What makes lard trace slow?

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Ladka

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In fact I'm not sure how fast/slow sheep tallow is to trace cause I've always used only half or less of the entire mass of oils.
 

Mobjack Bay

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A search on “fat composition of edible food oils” or similar in Google, turns up graphs like the one below. Compared with post 4 there seem to be similar trends relative to how the animal fats trace.

91A40F46-67B7-40B2-A849-9B3C242B7497.jpeg
 

szaza

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I feel I've been a bit all over the place in this thread so I'll try to be a bit more structured from now on. There are so many things I want to understand that I've been losing oversight. Thanks for bearing with me..
(This thread turned out to be longer than expected, so I marked the less important/easy to skip sections)

@Mobjack Bay the article you linked to is so super informative, I should really have started reading it sooner. Working on that now;) thanks for sharing it!

After doing some more research I found out that refined oils have less Free Fatty Acids than unrefined oils. This means FFA's could still play a role in slowing/accelerating trace considering unrefined oils seem to trace faster. I'm working on an experiment where I'm comparing trace of refined vs unrefined cocoa butter at 25% in identical recipes.
Raw/unrefined CB traced at a reasonable pace. While stick blending in several second pulses with hand stirring in between it took 6mins to go from barely noticable trace to thick trace. I'll repeat the same recipe with refined CB when I'm back home from my trip.

At the moment I have 3 main hypotheses for why lard traces so exceptionally slow.

1. Free fatty acid content could be lower in lard. I'm still looking for a way to test this. Any help/tips are welcome!
I know there are tests for FFA content of oils, because it's used as a test for oil freshness in the food industry. Unfortunately, all the tests I find are industrial (and too expensive)
I looked further and found a test that shows whether carboxylic acids are present in a substance using sodium bicarbonate (when carboxylic acids are present, carbom dioxide is formed and it starts to bubble). That just doesn't seem like a very precise approach. It doesn't reliably tell how much and what kind of carboxylic acids are present.


2. Maybe there are different FA's at play that I haven't included in my calculations. I based my lard replacement recipe on the fatty acid profiles on soapcalc, which I recently found out are not complete. Is there a good database with a complete listing of all fatty acids of different oils? Or do I just have to google each one separately?

3. There could be a catalyst in the unsaponifiable matter. I really hope this is not the case and I'm going to explore the other 2 hypotheses first, because finding which tiny fraction of the unsaponifiables is the catalyst is going to be a rather tedious job.
 

Mobjack Bay

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I came across a research paper that might be useful. The results show that lard and chicken fat can be differentiated from beef and mutton fat (tallows) on the basis of their triacylglycerol structure and composition. (triacylglycerols or TAGs were formerly know as triglycerides) If I had read it before, I did not remember that the three fatty acids on a single TAG can be different. For example, one TAG can have two oleics and one palmitic (POO), while another can have one palmitic, one oleic and one linoleic (POL), etc. Apparently, lard has relatively more TAGS with oleic acid in the outside positions, denoted POO, PPO) on the glycerol backbone, while the tallows are distinguished by TAGS that have oleic acid in the middle position (denoted SOS, POS). The tallows also have relatively more TAGS where all three fatty acids are saturated, for example PPS or PSS.

As I understand it, pure fatty acids trace faster because they’re not attached to the glycerol backbone. Perhaps the structural arrangement of fatty acids on the TAG can also affect speed of trace.

Here’s the link: http://www.ifrj.upm.edu.my/19 (02) 2012/(14)IFRJ-2012 Rohman.pdf
 

szaza

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Wow I would never have thought about that, but that could indeed be an influence. I'll read the paper, thanks!!
 

Mobjack Bay

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Wow I would never have thought about that, but that could indeed be an influence. I'll read the paper, thanks!!
I ended up finding that article because I was trying to understand something I kept reading on baking blogs. Apparently, lard forms unusually large fat crystals, which is what leads to flaky pastry. Somehow that got me to TAG structure.

Also, I forgot that I also found this article on the FA and TAG composition of Palm oil.

https://www.researchgate.net/profil...sation-A-Review.pdf?origin=publication_detail
 

Mobjack Bay

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Are you still working on this? I just found this statement in another research paper while I was looking for information on how fats crystallize:

“Lard is unique among other fats, because the saturated fatty acids are preferentially located in the sn-2 position [middle of the TAG] whereas the unsaturated fatty acids are mostly located on the external positions.”

