Troubleshooting gloopy made-from-scratch Melt & Pour

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LisaBoBisa

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@ResolvableOwl
I used 80% hard oils and 20% castor oil! Here's the recipe I tried.

HP stage:
Lisa's Translucent Soap 1 Orange Jelly 1-11-22.png


I didn't see anything recommending against this, so I also added 3/4 tsp sodium lactate and 3% citrate.

Photos:
1. After the cook (looking a little translucent)
2 After the cook.jpg

Cook: 3 hours (both recipes I looked at said 3 hours, which surprised me--It takes less than an hour for HP! Sounds like a long cook makes the salts smaller and easier to suspend in a translucent soap.)

After the cook:
Break up soap and gradually dissolve in 60g glycerin and 185g alcohol (This part took me 4 hours in the crock pot, longer than I expected, but I worried about evaporating alcohol with too much heat and used Keep Warm instead of Low) *Full disclosure: I'm trying to do this using 40% ethanol, and I know that'll never give me transparent bars. I really want to use gin as an ingredient for a themed soap. I hope the only thing that affects is how transparent it is.

2. Stirring in alcohol and glycerin
3. Mostly-dissolved soap ***I reread both sets of instructions looking for things I did wrong, and I kept opening the pot and stirring during this step, which probably let too much alcohol evaporate. Next time I'll stick blend the cooked soap into the alcohol/glycerin, seal it up with a silicon sheet, and keep the lid on for a few hours.***
4 alcohol and glycerin.jpg
4 Mostly Dissolved Soap.jpg

After soap dissolves:
Pull out undissolved soap bits, then stir in fully dissolved sugar syrup--114g sugar dissolved in 71g water.

4. adding thick sugar water, which...
5. Instantly seized up the melt and pour. Hopefully it'll remelt looking prettier, but either way it feels nice.
5 Adding sugar water.jpg
6 Gloopy siezed up soap.jpg
 
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ResolvableOwl

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Thanks! The hard oils look fine; it might be worth reallocating some of the lard to tallow, to increase hardness a bit. H=48 sounds alright, and shouldn't give you something with a honey-like consistency.

But then, there is the 20% castor. Castor oil is a godsend, but it can totally misbehave if overdosed. And maybe that's what has happened here. I never used castor at above 10% in M&P. In liquid soap it can cause “dilution” (LS does not become thick, but stays runny-watery), maybe something similar is happening here too.

Have you heated your sugar syrup? The “seizing” how you called it, might be the solidification (“freezing”) of hard soaps, when the syrup is colder than the HP soap batter. It can't hurt to heat the sugar syrup to about 70°C (not much more, otherwise you'll boil off the alcohol).
Not knowing your full instructions, my gut feel tells me that it might be an idea to swap the alcohol and sugar additions, i. e. add glycerol & sugar syrup & lactate just at the end of HP, and when the batter has become smooth again, whisk in the booze and pretty much immediately pour into a mould (and cover with cling wrap to counteract skin formation).

Glad that at least it feels great! Then it's not a failure, but the soap just does its thing without caring about your expectations. That sometimes happens. :)
If your goal is clarity, superfat is not your friend. 1–2% instead of 5% is still safe enough, but does not make the soap murky.

I concur that 3 hours of cooking is likely too much. There is no point in risking HP to dry up/burn, when saponification is finished. And it's finished as soon as it passes the clarity test, regardless what the wall clock tells you.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I worried about evaporating alcohol with too much heat
glycerin + ethanol + simple sugar syrup = clarifiers. Providing enough heat helps them to melt/clear the soap.
I'm trying to do this using 40% ethanol,
40% ethanol won't do the job as well as 150-190 proof alcohol/ethanol, aka, "Everclear" that you buy at the liquor store.
I really want to use gin
Most gins (and vodkas) are 80 proof, i.e. 40% ethanol by volume. Everclear is a better choice if you can find it.
I didn't see anything recommending against this, so I also added 3/4 tsp sodium lactate and 3% citrate.
LOL I recommend against it. Your recipe doesn't need it. At least not until after you've made a successful batch. Then give it a try. ;)
the 20% castor. Castor oil is a godsend, but it can totally misbehave if overdosed.
:thumbs::thumbs: Eliminate the castor or reformulate with a lower amount. in terms of SoapCalc, aim for INS 165 or higher using more coconut and less castor.
If your goal is clarity, superfat is not your friend.
:thumbs::thumbs: 0% SF is recommended. You don't want any unsaponified FAs in the batch.
Have you heated your sugar syrup?
:thumbs::thumbs: TIP: When I make the syrup, I add the sugar to cold water and nuke in the microwave. Stir. If the solution is tinged with yellow, I heat it for 10 more seconds or so to get the sugar completely dissolved. It should be clear with no yellowish color. I add it with the glycerin & alcohol and heat. The resulting soap is watery with a thin film on top.
3 hours of cooking is likely too much. There is no point in risking HP to dry up/burn, when saponification is finished. And it's finished as soon as it passes the clarity test
:thumbs: :thumbs:If you don't discount the water, i.e., use 38% water of oil weight (recommended for HP), then a 3 hour cook may make more sense. But use your best judgement.

