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what is this stuff on my cocoa butter bars?

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JBot

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Several of my recent batches have developed this dusty white coating. It's really strange; what little I know about ash makes me think it can't possibly be ash, for the following reasons:

1. It's hot process, fully saponified before going into the mold, so very little lye/carbon dioxide contact. (Is ash even possible with HP?)

2. It covers all 6 sides of the bars pretty evenly

3. It takes a long time to develop. Like 3-4 weeks.

4. It only happens on bars superfatted with solid butters, such as cocoa or shea, but NEVER on bars superfatted with liquids like meadowfoam or sweet almond oil.

5. Surfaces that are planed in the first week after making/cutting the soap will develop the dusty coating after several weeks, just like the untouched surfaces.

It seems to wears off easily if the bar is handled a lot; does ash wear off easily? It also comes off easily if the bar is quickly rinsed in water.

But if it isn't ash, then what could it be? The fact that it only happens on bars superfatted with shea or cocoa butter makes me wonder if it could be fat bloom, like you sometimes see on chocolate.

Thanks all!

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Dorymae

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It is ash. Just wash it off when you notice it. Once it is fully cured it won't happen anymore.

I have had this, all over and it feels a bit rough but washes off.
 

Dana89

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Those are really nice HP bars. I have never HPed, but I would if I thought they could come out that smooth.
 

Seawolfe

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I've gotten ash on my HP soap - yeah that looks like ash to me. Yes it washes or wipes off easily.
 

JBot

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Those are really nice HP bars. I have never HPed, but I would if I thought they could come out that smooth.
Thanks! :-D I'd be happy to tell you my process if you ever want to try it.

It is ash. Just wash it off when you notice it. Once it is fully cured it won't happen anymore.
I've gotten ash on my HP soap - yeah that looks like ash to me. Yes it washes or wipes off easily.
Huh. I honestly didn't think ash was chemically possible on HP. I love how there's always something new to learn in this hobby!

Any theories on why it happens when I superfat with solid butter, but it doesn't when I superfat with liquid oil?
 

DeeAnna

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"...Is ash even possible with HP?..."

Yes, soda ash will form any time lye is active. In HP, it would form in the crock pot (or whatever you're using to cook the soap). Most of it would end up being mixed into the soap, so it's not visible, but it's there. I'd say HP tends to prevent visible ash, just by the nature of HP, but obviously other HP'ers are saying they do get visible ash sometimes.

Since the soap is high in cocoa butter, your other idea of a fat bloom might be right.

So which is it? Here's something to try -- gently rub a bit of the layer off on your fingers and rub your fingers together. Does the stuff have a dry powdery feel on your finger tips? Does it rinse off your skin fairly easily with cold water? If so, it's probably ash. Does it have a waxy, draggy feel when rubbed between your finger tips? Does it NOT rinse off easily with cold water? If so, it's probably a fat bloom.
 
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JBot

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Since the soap is high in cocoa butter, your other idea of a fat bloom might be right.

So which is it? Here's something to try -- gently rub a bit of the layer off on your fingers and rub your fingers together. Does the stuff have a dry powdery feel on your finger tips? Does it rinse off your skin fairly easily with cold water? If so, it's probably ash. Does it have a waxy, draggy feel when rubbed between your finger tips? Does it NOT rinse off easily with cold water? If so, it's probably a fat bloom.
It leaves a waxy, draggy feel when rubbed between my fingertips, AND it rinses off easily. Helpful, right? LOL

Yes, I don't know about the ash, but you make the prettiest HP bars around.
Thanks! I'm always trying to improve my recipes and techniques. I feel like I'm never quite finished, you know?
 

not_ally

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" I feel like I'm never quite finished, you know." Thank goodness! There's always a batch to look forward to making another day. Makes the expensive soap mold totally justifiable!
 

DeeAnna

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"...It leaves a waxy, draggy feel when rubbed between my fingertips, AND it rinses off easily. Helpful, right? LOL..."

Arrrrrggggghhhh!!!! :Kitten Love: Okay, so let's stick with the waxy draggy feel and ignore the "rinses off easily" part. I hearby declare it's fat bloom. So There! <...stamps foot in mock aggravation and goes off in a huff to read a trashy vampire novel in bed...>
 

not_ally

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Do fat blooms wash off in chocolate? I might have to buy a bar to check and compare to your pics, Jane, purely in the interest of science, of course. Wait, I might have to buy several bars, what if there are no fat blooms on the first? OK, make that MANY bars. See how much research I am willing to do for you sciency HP wonks? If they have to cut open the side of the house to get the crane in for body retrieval purposes, it will have been for a good cause :)
 

DeeAnna

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"...Do fat blooms wash off in chocolate?..."

