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what im doing wrong? soap tracing and emulsyfing too fast

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AIRDOG

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Hi soapmakers, i have been wanting to start to make soap by my own but i have been having struggles.... maybe its my recipes or my method i dont know

I have tried making soap with coca butter, palm and coconut oil and in order to do that i have to heat it in a pan for it to melt.... i then make the lye solution, I use brambleberry soap calculator for the volumes.....

so when i have this oils and butter melted i add the still hot lye solution and mix a few seconds with a stick blender and it appears to saponify and get grainy and thick in seconds,
the resulting puree is difficult to get into the mold and makes for a lot of empty spots.

i have donde this at between 100-130 °C, should i wait till everything is colder? even with the risk of the butters solidifying(specially cocoa) as i have read that if you do it colder.

exact recipe was like this:
coconut oil 30%
palm oil 30%
canola oil 20%
olive oil 15%
cocoa butter5%

I added the lye quickly in one go andthe thing traced and became a thick paste in seconds so its impossible for it to mold correctly and pretty, in the top it looks nice but the bottom has empty pockets ill be adding pics.... I am soaping to hot? or what else might be the problem? i see videos on youtube but they never say things too helpful for me, and i see their batter gives them a lot of time to work with and is more runny instead of the grainy paste i get
 

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dibbles

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Hi Airdog and welcome. You said you were mixing when your temperature was (oils or lye solution or both?) 100-130 C. If you meant F, then the answer is those temps are ok even though I prefer soaping closer to 100 and for me 130 is too high. If you did mean C, then yes - it's too hot. I am assuming you are trying to make cold process (CP) soap. If you are making hot process (HP), then I'm not sure as I don't make that. Others that are more knowledgeable should be along to help you out if that is the case. That seems like an awfully large batch to begin with as well.
 

Arimara

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You're soaping too hot if the temperatures are 100-130 C. Bring that down to 30-40 C to have a safer, more manageable soaping experience. While I'm at it, if this is your first time soaping, why in the world are you making all that soap to begin with? We advise beginers to make smaller batches of at least 300g ppo so less resources are used and they can learn what they are doing. If you actually are thinking about selling, it's also STRONGLY advised that you put that idea on the shelf for awhile. Good vendors firstly know what they are doing when making soap and secondly, have taken the time to learn how their oils work to better formulate their recipes.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh but I honestly would rather see you and other beginners take your time to learn what you're doing and how to do it safely. That fact that you soaped that particular recipe at 100+ C (I really hope that's really F) tells me volumes about where you are as a soaper, and I am not an expert at the least.
 
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AIRDOG

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Sorry i meant farenheit.... Also should i wait for the lye solution to cool down? Should i add lye solution slowly or can i just pour it fast in one go??
 
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AliOop

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Coconut oil and cocoa butter are both fast tracers, especially at higher temperatures. Definitely let your oils and your lye solution cool down to 110F or less if you want more time to play with your batter. My lye solution is usually 70-80 (room temp) and my oils are rarely over 100.

Consider making the lye solution first and setting it in an ice bath to cool off. Better yet, use refrigerated distilled water so that the solution doesn't get as hot to begin with.

While the lye solution is cooling, melt only the hard oils (coconut, palm, and cocoa butter) on the stove.

When those are melted, take the pot off the stove, and add in the liquid oils. They don't need to be heated at all, and they will help bring down the temp of the melted hard oils so you aren't waiting as long.

It doesn't really matter how fast you pour in the lye, as long as it isn't splashing anywhere.
 

glendam

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It will be best if you do wait for the the lye water solution to cool down. Mine is usually at room temperature (74-85 F). You could have your oils cooler too. The melting temperature of cocoa butter is 101 F, and you only have a small amount of it. I would say try to keep your oils close to 100-110 F and it should go better. Then be careful with the stick blender, do not try to reach trace right away, go slowly. (I do 10 second bursts, and stir for 20-30 seconds in between).
 

amd

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My recipe traces quickly, so here's what I do. *Note: I can do this because I have separate space away from husband, kids, and nosy pets.* My recipe has a lot of hard oils (I include coconut oil as a hard oil when I look at recipes, I know not all soapers do), around 65%, and includes shea butter and cocoa butter. I melt my oils together and let them cool slowly to room temperature. If my room temp is a bit on the cold side, my oils set to a hair gel consistency, I don't worry about if I can stir it and see no large lumps of hard oils. Sometimes I see fine beads of [what I think is cocoa butter] hard oil but I don't worry about those, they melt out during the mixing process. If I do have larger lumps of hard oils, I will microwave my oils to get them back to a liquid state, but not hot. Maybe important to note here that I don't take temperatures, everything is done by feeling the outside of lye and oil containers, or sometimes a finger dip into the OIL container if I think the outside feels too hot. If I can hold my finger in the oil for a few seconds I'm good to go. *Note: if you think your oil container is way too hot, don't do this, let it cool a bit, or use a thermometer. Please be safe and don't burn yourself.* My guess is the temp that I'm feeling for is around 90°F for oils if I have to microwave them.

So if my oils are gellish with no lumps, I will use fresh lye solution and I don't wait for it to cool only wait for the cloudiness from the initial mixing to settle. If my oils need a warmup in the microwave or are liquid at room temp, then I will make lye solution and let it sit until it is room temp. Lately I've been making lye solution the day before soapmaking.

So yes, I think you're soaping far too hot. A simple method you may find works for you is to only pre-melt your cocoa butter, add the cocoa butter and hard oils into the bowl and use the heat from fresh made lye solution to melt those oils - no stickblender, just use the spatula to stir until the lumps have melted. If you break up the hard oils into smaller pieces they melt faster and easier. You can then add your liquid oils (I would pre-measure them into a separate container before you start, so you can pour it all in one go) and use the stick blender to combine.

