What happened to my soleseife?

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Meena

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Back on the Beginner Forum to ask about my first soap issue that developed on my 2nd batch.

Was adding some soaps to my cure box and rotating the soaps when I saw that 2 of the soleseife bars have developed a 'chip' where the piece could be removed straight off, without effort. One chip was about 1/5" diameter, and the other a lot larger wedge that seemed to break right where there was a mass of Ultramarine Blue Pigment colored soap (though my brain keeps saying the pigment has nothing to do with it). I think it's my recipe -- too much of hard oils with the salt water, causing brittleness? - but wondering what you all think? (recipe below)

20190119_lg chip 223859-1.jpg
20190119_lg chip offset 224013-1.jpg


Recipe:
EVOO 37.5%
Coconut 21.4%
Beef Tallow 19.6%
O/S Palm 14.3%
Castor 7.2%

SF 6%
Lye concentration 33%
salt water at a bit over 25% concentration (1 oz instead of .985 that should have been)
Vitamin E 5000 oil (added in, unmeasured at perhaps 1-2 oz, at last minute because I wasn't sure how the tallow should smell or if it was less-than-fresh)
No fragrance
One color was mixed in Vegetable Glycerin, and the other color in Hemp oil.

TIA <3
 

Obsidian

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How long after pouring did you cut this soap? I'm going to guess it was a bit too hard and developed micro crack when it was cut. As it cured and dried, the cracks got bigger until pieces fell off.
I've found soleseife to be similiar to a salt bar, needs cut as soon as its firm enough to do so.
 

Meena

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How long after pouring did you cut this soap? I'm going to guess it was a bit too hard and developed micro crack when it was cut. As it cured and dried, the cracks got bigger until pieces fell off.
I've found soleseife to be similiar to a salt bar, needs cut as soon as its firm enough to do so.
I didn't keep careful record of that, but I estimate at least 18 if not 22 hours. I'll be happy if it was just a timing issue!
 

Obsidian

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Yeah, that was quite a long time. I'm confident its just timing. I can't remember exactly when I cut mine but it was most likely 6 hours. My regular recipe is usually cut at 12 hours.
Anymore I usually make brine or salt bars in single molds, easier then having to babysit a loaf waiting for the perfect time.
 

Meena

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Yeah, that was quite a long time. I'm confident its just timing. I can't remember exactly when I cut mine but it was most likely 6 hours. My regular recipe is usually cut at 12 hours.
Anymore I usually make brine or salt bars in single molds, easier then having to babysit a loaf waiting for the perfect time.
That's an excellent suggestion! I have single molds coming tomorrow, so I will add that to my soleseife notes.
Thank you!
 

penelopejane

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It could also be over heating. Not so much during the making of it but as it was saponifying. I’ve had that happen before when I was working out my new gelling method. My problem was I was insulting it too much and it got too hot.

Soleseife shouldn’t really be granular.
 
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Meena

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It could also be over heating. Soleseife shouldn’t really be granular.
I wondered about the grainy/gritty look. Thought maybe it was from the salt water. This is the first one of my bars that I've seen inside of! All my batches get quite warm in the mold, but none have volcanoed. Does salt cause extra heating?

These have only been curing for 3 days as of the photograph (today is 4th day) -- would that have an effect on texture that will right itself over the next 2 -3 weeks, I wonder? Or should I rebatch this before it's too late?
 
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Obsidian

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No, absolutely no reason to rebatch. The texture is perfectly normal in a soap that has cracked or broke.

I just snapped one of my brine bars in half, it looks the same. This particular bar is around 2 years.

Never be in a hurry to rebatch. I ruined more soap using rebatch to fix "mistakes" then I care to admit.
 

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penelopejane

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No don’t rebatch. It is a pain and as obsidian says it isn’t always successful.

I’m not sure if salt causes overheating but I’ve made 25% soleseife that isn’t grainy like that. I’ve also made Castile (failures) with a lot less salt that looked like that.
 

SaltedFig

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@Meena, looking at the photo's you took when you first made these soaps, that purple was at the base of the soap when you cut it, so I would agree with Obsidian that it was a crack that was created during cutting, that has become obvious as the soap dries out during the cure.

