2 doing that, the fact that it dissolves readily in water seems like a reasonable explanation for how it happens.

To me the interesting question mark is why this recipe might emulsify properly in traditional use whereas we often get wonky emulsions and separation with it. Who knows if I will ever get the time, but I'd like to make some batches of potato chips in olive oil and then use it and see if free fatty acids from frying help kick-start the emulsion. Of maybe one could try including 1 or 2 percent of a free fatty acid like stearic in it.

Think about it. If it was a household routine in the old days to make this stuff, wouldn't they have recycled the frying oil for the purpose instead of dumping yummy fresh oil into the soap pot? Almost certainly. And it would have some significant chemical differences versus fresh oil.
 

Obsidian

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That was a fascinating thread, but still nobody seems to have hit upon the key thing to make it work as expected. Something about the way we are doing this makes it differ from the traditional method, with somewhat randomly varying results. I put the recipe aside because what I really want is to see what result Andalusian Grandma got, and I'm not convinced we are getting the same thing.
what exactly are the results that Andalusian Grandma got that we didn't? She seems to be making a gentle castile that lathers decently, thats the same most people who tried this ended up with.

I would be interested to see how used OO compares to fresh OO in the recipe though. Its not something I'd ever try since I'm not a fan of castile enough to waste my OO like that.

As of this AM, my soap is still a soupy mess. Since saponifying, its actually thinner then it was when I poured it. I could easily pour it from the mold, it reminds me of half formed jello.
I think I'll just toss it, its not much of a loss at this point and I really don't want to be bothered with trying to save it.
Does anyone who made this before have a extra bar I might be able to purchase? I really just wanted a bit for testing purpose.
 

topofmurrayhill

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what exactly are the results that Andalusian Grandma got that we didn't? She seems to be making a gentle castile that lathers decently, thats the same most people who tried this ended up with.
I don't know how close we have been to her soap. Maybe some people nailed it, or maybe we've been missing some piece of the puzzle. Often unpredictable results and frequent oddities with the emulsion of one kind or another make me unsure. If I understood the recipe well enough to ensure the reliable outcome that Andalusian Grandma may have been used to, I would feel more confident that the resulting product is what she made and used. It's just interesting and I think it might be worth more mucking around. There are only so many potato chips I can eat though. Or zeppoles.
 

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I was reading through the thread Obsidian posted and so far at least AnneMarie seemed to have good results but I am only on pg 8. I might give the recipe a try after all. I would definitely have to measure water first in a measuring cup in order to gauge in volume and weight how much a quart of OO weighs.
 

GrantLee63

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Decided to give this one a shot today also (thanks Obsidian!) ... been hand-stirring for the past 30 minutes and an amazed at how viscous the batter is becoming; not yet trace but I'm feeling confident! I cooled my lye / water mix to the same temp as the oil / water mix (60F) before starting. Also, I'm using a slotted SS spoon, and am not constantly stirring in the same direction ... so far, so good but wish me luck!
 

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I may have a bar of it sitting around. I will look and let you know, Obsidian. No need to buy it from me though.

Yep, I found a bar from two different batches. One was from a rubber ball batch and one from a more regularly tracing batch. CHocked full of ash. I'll send them as is so you get the full experience. ;) PM me your address.
 
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LoveOscar

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I was reading through the thread Obsidian posted and so far at least AnneMarie seemed to have good results but I am only on pg 8. I might give the recipe a try after all. I would definitely have to measure water first in a measuring cup in order to gauge in volume and weight how much a quart of OO weighs.
When I mix my oils together in my normal soaping process, usually with OO as the main, I fill a quart sized mason jar. It's roughly 30 oz in weight.
 

topofmurrayhill

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When I mix my oils together in my normal soaping process, usually with OO as the main, I fill a quart sized mason jar. It's roughly 30 oz in weight.
If you assume the traditional method uses equal volumes of oil and water rather than equal weights, you can multiply your water weight by .92 for the correct amount of oil.

A liter of oil is lighter than a liter of water, so:

1000 g water * .92 = 920 g olive oil

Multiply by 1.087 to go in the other direction.
 

penelopejane

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I wanted try try the lye heavy castile again so I hunted up the thread http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=42922 and mixed up a -40 SF batch.
It want to trace relatively quick but some of the water just didn't want to stay emulsified. The batter eventually came together in a rubbery mess like is common but there was a huge amount of water in the bowl under the batter.

No amount of blending would get the water mixed in. I eventually gave up and poured most of the excess water off, there was at least a cup if not more.

I poured it in a silicone mold, textured the top and CPOP. It went into gel ok and looks alright but its not setting up. Its at thick trace consistency and is showing no signs of hardening.

My last batch of lye heavy was -35% SF and if I remember right, it set up fairly quickly. For those of you who have made this stuff before, what was the longest it stayed soft? Should I just put it away for a few day or is it ruined?
Do you think the water I poured off will effect the lye neutralization? I wonder if cooking it in a crock would help it firm up?
Hi Obsidian,

I have just read the entire thread and also the original article. You used pomace didn't you? The article says it will not work with pomace. The grandma uses EVOO but she does cook one or two batches of sweet donuts in it before using it for soap. If it is oil that has been used a lot it is only good for laundry soap. So the type of oil does matter but a lot of the people on our thread used OO (as long as it was pure and it worked, too) Someone from Greece on the thread said it had to be at least VOO.

Also did you stick blend it at all? Deeanna found that she could stick blend with just the lye mix and oils to trace. Then she added the extra water a bit at a time while only hand stirring for the rest of the time. AnnaMarie blended all the ingredients together, hand stirred to trace then SB'd the last few minutes to give it a smooth consistency. It seems the amount of SBing that was done really, really effected the result.

Deeanna and a few others found that CPOP did not work with this recipe as it separated and went to liquid and weeped at lot. In fact some people put a fan on it to ensure it didn't overheat. When honey was added it didn't work perfectly.

People who used no colour and no fragrance seemed to have less trouble.

It took some people three days before they could demold it while others demolded and cut within 24 hours. It was very variable.

In one article on the internet (not the thread on here) they said you could scrape it out of the mold and keep stirring it (by hand) if it had separated and put it back into the mold again.

I think all these details are right. : ) It is very complicated reading 66 pages of thread and working out the final results after everyone has done 3 or 4 batches.
 
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