The batch should be fully saponified before adding your warmed polyol mix.

ETA: The above advice is based on my experience making Transparent Soap in 2004 and beyond.
I have never tried making M&P from scratch, so
2¢ Worth.gif
worth. :D
Transparent soap is watery. I would pour it into single cavity molds and freeze for 1 hour. The hardened soaps popped right out. Required a 3-month cure. Lovely soap with copious lather.
 
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ResolvableOwl

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FYI: I find the easiest way to make M&P base is a two-step process: first make ordinary bar soap (HP or CP, doesn't matter). Grate it up, mix the flakes with sugars/polyols, and slowly melt up in a water bath/simmer pot/CPOP oven.
I avoid ethanol (to eliminate evaporation), but make liberal use of propylene glycol instead. For me it has turned out to be the best M&P solvent, in terms of ease to remelt, sweating, clarity, film formation, non-stickiness, and fluidity when melted.
 

Zany_in_CO

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@ResolvableOwl I do something similar to make transparent bars. Once the bars are made, I wait 2 weeks before grating them up. Then, hold on to your hats, folks, I grate them up, put 8 oz gratings in an 8-cup Pyrex and nuke on HIGH in the microwave for 5 minutes. The liquid rises all the way to the top and drops just short of overflowing right at the 5-minutes mark! I let it rest 5 minutes before pouring. Not recommended for the faint of heart! :D

As much as I loved making and using transparent soaps, I stopped doing that because it cost twice as much to make as regular soap. Plus, my main competition was transparent M&P soaps -- at that time they were so much cheaper that it just wasn't worth the time and expense. I feel the same way about M&P -- why bother making it from scratch when you can buy the bases for far less than the cost of making from scratch?
 

LisaBoBisa

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OH MY GOODNESS you guys are helpful.
@Zany_in_CO I'll leave the citrate and lactate out next time!

@ResolvableOwl You're so right--I used an electric kettle to boil water and pour it into my RT sugar, and since I mixed 1 part water into 2 parts sugar, it was enough heat to dissolve the sugar, but it was probably not that hot by the time I mixed it in, so that might be the culprit. Thx for the explanation... now I understand more. I'll try swapping the syrup and the alcohol's add times, drop the superfat to 1-2%, and use more tallow and less lard, too.

I had no idea you could just rebatch soap to make M&P; new plan for my trimmings! I didn't understand why Royal Apple Berry rebatched and whipped soap by adding loads of simple syrup when I first saw her YouTube videos, but trying this process explains a lot.

Castor Oil:
My info only comes from reading, not from your levels of experience, but for what it's worth, Tracy Ariza explained that castor oil acts as a bit of a solvent on its own, and that's why her glycerin M&P uses 25% castor (and a similar one uses 28%). The recipe I tried was a combination of both of their recipes. If you two don't use ridiculous amounts of castor for making remeltable soap, it must not be necessary, and I won't use that much! (I have latex allergies, so I'd rather not use tons of castor oil.)

@ResolvableOwl I do something similar to make transparent bars. Once the bars are made, I wait 2 weeks before grating them up. Then, hold on to your hats, folks, I grate them up, put 8 oz gratings in an 8-cup Pyrex and nuke on HIGH in the microwave for 5 minutes. The liquid rises all the way to the top and drops just short of overflowing right at the 5-minutes mark! I let it rest 5 minutes before pouring. Not recommended for the faint of heart! :D

As much as I loved making and using transparent soaps, I stopped doing that because it cost twice as much to make as regular soap. Plus, my main competition was transparent M&P soaps -- at that time they were so much cheaper that it just wasn't worth the time and expense. I feel the same way about M&P -- why bother making it from scratch when you can buy the bases for far less than the cost of making from scratch?
It's not transparent, but this opaque M&P from scratch recipe looks cheap--only uses glycerine as a solvent, and I could probably use less by adding syrup? (My local farmer's market prefers made from scratch products, so I gotta go homemade.)
 
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