Another thing to consider is how powerful your stick blender is. If it has a low power setting, start with that. Stop stick blending as soon as you see the slightest sign of trace, use your spatula to stir things around and check trace again. I've found with a fast moving recipe that stopping a bit sooner than I think I need to and hand stirring for 10 seconds will finish the trace process.

Good luck!
 

AIRDOG

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Thanks for all the answers... Of all the batch not Even one was perfect

Also i think it has something to do with My oils, the coconut oil is very líquid unlike some i see that turns like Butter and the palm oil is very thick, and the cocoa Butter is hard as a soap in itself (Will add pictures) top one is My coconut oil, bottom is palm and the cocoa butter is the hard one.... I'll do a batch with no cocoa in it to see if i get the same problem
 

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GemstonePony

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New question: if you put the coconut oil in the refrigerator, will it harden? Because if not, it might be fractionated coconut oil, which has different properties in soap than coconut oil.

Back to trace:
1. Melt everything thoroughly, wait for both oils and lye mixture to be 100-110°f.
2. If you have additives that need to be added to the oils, blend the additives into the oils. If you have additives that need to be blended into the lye water, use the stick blender for that.
3. Forget the stick blender exists.
4. Use a silicone whisk and a spatula to bring the batter to emulsion.
5. Fragrance, color, and pour

If you have a "freight train" recipe, I cannot overemphasize the importance of pre- measuring your fragrance, pre-measuring and pre-dispersing your colorants, and pre-soaking your clays. If your recipe gives you 1-2 minutes from emulsion to pudding, you have to be prepared and move quickly.
 

glendam

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New question: if you put the coconut oil in the refrigerator, will it harden? Because if not, it might be fractionated coconut oil, which has different properties in soap than coconut oil.

Back to trace:
1. Melt everything thoroughly, wait for both oils and lye mixture to be 100-110°f.
2. If you have additives that need to be added to the oils, blend the additives into the oils. If you have additives that need to be blended into the lye water, use the stick blender for that.
3. Forget the stick blender exists.
4. Use a silicone whisk and a spatula to bring the batter to emulsion.
5. Fragrance, color, and pour

If you have a "freight train" recipe, I cannot overemphasize the importance of pre- measuring your fragrance, pre-measuring and pre-dispersing your colorants, and pre-soaking your clays. If your recipe gives you 1-2 minutes from emulsion to pudding, you have to be prepared and move quickly.
Freight train recipe! I have never heard that phrase but I have definitely worked with that kind recipe!
 

KiwiMoose

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I notice you said that your lye solution was still hot. I would suggest waiting for it to cool right down - as @AliOop has said even room temperature. It doesn't matter if your lye solution is cooler than your oils. So your lye could be around 90 and your oils 105. I make the lye solution up first - before i do anything else and let it cool while I get everything else ready. I make it using ice cubes AND refrigerated water (about 50/50) so that it's cool to start with. If it is taking too long to cool (as in our current NZ temps) I will sit it in an ice or cold water bath to hurry along the cooling process.
Another tweak you could try is increasing your OO to 25% and taking 10% off your CO. This will also aid in achieving a slower-tracing recipe.
I add my lye solution all in one go - as a slow pour, but still in one go.
Good luck and keep us posted. You'll get the hang of it.
 

RevolutionSoap

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I'm still learning myself so I'm not an expert. But before I even started soaping I spent months reading books, watching YouTube videos, reading on this forum etc. The YouTube videos were especially helpful because instead of just reading about the process I could see it in action.
 

amd

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If your recipe gives you 1-2 minutes from emulsion to pudding, you have to be prepared and move quickly.
Bahahaha. Sorry, that gave me the giggles. My recipe goes from liquid to pudding in the count of 30 when stickblending. I wish I had 1-2 minutes. Also a good reason to learn the art of "stop blending at emulsification".

he coconut oil is very líquid unlike some i see that turns like Butter and the palm oil is very thick, and the cocoa Butter is hard as a soap in itself
I don't think it is your oils. Your coconut oil (CO) does not look like fractionated coconut oil (my fractionated CO is extremely clear, your oil appears to be yellowish), it looks like coconut oil that is kept at a temperature higher than the melting point. CO typically is rated at 76°F melting point (although you can buy higher or lower I believe, 76 is the most common), so if your room is warmer than 76 then your CO will be liquid. Your palm also looks like palm should, it is solid like butter with a higher melting point, above 90°F I think. Same with the cocoa butter, it is a hard brittle butter, much like baking chocolate bars. It has a melting point just slightly higher than 100°F, so I would not expect it to be anything other than what you have shown. At 5% cocoa butter, I don't think it is culprit causing your acceleration problems. If you were using a higher % - such as 15 or more, or using in combination with other butters, then it would be more suspect to me.

Also the size of the recipe contributes a lot. I didn't (and don't) have problems with my recipe when I was making 1lb or 2lb batches, but when I scaled up to 4lbs I had to learn how to deal with acceleration.

I think you are on the right track by downsizing your recipe and controlling your stick blender usage, but I would go ahead and add your cocoa butter back in and lower your soaping temperatures. Cocoa butter is one of the few oils I believe does contribute a lot to a soap without having to be a large percentage of the soap. I use it at 5% in my recipe, and in blind test with and without it, I don't like my soap without it.
 

KimW

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Yes it does... I Made another batch without cocoa Butter and it was way better, still used the stick vender but un shorts bursts, Made smaller batches too
Hey now - that looks better. Nicely done!

I'd also add the cocoa butter back in but do another smaller batch, just a thought.
 

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