I could only get to the source through the university library. Here’s a screen shot of the abstract:

90039C94-876C-4FE3-90E7-E5BC5B6EC8D5.png

I can send it to you if you want to read it :eek:.
 

szaza

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Thanks @Mobjack Bay ! I'm definitely still working on this. I'm a slow reader and I went on a trip which slowed things down even more, but I haven't forgotten about this!
Thanks for the article, it would be awesome if you could send me the article:thumbs:
 

szaza

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Sooo... I made an excel in december, but got sidetracked and didn't post.
Here it is!
I'm comparing different sources in literature for the TAG structure of different fats that are often written about (because of their use in food), being cocoa butter, palm oil and lard and I grouped different TAG's together by structure and saturation. One source also mentioned chicken, beef and lamb fat, but I have some trouble with this source (I'll come back to this later).

It stood out to me that there seemed to be a big difference between sources, so I decided to do a side to side comparison of the different sources to see where the problem is.
In the second pdf you'll find this comparison. It seems certain TAG's that are similar seem to be represented differently by the sources (I color-coded to show which TAG's I think are the same)
I also realized that one source represented POO twice, while OPO wasn't represented at all (see red square). Unfortunately this is the source that mentions chicken, beef and lamb fat. The POO that I think might have to be OPO is 23.52% in chicken fat, 21.55% in lard, 10.76% in beef tallow and 9.66% in lamb tallow. This would fit the hypothesis of USU (like OPO) type TAG structures causing slower trace since members reported chicken fat to slow trace and tallow to speed up trace compared to lard. Unfortunately this is quite a bit of speculation and I don't dare to take it as definite proof.

I'll need to somehow come up with a way to test the difference in speed of trace for different TAG structures, but don't really know how to do that yet.. I'm thinking about comparing cocoa butter to palm in a recipe that is very similar in FA profile, but don't know exactly how to go about testing it.

Edited to add sources mentioned in pdf files:
Neff, Byrdwell & List 2001
Zaliha et al. 2014
Rohman et al. 2012
Marikkar et al. 2014
 

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szaza

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I'm still interested to see the difference in trace between refined and unrefined oils, so I might do some experiments with that as well soon. I was thinking to compare refined vs unrefined olive with refined vs unrefined avocado oil, to see if there's a big difference in trace time reduction. Seeing how unrefined avocado oil has a lot more unsaponifiables, I'd expect the difference to be bigger in avocado oil than in olive oil.. if the difference isn't as big as expected, that might be due to free fatty acids being filtered out by the refining process. I could also do something similar comparing refined vs unrefined shea an cocoa butter.

I also looked up a more in-depth fatty acid composition analysis of different oils and when I compare the results from my research to the calculator I used (Soapee) the main things I noticed is that
1. coconut oil has a lot more short fatty acids that don't show up in the calculator and
2. the calculator suggests a higher palmitic content for lard than my research indicates. This could definitely be due to individual differences in lard, but could be interesting to keep in mind.
 

Mobjack Bay

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You have certainly been busy :). I have at least one other paper with lard TAG percentages that I will send you. It compares lard with cocoa butter, which should be helpful.
 

Mobjack Bay

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You’ve been busy :). I just sent you another paper I have that compares the TAG composition of lard and cocoa butter.
 

szaza

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I always thought INS was a good indicator of how slow something traces. So aim for low INS number for slower trace. Achieve this by using lard, and reducing coconut oil.
Thanks! I don't really know what INS is, I'll have a look at it;)
 

szaza

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Again a long hyatus in this thread..

I looked into INS and it's a general indicator of which FA's are present in a recipe (it's kind of a one number overview). It would be a good indicator if there weren't other factors in play like with lard. Ins of lard soap is quite high because of the stearic/palmitic acids it contains, but lard traces slow. What I'm curious about is why some fats (like lard) behave differently than you'd expect based on their FA profile (or INS for that matter).

I also found another oil that doesn't behave the way it should based on FA composition. I recently experienced rice bran oil (RBO) to be a serious accelerator compared to butters.

