What's going on with my recipe?

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MelissaG

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I have been having problems with my recipe. This is the first time I've had a problem in a couple years so I'm not sure whats going on. Humidity is low at this point of the year. It's not the first winter I've been through. I did change the recipe to a 60%hard/40%soft from a 50/50 recipe. Normally it's hard enough in a day or two to cut. I did increase my water to

I've had be soft on top like whipped cream and hard and crumbly on the bottom. I can't seem to cut it before a week at the moment and it's still soft on the outside so I have to be careful I don't crush it. The top of the soap is splitting like it's going to volcano but it doesn't quite volcano and I have smooth the top of it a bunch of times until it's time to cut. If I put the lid of my loaf mold on, the top splits worse. Also, no matter what fragrance I've been using, if I use the stick blender to emulsion, I risk the chance of it accelerating to soap on the stick in a minute or so.

Should I remove the salt? I used it in the summer to help me unmold faster since we have very high humidity here at that time of year. Should I go back to my normal recipe? We do have the heater on but it's no warmer than it is during the summer in the house.

BASE OILS:
Olive 23 oz 33.8%
Coconut 12 oz 17.6%
Shea Butter 12 oz 17.6%
Palm 15 oz 22.1%
Almond 3 oz 4.4%
Castor 3 oz 4.4%

ADDITIVES:
FO: * Lavender Chamomile 4 oz
Misc: Salt 4 tsp

PACKAGING ITEMS:

LYE & WATER: 1/1.3
LYE: 8.9 oz
WATER: 10.1 oz
Water/Lye Ratio: 1.30
 

lsg

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Run your recipe through a lye calculator to be sure your are using the right percentages of lye/water. If your soap is splitting in the middle, it is probably overheating. It is a large recipe, reduce the volume and see if you have the same problem. You also have a lot of hard oils/butters in the recipe.
 

MelissaG

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Run your recipe through a lye calculator to be sure your are using the right percentages of lye/water. If your soap is splitting in the middle, it is probably overheating. It is a large recipe, reduce the volume and see if you have the same problem. You also have a lot of hard oils/butters in the recipe.
Ok, I'll stop relying on soapmaker 3 for the calc. I have noticed that it's different from soapcalc and soapmaking friend. I think I'm just going to go back to my old recipe. This new calc is causing me problems.
 

Benjifrazer

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What temperature are you soaping at. I soap at between 30-40C (85-105F) if i soap hotter than this i increase trace usually... but below this i find that i will false trace, and with 60% hard oils your false trace possibility is increased - i also find that the reaction is less successful at low temps and i get crumbly or soft soaps and all sorts of other issues
 

TheGecko

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You have three changes to your recipe: 1) More water, 2) More Hard Oils, 3) You added salt in the Summer and it’s now Winter. It could just be a single item, or it could be a combination of two or all three.

Unless you have a specific reason for increasing (or decreasing your water)…as an example, I live in the Pacific Northwest and we get a lot of rain during the Winter and so I decrease my water by going from a 33% to 35% Lye Concentration else-wise my soap has to sit in the mold for several days and take about 12 weeks to cure…leave it alone. More water can cause overheating which leads to cracks and separation. And along with what @lsg noted about volume…going from say making 2lb batches to 10lb batch, your recipe could react different if you change molds…say going from a loaf to a slab and vice versa.

While a 10% change may not seem like all that much, it depends on what you are increasing. A 10% change in say something like Castor or Coconut Oils can make a huge difference, while a similar percentage made over several oils might not have much of an impact.

A note about soap calculators…I’ve run my recipe through several different ones…SoapCalc, SoapMakingFriend, Soapmaker3, BrambleBerry and I get a slightly different result with each one as Saponification Values can vary. As an example…the SAP for Sweet Almond Oil is 190-200; one calculator might use the low value, one might use the high value, another might split the difference. The thing is to be consistent with the calculator that you are using so that you get consistent results.

With that said, @lsg saying to recheck your recipe was not to suggest that your should change your calculator per se, but simply to make sure that you entered your numbers in correctly when you made the changes to your recipe. I’ve been using the same recipe for over two years now, I’ve been Master Batching for just over a year. Every time I make soap…whether it’s from scratch to from Master Batch, and even though I make the same amount of Master Batch every time…I always print out my [saved] Recipe or refer to my Chart, and I always double-check my weights…cuz I have made mistakes before. It’s the same with my job…I’m an accountant, there are calculations that I do over and over and over again every month for every client and I can do them in my sleep, but I still write them out because I am not infallible.
 

