Trouble with lard soap

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Navaria

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I finally got a chance to make my first batch of lard soap last night. I'll post the recipe in the next post, the pic is on my phone, not my computer. Anyway, I had a heck of a time with it. I mixed my oils and lye, stick blended to what I thought was emulsion, and separated out batter for my colors, then added my FO to all parts. When I started mixing my batter into my colors (dispersed in 1 tbs of batch oils) I could not get trace. In fact, it started separating badly. But the uncolored part traced fine. I could not get it to come back together for anything. I ended up having to dump everything back together and stick blend it for another 2-3 minutes to get it to combine again. Is false trace common with high lard recipes? Do I need to do something different to add colorant to it? If the uncolored part had done the same, I would blame it on the FO but that part behaved just as it was supposed to.
Recipe

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RobertBarnett

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You couldn't have had a false trace. You said you mixed to emulsion. I submit that you did't get emulsion. You didn't mix long enough to get emulsion.

Robert
 

topofmurrayhill

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I finally got a chance to make my first batch of lard soap last night. I'll post the recipe in the next post, the pic is on my phone, not my computer. Anyway, I had a heck of a time with it. I mixed my oils and lye, stick blended to what I thought was emulsion, and separated out batter for my colors, then added my FO to all parts. When I started mixing my batter into my colors (dispersed in 1 tbs of batch oils) I could not get trace. In fact, it started separating badly. But the uncolored part traced fine. I could not get it to come back together for anything. I ended up having to dump everything back together and stick blend it for another 2-3 minutes to get it to combine again. Is false trace common with high lard recipes? Do I need to do something different to add colorant to it? If the uncolored part had done the same, I would blame it on the FO but that part behaved just as it was supposed to.
Don't know how many portions you had, but presumably at least 3. Since it's not a big batch, those portions would cool pretty rapidly. If you do the math you will find that adding 1 TBS oil to the colored portions dilutes them more than you might have considered (maybe 5% for 4 portions) and further cools them. You didn't mention the temp you soaped at but it seems you might need to go warmer. With a hard oil recipe I personally would hesitate to use the batch oil to mix the colors. Since I doubt the cottonseed oil is bringing all that much to the party, you could remove it from the recipe and just use it to mix the colors and skip the lye discount. Just add it proportionally to the uncolored portion to keep things even.

Of those suggestions, I think the key ones would be to soap warmer and do the same thing to the uncolored portion that you do to the others, just without the color.
 

Susie

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False trace is when you get what appears to be medium trace when in fact your lard/CO is simply hardening up.

"I mixed my oils and lye, stick blended to what I thought was emulsion, and separated out batter for my colors, then added my FO to all parts."

I think you simply did not stick blend long enough to begin with. High lard soaps take their own sweet time to trace. I would also soap a bit warmer to speed things up.
 

Rusti

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I'm hardly fully qualified to help with only 6 batches under my belt, but I have definitely noticed that compared to the palm oil batches I did, Susie is right - lard takes way, way longer to trace (and I kinda dig it, newbie gets lots of time to play!).
 

Navaria

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Yes, I did soap cool. I used my masterbatched lye so it was room temp and I just warmed the oils to the point they were clear liquid. So I will warm my oils more next time and blend longer. TOMH, I'm not quite understanding what you're saying. I pulled the TBS of oil from the 32 oz., not added additional to it. Are you suggesting I keep everything in the recipe the same except not add the cottonseed to the rest of the oils; instead hold it back to mix colorants?
 

Susie

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With high lard soap, I would have those oils at least very warm to touch if you are masterbatching your lye.
 

Steve85569

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At 40% plus lard I soap very warm to the touch (120 -130 F) . Like Rusti and others have said lard traces fairly slowly and gives me time to play. SB, dawdle, SB check for separation.... I usually have several minutes to decide on colors AFTER I have got to a heavy emulsion / light trace.

You could say the lard need to be beaten into submission in order to make great soap.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Yes, I did soap cool. I used my masterbatched lye so it was room temp and I just warmed the oils to the point they were clear liquid. So I will warm my oils more next time and blend longer. TOMH, I'm not quite understanding what you're saying. I pulled the TBS of oil from the 32 oz., not added additional to it. Are you suggesting I keep everything in the recipe the same except not add the cottonseed to the rest of the oils; instead hold it back to mix colorants?
Sorry that I wasn't clear. There are multiple issues. They might not all be important in everyone's mind but personally they would all bug me.

The tablespoons of oil that you're using to disperse the colors are stone cold by the time you add them in. That cools down the colored portions more than the uncolored portion.

Since you removed oil for coloring before adding lye, more of the superfat you calculated ends up in the colored portions than the uncolored portion after you add the oils back.

These tablespoons might seem like a small amount, but a tablespoon of oil ends up being in the neighborhood of 5% of the oil in the colored parts, depending on how you divide the batter.

To disperse colors I prefer to use an oil that I know will stay fully clear and liquid. Even if you can't see it, the batch oil you mixed the colors into would be room temperature and clouded.

There are various ways to address those issues and I just suggested one possibility. It involved a recipe change, but on second thought you can keep the recipe as it is and reserve some of the cottonseed oil to mix the colors, then add it back evenly to all the portions of batter, including uncolored oil into the uncolored portion.

I like all the portions to be the same, but this case seems to illustrate why it makes a difference.

If you do this recipe again, I'd increase the lye concentration to 30% or more. At 26%, slow recipes start wanting to separate.
 

Navaria

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Sorry that I wasn't clear. There are multiple issues. They might not all be important in everyone's mind but personally they would all bug me.