Compare these 3 recipes:
Screenshot_20200426-184512.png
Screenshot_20200426-184402.png
Screenshot_20200426-184325.png
All three have reasonably similar FA profiles, though the first traced considerably faster than the other 2, even with less butter (to give an indication of the difference in trace, I was only hand whisking recipe 1 and it moved so quickly I wasn't able to do the design I wanted, while I did the exact same design with the 3rd recipe without any trouble and there I did use my stick blender when the batter cooled down to 28°C - the first recipe never got that low a temp, even though starting temps were the same. Recipe 2 was used for a different design, but behaved similarly to recipe 3, used a stick blender and stayed at emulsion/light trace long enough to play around with color and design). With all recipes I only used known well behaved essential oils. I experienced a bit of acceleration with RBO before, mainly compared to other liquid oils, but attributed it to the amount of stearic/palmitic it contains. That assumption seems to be false.

I tried to look for information on TAG structure of RBO, but didn't find it. I might need to look a bit further. What I did find was that RBO has a relatively high amount of unsaponifiables (+-4%, but differs a bit between sources). I thought rosehip oil and argan oil might also have a lot of unsaponifiables, but as it turns out argan only has 1%. I haven't found a percentage for rosehip oil yet, but it might also be lower than I expected.

That brings me back to refined vs unrefined oils. I'd love to experiment with this and see how it influences trace. I already have 100g unrefined shea, some unrefined cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil and unrefined avocado oil (and a refined counterpart for all of them). I also have a soap thermometer to control the temps of the oils/lye/batter. The only problem I run into (and why I haven't started making test batches yet) is that I have no idea how to quantify trace. I mean, there's emulsion, light, medium, thick trace, but it's a gliding scale and I have a hard time thinking of a reliable cut-off.
 

szaza

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Today I did a comparison between refined and unrefined avocado oil at 80%, the other 20% being coconut oil. Interestingly, it seemed like unrefined avocado oil traced slower than its refined counterpart contrary to what I expected (especially because the unrefined avocado oil was pretty old, while the refined counterpard was from a freshly opened bottle).

Both batches were around the same starting temp (+-0.5°C) and oils+lye were mixed almost simultaneously (within 1 minute of each other). The batter was stirred by hand intermittently. Before emulsion the batter of the unrefined avocado oil seemed a bit thicker/more viscous, but after around 19mins the batter with refined oil reached light trace (trace visible but immediately disappearing), while the unrefined batter took +-26mins to get to light trace. Medium trace (trace stays visible) was reached at +-29mins for refined avocado oil but only at +-40mins for unrefined avocado oil. I did not have the patience to stir until thick trace. The refined batter was starting to get a lot thicker by 40mins, I could make rather deep trace patterns in the batter, but it was not yet thick enough to make sculpted designs or anything similar.

ETA: The Unrefined soap batter was a bit warmer in the beginning. It was mixed at the same temps as Refined but about a minute later, so that was to be expected. Temp difference was +-1°C. Interestingly, the difference got smaller with time and 30mins after mixing the lye into the oils, the Refined soap batter was actually warmer than the Unrefined soap (switch happened somewhere between 25 and 30mins)

Technical details:
Total oil weight: 125g.
Citric acid at 2% of oil weight.
I had a bit of a mess up with my measurements and to even everything out I ended up with a 4% superfat and 35.1% lye concentration (I accidentally added too much masterbatched lye to one cup and decided to compensate by doing to same for the other)
Essential oil blend at 5% of oil weight, added to oils before mixing in lye (lavender, rosemary, peppermint, litsea in a 4-3-2-1 ratio)
Oils and lye were both around 39°C when mixing (+-0.5°C).
Room temp +-17°C
 
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szaza

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Today I did pretty much the same test with olive oil: refined vs unrefined at 80% of a 125g batch, coconut oil being the other 20%. I used the same superfat and lye concentration. Room temp was 1°C higher, but mixed oils and lye 0.5°C lower than with avocado yesterday.

Olive oil traced a lot slower than avocado, after 45mins of hand stirring I took out the old stick blender to do 5 small (<1sec) bursts every 5mins between hand stirring until 60mins when I gave up and just stick blended until I had the level of trace I wanted to be able to mold.