Not that I'm aware of, nor do they wash off leather (yes, some types of leather can get fat blooms and these are what I'm the most familiar with). But I'm thinking any soap contamination with the wax would make a "soap bloom" much more likely to wash off, compared to a waxy fat bloom on chocolate or leather.

(Finished said vampire novel last night. She and Dracula killed off 7 werewolves and she rescued the human girl. Tasty.....!)

(....I could have used a nice milk chocolate bar last night to go with said novel. With or without bloom ... I'd have eaten it all in the name of science, of course....)
 
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hlee

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Do fat blooms wash off in chocolate? I might have to buy a bar to check and compare to your pics, Jane, purely in the interest of science, of course. Wait, I might have to buy several bars, what if there are no fat blooms on the first? OK, make that MANY bars. See how much research I am willing to do for you sciency HP wonks? If they have to cut open the side of the house to get the crane in for body retrieval purposes, it will have been for a good cause :)
You can't wash fat bloom off chocolate. You can sometimes get rid of it though by putting your chocolate in a very warm place for a few hours or overnight. Not warm enough to melt it completely though. It's a fine line.
 

JBot

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You guys are all so sweet, forcing yourselves to consume that awful chocolate just to help me with my soap problem! Ya'll are the best. :-D

A few more bits of information on the matter: when I rub what I KNOW to be ash (formed overnight on fresh CP), it feels kind of chalky to me. Sometimes it kind of pills/rolls up a bit when rubbed.

When I rub the mystery dust on my HP bars, there's no bits rolling up, and if I do it long enough my fingers start to feel greasy. (So glad nobody looks at me weird when I'm standing around fondling the soap.)

I have to rub a bit to rinse off ash; the mystery dust just rinses away without any friction.

I don't know if it's fat bloom, but it doesn't really seem like ash, either. Has anyone ever heard of ash taking WEEKS to form on HP? And it seems odd that it only happens on bars that are superfatted after the cook with saturated fats (shea butter, cocoa butter), and never on bars with unsaturated superfats (meadowfoam oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil).
 

MagicalMysterySoap

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Thanks! :-D I'd be happy to tell you my process if you ever want to try it.
Please share your method, I am curious about your technique. Cp is the preferred method around here so there is a lot of info on that. I am an hp soaper so whenever there are other hp gals I am always curious about their processes. :smile:
 

Dorymae

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"...It leaves a waxy, draggy feel when rubbed between my fingertips, AND it rinses off easily. Helpful, right? LOL..."

Arrrrrggggghhhh!!!! :Kitten Love: Okay, so let's stick with the waxy draggy feel and ignore the "rinses off easily" part. I hearby declare it's fat bloom. So There! <...stamps foot in mock aggravation and goes off in a huff to read a trashy vampire novel in bed...>
I am overruled and bow respectfully off the stage. . . :wave:
 

Rowan

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Wow, gorgeous HP bars. Please do share your method, I've never had great looking or smooth HP bars.

I do get the same ash/bloom on my CP bars that develops over a few weeks. However mine doesn't wash off easily, as if it's deeper than Ash. I only use 5% cocoa butter. It's different to my usual ash which seems to develop very early, is thicker and rubs off more easily.
 

DeeAnna

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Oh, no, Dorymae -- please stay! It's always good when you're around -- I enjoy your good humor, sensible advice, and kindness.

If I lend you my trashy vampire novel, will that make it better???? :)

Susie -- No, I'm reading a series by J.R. Rain. The main character is Samantha Moon, vampire private eye for hire. I'm on book 10 of 10, so I might look up the Hamilton book you mentioned.
 

JBot

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Please share your method, I am curious about your technique. Cp is the preferred method around here so there is a lot of info on that. I am an hp soaper so whenever there are other hp gals I am always curious about their processes. :smile:
It's pretty straightforward! I bring it to medium trace, split the batter into 2 or 3 pots, add color, and put in the oven. (The pot have lids.) I've experimented with temperatures from 170F to 210F, and the only thing the temp seems to affect is the cook time and the fluidity; hotter seems more fluid to me. I cook only until it's fully gelled and stops zapping. Then I take it out, add FO and superfat, swirl in the pot, and pour/glop it into the mold. I often use a hangar or chopstick to do additional swirling after it's molded.
 
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