MelissaG

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What temperature are you soaping at. I soap at between 30-40C (85-105F) if i soap hotter than this i increase trace usually... but below this i find that i will false trace, and with 60% hard oils your false trace possibility is increased - i also find that the reaction is less successful at low temps and i get crumbly or soft soaps and all sorts of other issues
Usually somewhere around 68 or 70 F. Honestly not sure what translates to in celcius since it's been years since I translated between the two. It takes forever for the lye to cool so I usually premix both the night before.
You have three changes to your recipe: 1) More water, 2) More Hard Oils, 3) You added salt in the Summer and it’s now Winter. It could just be a single item, or it could be a combination of two or all three.

Unless you have a specific reason for increasing (or decreasing your water)…as an example, I live in the Pacific Northwest and we get a lot of rain during the Winter and so I decrease my water by going from a 33% to 35% Lye Concentration else-wise my soap has to sit in the mold for several days and take about 12 weeks to cure…leave it alone. More water can cause overheating which leads to cracks and separation. And along with what @lsg noted about volume…going from say making 2lb batches to 10lb batch, your recipe could react different if you change molds…say going from a loaf to a slab and vice versa.

While a 10% change may not seem like all that much, it depends on what you are increasing. A 10% change in say something like Castor or Coconut Oils can make a huge difference, while a similar percentage made over several oils might not have much of an impact.

A note about soap calculators…I’ve run my recipe through several different ones…SoapCalc, SoapMakingFriend, Soapmaker3, BrambleBerry and I get a slightly different result with each one as Saponification Values can vary. As an example…the SAP for Sweet Almond Oil is 190-200; one calculator might use the low value, one might use the high value, another might split the difference. The thing is to be consistent with the calculator that you are using so that you get consistent results.

With that said, @lsg saying to recheck your recipe was not to suggest that your should change your calculator per se, but simply to make sure that you entered your numbers in correctly when you made the changes to your recipe. I’ve been using the same recipe for over two years now, I’ve been Master Batching for just over a year. Every time I make soap…whether it’s from scratch to from Master Batch, and even though I make the same amount of Master Batch every time…I always print out my [saved] Recipe or refer to my Chart, and I always double-check my weights…cuz I have made mistakes before. It’s the same with my job…I’m an accountant, there are calculations that I do over and over and over again every month for every client and I can do them in my sleep, but I still write them out because I am not infallible.
I'm just going back to my old recipe. It will be easier. Without the salt.
 

violets2217

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Ok, I'll stop relying on soapmaker 3 for the calc. I have noticed that it's different from soapcalc and soapmaking friend. I think I'm just going to go back to my old recipe. This new calc is causing me problems.
I've never had trouble with the SM3 recipe calculator, but because I soap at room temp, during the winter I also have problems because my room temperature is to low for me to soap at. I get a very grainy batter and the soap is soft forever. I usually reheat my oils a wee bit just to make sure they are at least 85 degrees. Do you CPOP your soaps so they gel? I think that helps when I soap to cool.
 

MelissaG

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I've never had trouble with the SM3 recipe calculator, but because I soap at room temp, during the winter I also have problems because my room temperature is to low for me to soap at. I get a very grainy batter and the soap is soft forever. I usually reheat my oils a wee bit just to make sure they are at least 85 degrees. Do you CPOP your soaps so they gel? I think that helps when I soap to cool.
Hmm, wonder if that explains my problems. I'm soaping too cool? I know the humidity has been much lower lately. I don't cpop. I've found it hurts more than helps. Last time I tried that, I was lucky it didn't volcano all over the bottom of the oven.
 

violets2217

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Hmm, wonder if that explains my problems. I'm soaping too cool? I know the humidity has been much lower lately. I don't cpop. I've found it hurts more than helps. Last time I tried that, I was lucky it didn't volcano all over the bottom of the oven.
In the winter I even turn the ceiling fan off in the kitchen and try to keep the house at my normal temp... It's weird but its been working. and I CPOP in an old little micro fridge I got from work (I work at a hotel). I warm it up while I'm making my soap and pop it in for the night. Sometime I don't even warm it up prior to and it helps to insulate my soap, so a cooler would work well in this instance too! I also use 1/2" thick wooden molds so most times I do not need to insulate at all to gel. Of course I live in Florida so most times my garage where the micro fridge is as hot as a warmed oven anyways!!! Lol! I always try to gel my soaps because I find that they are unmolded quicker and less soda ash.
 

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