Unrefined olive oil traced faster than refined olive oil (so it was the opposite of avocado oil).

Light trace: Refined 47mins, Unrefined 32mins (there's a very small trace visible, but it disappears immediately)
Light-Medium: Refined 57mins, Unrefined 47mins (trace clearly visible, but still disappears immediately)
Medium trace: Refined - didn't happen, Unrefined 57mins (trace stays visible)

Even though I mixed the refined batch 2 minutes after the unrefined batch and oils+lye were about the same starting temp (0.1°C difference in lye water), the temperatures of the refined batch were already lower than the unrefined batter after 5mins of mixing (3 mins for the refined batch)

Technical details:
Total oil weight: 125g.
Citric acid at 2% of oil weight.
4% superfat
35.1% lye concentration
Essential oil blend at 5% of oil weight, added to oils before mixing in lye (lavender, rosemary, EUCALYPTUS, litsea in a 4-3-2-1 ratio)
Oils were at 38.5°C when mixing, lye was 38.7(unrefined) and 38.6 (refined)
Room temp +-18°C
Refined was mixed 2 minutes after the unrefined batch (had to delay to make sure the starting temps were the same)
 

szaza

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Yesterday evening I did Shea butter and everything went wrong (all of which was my own fault). Rant alert!
First, I realized I didn't have enough refined shea (93g instead of 100g), so I had to recalculate my recipe from 125g to 116.25g (which I did for both so I could compare them)
After measuring shea I measured out my coconut oil, but accidentally added the coconut oil to the same jug of shea twice. I picked out the bigger pieces that I could easily identify as coconut (whiter, more britle) until I had taken out 23.25g (ugh annoying measurements) and added that to the other jug.
Then to my surprise I somehow managed to perfectly measure out my water and citric acid in both cups, only to knock one of them over. I had to retry several times before I got it right again and my scale started acting up, not wanting to settle on a weight (when I needed to measure out 14.05g of water it would just go back and forth between 14.01 and 14.11, never to settle on an actual weight - I thoroughly regret breaking my scale in December, this new one really isn't as good as the one I used to have). In hindsight I really should have stopped here and tried again the next day..
I proceded to accidentally add a bit too much masterbatch, so I ended up with 3.8%SF and 35.12%lye conentration (instead of 4 and 35.1), but did that for both batches, so I think that should be fine.
When I started mixing oils and lye things actually went rather smoothly, though the refined shea butter traced considerably slower than I expected (similar to unrefined avocado oil).
To top everything off, this morning I suddenly started doubting whether I added 2.33 or 3.33g of citric acid when I redid the measurement after knocking over on of my cups. I just checked it off on the list and didn't write down the exact measurement (which I really should have done in hindsight). If I added 3.33, that would mean one of the batches has a 6.65% superfat instead of 3.8%. I really can't remember anymore and I have no idea which of the jugs could have ended up with more citric acid. It would be logical if the refined batch ended up with more C.A/higher superfat because it traced slower than expected, so that's what I'll assume for now.
I tried to lather one bar of both refined and urefined shea to see if there's a difference (if one bar has a higher superfat that should impact the lather), but since they're only 12hours old neither of them produce any bubbles yet. I did however manage to drop one bar in the small slit of open space behind the stove, which is hard to reach and therefore absolutely disgusting. Did I mention I did that after washing with it, so it could nicely stick to the dust? Yuck.
Obviously this all happened with the one batch that I can't redo because I don't have any shea butter left. I'll need to re-order, which will take at least a week, if not more.
Meanwhile, the room temp of my kitchen is slowly increasing, so I'm doubting whether to do cocoa butter today, or if I should just hold off on any more experiments until I have more shea butter and redo the whole thing again later. I'd like to redo the avocado as well, because I want to see if I can reproduce the weird results, redoing everything might actually be the best option. *sigh* This was so much work and I postponed (procrastinated) for so long, but now that I finally thought I could do the last batch today, I might just do the whole thing over:beatinghead:

Sorry for the rant, here's a random picture of a chicken looking like a wise old dude with a long beard to make up for it..
Wise old chicken.jpg
 
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