What went wrong? Soap traced super fast

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bumbleklutz

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I made a batch of soap yesterday, and to say it went fast would be an understatement. I stick blended for maybe 15 seconds total, while stirring with the stick blender in between pulses. The soap went to pudding thick trace within 30 seconds. I added my FO which thankfully does not accelerate, and my color then glopped it into the mold. So much for trying a dancing wave pour. :cry: I tried a spoon swirl since it was so thick. It might have worked; :think: we'll see when I unmold and cut. What could have happened? My recipe follows:

castor 56g
coconut 112g
olive oil, pomace 223g
palm kernel 112g
palm 279g
sunflower, high oleic 335g

water 359g
NaOH 154g +14g (to neutralize citric acid)
citric acid 22g

Both lye and oils were around 110 degrees F.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

KristaY

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Have you used this recipe before? If not, what oils are new to you this batch? You have 3 oils that can accelerate trace - castor, palm and PKO. My notes say CO can accel but I haven't had it happen for me. I've never used PKO so can't speak to that one. I use palm routinely and get a bit faster trace than without, but the castor kills me every time. Even at 5%, like your recipe, I get fast trace. Since I don't really like the feel of castor in soap and the trace accel irritates me, I quit using it. I add a sugar of some kind to help bubbles if I need it. Your recipe contains about 50% oils that can accel trace so it might just be a combo of all of them. I hope your spoon swirl turns out well in spite of trace speed!
 

BattleGnome

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i second the coconut speeding trace. I haven't used any palm in my recipes and castor never seems to give me any trouble (at least not since I stopped combining it with shea). The last time I used that much sunflower it gave me a very soft soap (but I don't remember how it effected trace).

The last factor I can think of is to ask if your stick blender has multiple settings. There have been times my finger slipped and I used high power when I meant to use low. If nothing else seems off maybe it was a simple user error you didn't notice.
 

DeeAnna

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Fats that are older can have a higher fatty acid content. Fatty acids react much quicker with lye compared to fat, so the batter will trace faster than normal. That might be a possibility too.
 

bumbleklutz

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Have you used this recipe before? If not, what oils are new to you this batch? You have 3 oils that can accelerate trace - castor, palm and PKO. My notes say CO can accel but I haven't had it happen for me. I've never used PKO so can't speak to that one. I use palm routinely and get a bit faster trace than without, but the castor kills me every time. Even at 5%, like your recipe, I get fast trace. Since I don't really like the feel of castor in soap and the trace accel irritates me, I quit using it. I add a sugar of some kind to help bubbles if I need it. Your recipe contains about 50% oils that can accel trace so it might just be a combo of all of them. I hope your spoon swirl turns out well in spite of trace speed!
First thank you everyone for your responses. :)

I have not used this recipe before. The only new oil in this batch for me is the sunflower. I had not heard of castor accelerating before, but that could be an issue. I have used palm and PKO in the past, and they do speed things up a bit, but I didn't expect it would be that quick.

BattleGnome, you're right about the stick blender, it does have two settings. I have no idea which button I hit. That could be a factor. :???: Don't ever recall coconut being a problem, but again it's been a few years since I've soaped and all my notes are long lost after a move.

lenarenee, I had used pomace before, and have had it accelerate. Never anything like this though. :( However, the olive oil was a new brand I have not used before. So this could be the culprit.

DeeAnna, I hadn't considered that possibility. Everything was brand new from the supplier. Just picked up today. But its possible that it could have been old when they received it. Everything looked and smelled good. No signs of rancidity. In fact the olive looked and smelled good enough that I would consider using it in food; which is something I never do with pomace.

Well, the soap is out of the mold, and it's weeping FO (cucumber melon) as we speak. I probably didn't get the FO incorporated well enough since I was in such a hurry to get it in the mold. It's hard enough to cut, but I'm going to let it sit for a while longer and see if some of the FO reabsorbs. If not, I'll mop it up with paper towels and see what the inside looks like.

When I try it again. I'll remove the castor. Replace the pomace with regular olive oil, and lower the amount of palm and PKO. Does that sound like it might make for a slower tracing recipe? Also maybe use a 25% lye solution instead of 30%?
 
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DeeAnna

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Just to clarify --

A higher fatty acid percentage does not automatically mean a fat is rancid. Just that it has a higher amount of FAs.

If the fat has an off odor and possibly darker in color, then the fat is rancid. Until that happens, the fat isn't rancid.
 

DeeAnna

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Yes, Nikos. I stand corrected. :)
 
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Saponista

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Are you sure it wasn't false trace, at this time of year when it's cold in my soap workshop any recipe I make with palm turns to pudding really fast, then if you keep blending it becomes fluid again. I soap with room temperature fats and lye.
 

Susie

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I had this very problem today on the second batch from the same recipe. Only difference between the batches is that I opened a new olive oil and a new lard for the new batch. Everything else was exactly the same. Even the scent.

Just to let you know that we all get those odd batches every now and again. And the tiniest change can be the trigger. Just be prepared in case you do have a super fast mover all of a sudden.
 

CTAnton

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Geez...the same thing happened to me today.I wanted to try a new recipe...first and second attempts were applesauce in seconds. I was adding sodium citrate to the oils and got a brown coloration when adding the lye.Third final and successful batch was without the sodium citrate and just in case my aloe vera juice was bad I popped open a new gallon.Wish I could have used the same fragrance oil but bye bye 4 ounces on the first 2 batches...and I held back on the SB...
 

bumbleklutz

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Thanks again for all the responses. :) I did cut the soap, and it doesn't zap, so it's not a total failure. The spoon swirl doesn't look half bad, which is saying a lot since I am highly swirl impaired. :mrgreen: It does have some small pockets of FO that are slowly reabsorbing/evaporating. I think it will end up being usable. Just not pretty. Thanks for all the commiseration, it's good to know that the soap gremlins weren't ALL at my house. :lol: After looking over my recipe one more time, I THINK I found the problem. I believe it was a combination of the new pomace olive oil, and the fact that I was playing with the lye concentration in soap calc and accidentally left it at 30%. I'm used to soaping at 25%-27%. Sooooo.....live and learn...at least it turned out usable.
 

Steve85569

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I think we all from time to time have a trusted recipe mock us with soap on a stick.
It's part of what makes soap making an art.
Good reaction to the problem by the way. At least you managed to save the batch.
 

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