This happens easily with knife-cut soaps (the knife blade forces apart the two pieces of soap as it cuts, which isn't too much of a problem with softer soap, but will cause cracks in brittle soaps). Cutting earlier will help (or individual molds, or wire cutting, although it can still happen with wire cutting, just not to the same extent).

The bubbles suggest to me that there was also a bit of overheating.
 

Meena

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@Meena, looking at the photo's you took when you first made these soaps, that purple was at the base of the soap when you cut it, so I would agree with Obsidian that it was a crack that was created during cutting, that has become obvious as the soap dries out during the cure.

This happens easily with knife-cut soaps (the knife blade forces apart the two pieces of soap as it cuts, which isn't too much of a problem with softer soap, but will cause cracks in brittle soaps). Cutting earlier will help (or individual molds, or wire cutting, although it can still happen with wire cutting, just not to the same extent).

The bubbles suggest to me that there was also a bit of overheating.
Thanks for your input, dear SaltedFig! Since this happened with 2/5ths of the bars, I wonder if it's possible that only part of the batter overheated? Or maybe the rest of the bars will crack/flake later? Thank goodness that it was only 1 out of 4 batches that did this. I think that, in future, I'll make this soleseife recipe in the individual silicone molds that people say they don't get gel in. :)
 

Dawni

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Soleseife, like salt bars, need to be cut soon as they're hard enough to cut, which is usually only a couple of hours after molding, and depending on room temp, sometimes not even a couple.

I learned that here, and reminded you of that window in another thread hehe.. I remember it was SaltedFig who even said "now" when I asked about cutting after about 4hrs I think.

Since then I only mold my soleseife in individual molds, because I am never sure if I'll get the time to cut when I need to.

I say don't rebatch - you made such pretty soap! - and just use the soap, crumbles n all as is. They're lovely to use. You can try cutting earlier next time, or use your pretty new molds :)

Oh btw, my soleseife also looks like that inside, and I used mainly coconut oil with shea so it is also mainly hard oils, so I also think it's just a timing issue.
 

SaltedFig

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Thanks for your input, dear SaltedFig! Since this happened with 2/5ths of the bars, I wonder if it's possible that only part of the batter overheated? Or maybe the rest of the bars will crack/flake later? Thank goodness that it was only 1 out of 4 batches that did this. I think that, in future, I'll make this soleseife recipe in the individual silicone molds that people say they don't get gel in. :)
Welcome :)

If you are unsure whether the other bars will crack or flake, given them a gentle tap all over, but mostly at the bottom, where the cutting pressure would have created cracks (as per Obsidian's post) - if they are going to break, it'll happen when you knock them. Once you've checked for any other cracks, I doubt you will see any further breakage. Any slight overheating (and it looks like it was slight) during the gel won't cause any trouble with your soap now.

The next time you see it breaking will be when it gets to a small sliver in use ... the thin pieces will often break apart.
Soleseife soaps do seem to come apart where colours join, even when swirled as a thin batter, which is an interesting difference from non-soleseife soaps.

I wouldn't re-batch either - they'll be lovely to use just as they are :)

Who was it that suggested putting all the little soapy pieces into a wash bag (to use as a wash cloth)? I thought that was an excellent idea! :)
 

Meena

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@Dawni and @SaltedFig -- Sorry you guys, not sure how i missed your 1/20 replies. ;(

I'll watch any future soleseife batches closely, and cut much sooner! @SaltedFig - I did wonder about the globs of color and whether they'd function as fault lines in the soap, since the colorants did seem to end up looking less-integrated into the soap itself than when no salt is present. (Hmmm filing that away in my brain for later pondering.)

The good news is that the soap is curing well and seems to be a very nice formulation! My dear SO started using it a few days ago (yes, only 2 weeks cure, but he wanted the broken bar, being the Prince Charming that he is) and has raved about it! He even said "it makes you want to take a shower." (Now there's a ringing endorsement! :cool: :thumbs:)

I haven't used it yet myself, so not sure if I would tweak my recipe. (I can be an Endless Tweaker, and I hate that about myself!)

So... No rebatching for this one, and it IS my prettiest soap, so far! :rolleyes: Thanks, you two!!
 
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