White "flakes" in soap, 100% NOT LYE

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c0ntrite

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Hello guys, I was wondering what would be the cause of these white "flakes" on my soap which appears from the middle. This happens every time I gel my soaps. I filter my lye-water through a very fine stainless steel metal mesh so this is not undissolved lye. My lye-water ratio is 2:1, recipe is Palm Oil, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Brown sugar, cornstarch plus whatever fruit or vegetables I add during light trace.

I add my brown sugar to my water prior to adding the lye and I add my cornstarch with the oil and blend it well to make sure there are no lumps.

Anybody help?

Cucumber and Calamondin


Goat's Milk Soap
 
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Susie

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Stearic spots from palm oil.

BTW- when asking for help troubleshooting something, it helps us tremendously if you give the entire recipe in weights. Including additives such as vegetable purees.
 

c0ntrite

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Thanks guys!

Is there a solution to avoid this?

70% Palm Oil, 20% Coconut Oil and 10% Olive Oil.
 

DeeAnna

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Soap cooler and use less water in your recipe. I'm betting you are using "full water" or "38% water as % of oils"??? But I'm just whistling in the dark here, since you still haven't given full information about the recipe(s).

If you don't do this already, make sure your palm is well stirred before you measure it out for a soap recipe. That way the stearic fats will be distributed evenly from batch to batch. That may help some too.

"...Brown sugar, cornstarch plus whatever fruit or vegetables I add during light trace..."
"...70% Palm Oil, 20% Coconut Oil and 10% Olive Oil. ..."

Susie is correct -- if you truly want us to troubleshoot, we need the WEIGHTS of EVERYTHING in your recipe. Percentages of the oils just don't tell the whole story. What if your sugar amount is way out of line with the total weight of fat? Since we have no idea about the weights, we still cannot effectively advise.
 
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c0ntrite

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Thanks DeeAnna, brown sugar is just 5g per pound of oil and cornstarch 3g per pound of oil.

Water to lye ratio is 2:1 :)

This only happens to me when I gel. But I really want my soaps to go through gel.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I'm seeing more than gel - on the GM one, there are 3 stages and it is the centre one, the hottest part, where the trouble is on both soaps. I would say that it is getting too hot in the middle there, even though you are avoiding the signs of overheating on the top. Maybe dial it down a bit and find that point where it just fully gels without this effect?
 

c0ntrite

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I use a stick blender mixing my oils and cornstarch before adding my lye-water. I also live in a tropical country plus we have El Niño hehehe
 

DeeAnna

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The spots could very well be related to using a high % of palm, as KC and Susie have noted.

Sounds like your sugar % is fine.

Another possibility is the cornstarch not being properly hydrated and forming small starch lumps similar to lumpy custard or gravy.

I am reminded of a recent thread where a person was complaining about similar spots in soap. It eventually came out in the ongoing discussion that the person was adding a small amount of salt to the soap. They tried a batch without the salt => no spots.

So try a gelled recipe without the cornstarch and see if you observe these same spots.
 

c0ntrite

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We only have quite a few choices of oils here in the Philippines.

Should I remove my brown sugar? I replaced my brown sugar with honey on my GM, 5g per pound of soap. But I really love the effect of the sugar in my soaps.
 

DeeAnna

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I can't speak for the others, but I said in my previous post that your sugar seems fine, and I have no reason to change my opinion.

What do you think about the issue I mentioned regarding cornstarch and my suggestion of making a batch without it?
 

c0ntrite

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I can't speak for the others, but I said in my previous post that your sugar seems fine, and I have no reason to change my opinion.

What do you think about the issue I mentioned regarding cornstarch and my suggestion of making a batch without it?
Sorry, I was using my mobile phone earlier and don't know how to quote people using the SMF app.

I think I will try and go in changing my recipe first as you guys have suggested with less Palm Oil. If that doesn't work I will remove cornstarch :) I really love the effects of it on my soaps. I will retain my sugars :)

Thanks guys, I will get back to you guys soon :D
 

DeeAnna

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Messages crossing over each other -- happens a lot! Not to worry.

What qualities does the cornstarch give to your soap? Curious....
 

IrishLass

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I'm leaning towards the cornstarch. Normally (at least when it comes to cooking food), cornstarch is mixed with water first (preferably cool or room temp) before adding to the other ingredients. Maybe try mixing it with water first?

Not to say that the high amount of palm couldn't be a contributing factor, too (it very well might be).

How hot are your soaping temps?


IrishLass :)
 

c0ntrite

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Messages crossing over each other -- happens a lot! Not to worry.

What qualities does the cornstarch give to your soap? Curious....
It is a vegan substitute for silk, same effects on soap :)

I'm leaning towards the cornstarch. Normally (at least when it comes to cooking food), cornstarch is mixed with water first (preferably cool or room temp) before adding to the other ingredients. Maybe try mixing it with water first?

Not to say that the high amount of palm couldn't be a contributing factor, too (it very well might be).

How hot are your soaping temps?


IrishLass :)
I add my cornstarch to my oils and use a hand mixer to make sure that there are no lumps before adding the lye-water, so I doubt that it is the cause of the white flakes.

This store: http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/ uses cornstarch in all their recipes and they don't have the same "white flakes" that appears on my soap. But I'm willing to give it up if putting less Palm Oil doesn't work :/

soaping temps is room temperature, I live in a tropical country thus I don't need to melt my oils since they are already melted :D
 
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DeeAnna

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Just because you mix the cornstarch into the oils well does not mean the individual starch particles won't form small lumps after you add the lye water. Fats and cornstarch are anhydrous -- there is no water. After any water is added, the starch particles will begin to absorb water and swell. If they cannot absorb enough water during the time the soap batter is fluid, the individual starch particles can form small hard bits.

Also, just because your oils are already melted doesn't have anything to do with the temperatures at which you choose to soap. If you add hot lye water to your fats or if you heat your fats above room temperature, etc., then you will be soaping hotter. With palm having a high stearic content, you may need to soap above room temp to get the stearic fats completely melted. Even though the palm is liquid and you do not SEE clumps of the stearic fats, they can still can be present.
 
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c0ntrite

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Just because you mix the cornstarch into the oils well does not mean the individual starch particles won't form small lumps after you add the lye water. Fats and cornstarch are anhydrous -- there is no water. After any water is added, the starch particles will begin to absorb water and swell. If they cannot absorb enough water during the time the soap batter is fluid, the individual starch particles can form small hard bits.

Also, just because your oils are already melted doesn't have anything to do with the temperatures at which you choose to soap. If you add hot lye water to your fats or if you heat your fats above room temperature, etc., then you will be soaping hotter. With palm having a high stearic content, you may need to soap above room temp to get the stearic fats completely melted. Even though the palm is liquid and you do not SEE clumps of the stearic fats, they can still can be present.
Thanks DeeAnna! I learned something new today. I will definitely keep that in mind and start changing the way I soap. I will try and add my cornstarch with water now instead of the oils and also soap palm oil at higher temp.
 

c0ntrite

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I neglected checking the temps early when I started making soaps thinking that it only applies to people who needs to melt their oils. I will definitely be checking my temps from now on.
 

DeeAnna

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Just some things to think about -- I'm not saying you are doing anything wrong at all. These suggestions may not make any difference in your soaping, but I'm glad you will give them some thought.
 
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