The tablespoons of oil that you're using to disperse the colors are stone cold by the time you add them in. That cools down the colored portions more than the uncolored portion.

Since you removed oil for coloring before adding lye, more of the superfat you calculated ends up in the colored portions than the uncolored portion after you add the oils back.

These tablespoons might seem like a small amount, but a tablespoon of oil ends up being in the neighborhood of 5% of the oil in the colored parts, depending on how you divide the batter.

To disperse colors I prefer to use an oil that I know will stay fully clear and liquid. Even if you can't see it, the batch oil you mixed the colors into would be room temperature and clouded.

There are various ways to address those issues and I just suggested one possibility. It involved a recipe change, but on second thought you can keep the recipe as it is and reserve some of the cottonseed oil to mix the colors, then add it back evenly to all the portions of batter, including uncolored oil into the uncolored portion.

I like all the portions to be the same, but this case seems to illustrate why it makes a difference.

If you do this recipe again, I'd increase the lye concentration to 30% or more. At 26%, slow recipes start wanting to separate.
Ah I'm understanding what you're saying now. I'll change things up a bit before I make another batch. Part of why I soaped so cool was because the FO I was using advised soap cool and NOT to gel, or the scent would disappear. I guess I was more concerned with this than with getting my temps high enough to prevent these problems. Chalk this up to a lesson learned. I need to balance and not go to extremes.
 

cmzaha

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I can not tell you what happened, because I got in a hurry and did the same thing. You did not have a stable emulsion before pouring off for your colors. I poured off my 3 parts to color, yellow, blue & orange, had it just at emulsion when I added in the fo. Lo and behold they separated, but main batch was fine. It just was not emulsified well enough to hold the fo. I added in some of the main batch into the blue to get it to slight trace then poured the yellow an orange back into the main batch. All worked out fine, just did not get the colors I wanted.
 

Navaria

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Well the whole thing was a flop :( When I cut the bars last night, every single one broke into 3 pieces. I'm going to guess I waited too long to cut it. They were also a little zappy at the time, but that seems to have gone away now. Not sure if they broke because they were still cold inside, or if I shouldn't have used SL in them and it made them too hard. Or if like I said, I just waited too long to cut them. So now I have to hp to save my broken bars, which means I'll lose the scent from the FO. Sigh. This was NOT a good first try for lard :(
 
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Obsidian

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My lard recipe is usually ready to cut around 8 hours, they do get hard fast.
 

Susie

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If you are trying a new technique, you need to use a familiar recipe. If trying a new ingredient, you need to use a familiar technique. That way, if you run into issues, you know where to look. But lard is such an awesome soaping oil, you really need to hang in there and give it another go.

If your bars broke along color lines, why not confetti each color into a single colored base? That will give you three batches that you can try varying amounts of lard in, and you save your FO.
 

Navaria

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There aren't any color lines. It was an ITPS. The technique is familiar and all the ingredients except the lard are familiar. Based on Obsidian's post, I would say they sat too long. I waited 24 hours before I tried to cut. I worked and that dang job got in the way of my soaping again lol
ETA: I like the confetti idea. I may give that a shot and see how it goes. I've been wanting to try a confetti anyways :)
 

Susie

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I cut my lard soaps between 18-24 hours. But I do not use SL or salt in my batches, so I am not at all sure why your soap broke.
 

cmzaha

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I usually cut my high lard, tallow or palm shops in 8-17 hrs. If I pour at emulsification with a 33-35% lye concentration they usually sit overnight. If they did not gel I will have to let them sit for 24 hrs or more. So a lot is dependant on when you cut. My high lard recipes usually do not become as hard as fast as my high tallow/lard combo
 

Dahila

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I use lard in almost every soap with combination of tallow. The trace is slow, and you can really tell when they emulsify. When I weight my oils I weight less 5 grams of OO for my oxides. I know it stay liquid. I add fo to all butter then separate after a moment of mixing into different bowls for colors.
They are ready to cut somewhere from 24 to 36 hours (I do not gel) I had never ready , even when gelled to cut after 8 hours. My gardener soap is cut after 6 hours but pumice and a high CO makes it hard .........
Next time it will come awesome;)
 

topofmurrayhill

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There aren't any color lines. It was an ITPS. The technique is familiar and all the ingredients except the lard are familiar. Based on Obsidian's post, I would say they sat too long. I waited 24 hours before I tried to cut. I worked and that dang job got in the way of my soaping again lol
ETA: I like the confetti idea. I may give that a shot and see how it goes. I've been wanting to try a confetti anyways :)
There should be no problem with 24 hours. Maybe you just got the perfect storm of things going wrong.

(1) Remember that room temp soaping is not a general-purpose technique. It became popular when crafters got into making a lot of soft recipes (maybe because Soapcalc told them to). Recipes with a lot of hard oil need traditional soaping temps, like 110 F or sometimes more.

(2) Use less water for slow recipes. Don't use less than 28% lye concentration for anything. When I want to do a high-water batch I use 30% concentration. Testing has demonstrated that with too much water there can be slight separation that makes your soap more alkaline at the bottom than the top, even when things seem to go mostly okay.

(3) With some recipes you have to be more careful to mix enough for a stable emulsion. You didn't necessarily portion it at the wrong time, but it's really useful if your color portions are big enough and in containers that are suitable for stick blending. Otherwise it can be hard to give them a good kick before pouring if they're too thin.

(4) Personally I would skip the cottonseed oil. It only helps slow things down and I don't feel it's likely to bring anything useful to the party. I'd suggest keep it simple and make the 80/20 recipe, or if you want to soften it a bit you can add some olive oil and/or 5% castor.
 
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