Unexpectedly Improved Batch?

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

MellonFriend

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
572
Reaction score
1,350
Location
Middle Earth or Metropolis
A recent batch of soap I made has turned out better than any batch I've previously made. It was the same recipe that I always use; the only difference was that I master-batched my oils to do another batch in the same soaping session and it was a fragrance oil that I've never used. I made sure that my oils were extremely well mixed before dividing the batches, but is it possible that maybe I ended up with a different mix than normal? Is it possible for a fragrance oil to alter the qualities of a soap? I've never used this FO before (BB White Tea and Ginger). This batch was also done in a different mold than I usually do. It was an eight by eight slab mold that I did a column pour in so the soap was distributed in the mold differently than normal, but I can't imagine that had anything to do with it. Whatever it was the bar is harder, bubblier, and extremely wonderful to use. The other soap that I made at the same time is much softer and less bubbly, but I had chalked up the lack of hardness in that batch due to the fact that it didn't gel. Maybe it isn't a coincidence that the one batch got really hard and the other got softer, pointing to my oils having been distributed unevenly. Any thoughts based on the clues here?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
8,960
Reaction score
15,977
Location
US
Not gelling definitely makes a difference in how the soaps feel to me at first; gelled soaps are almost always firmer. That difference does lessen as the cure goes on.

My other thought was that perhaps the lye solutions were different concentrations.
 

MellonFriend

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
572
Reaction score
1,350
Location
Middle Earth or Metropolis
Was the harder batch the 1st or 2nd batch you made when you split the fats? If it was the second batch, did you weigh the oils again?
The second batch was the harder one, I can't say if I weighed them or not, I likely did not. Maybe I had slightly less oils than I expected to, causing a lower superfat? Is that what you are getting at?

Not gelling definitely makes a difference in how the soaps feel to me at first; gelled soaps are almost always firmer. That difference does lessen as the cure goes on.

My other thought was that perhaps the lye solutions were different concentrations.
By this batch being better than any others, I mean it's better than any other soap batch I have ever previously made, including others that have gelled. ;)

My lye solutions were made with the same concentrations. I did not master batch the lye. I made up separate solutions for each amount of oils.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,584
Reaction score
10,916
Location
Virginia
The second batch was the harder one, I can't say if I weighed them or not, I likely did not. Maybe I had slightly less oils than I expected to, causing a lower superfat? Is that what you are getting at?
Yep. For my recipes there is a detectable difference in how hard the soap feels out of the mold for 2-3% vs. 5-6%, so I was thinking it was possible that the second batch was a little shy of planned wt. Plus, I use the FO you used, so I ruled it out as a contributing factor and the fact that you made the soap in a slab mold seemed to decrease the chances of an overheating effect.
 

The_Phoenix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
967
Reaction score
3,528
Location
California
Did you use more oils to disperse colorants than usual for the softer batch? The best recipe in the world can be easily ruined for being liberal with oils used to disperse micas.

It’s possible that the masterbatch of fats wasn’t thoroughly mixed and you had an uneven/different proportion of fats in each batch of soap. I did that once. Never made that mistake again. 🤪
 
Last edited:

MellonFriend

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
572
Reaction score
1,350
Location
Middle Earth or Metropolis
Yep. For my recipes there is a detectable difference in how hard the soap feels out of the mold for 2-3% vs. 5-6%, so I was thinking it was possible that the second batch was a little shy of planned wt. Plus, I use the FO you used, so I ruled it out as a contributing factor and the fact that you made the soap in a slab mold seemed to decrease the chances of an overheating effect.
I did use 2% superfat in my recipe so maybe this one is even less of a superfat. If I ever do two batches at once again, I'll be sure to weigh the oils for the second round to be sure. Maybe I'll try a batch at 0-1% superfat sometime to see if I get a similar result. I don't know if it was my imagination, but I did think the suspect batch was a little zappier than most of my other soaps tend to be.
Did you use more oils to disperse colorants than usual for the softer batch? The best recipe in the world can be easily ruined for being liberal with oils used to disperse micas.

It’s possible that the masterbatch of fats wasn’t thoroughly mixed and you had an uneven/different proportion of fats in each batch of soap. I did that once. Never made that mistake again. 🤪
I did not use different amounts of oil to disperse my micas. It would have been the same with both batches. If it wasn't evenly mixed, I can't imagine how I could solve that problem since I am absolutely sure I thoroughly mixed the oils before dividing them. 🤷‍♀️
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2022
Messages
99
Reaction score
228
Location
NJ
@MellonFriend I have nothing of substance to add because I'm a new soaper, but I too made a batch with BB White Tea and Ginger that came out particularly nice. I did a Taiwan swirl and my swirls were super, best ever. Most of my cured bars wind up nice and hard and shiny, but this batch cured up faster, neater and just more polished-looking than the others. And these bars have the biggest bubbles. It just struck me as a one-off batch that came out superbly, and gave me confidence that I can indeed do this : )

It's a recipe I've used quite a bit. So I chalked this unprecedented success up to the soap gods smiling on me that day.

But reading your post, I figured I'd chime in.
 
Top