Zappy then not?

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Nov 20, 2014
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I hand stirred my small 1lb batch of soap. I was trying a new lard recipe (80% Lard 15% Coconut & 5% Castor) and I wanted a really loose batter to make swirls.

I poured the first layer of non colored batter but it was really loose so I took my little frother and mixed it a little so it was med trace. Then I poured my swirls and the rest of the non colored soap. Then let it sit 24 hours before cutting.

When I cut it, I noticed a very distinct color difference between the 2 non colored portions of the soap. The portion I didn't mix with my frother was very zappy and the other portion wasn't. There is also a texture difference between the two. I was very concerned that I didn't hand mix enough and part of the soap separated out.

Now I'm not so sure. Its been 4 days and even though there are still 2 colors of non colored soap, its not as bad and there's no more zap. Is it possible for the lye to just take longer to saponify with the rest of the oils if they were mixed at a different speed? I thought about cutting the bars again and checking to see if its just part that's been exposed to air that's not zappy.

(Please disregard the horrible swirl in the middle. I was trying to do the teardrop and failed miserably.)




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Feb 20, 2013
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"...Is it possible for the lye to just take longer to saponify with the rest of the oils if they were mixed at a different speed?..."

Yes, it is. Lower intensity mixing (by hand) doesn't break the fat into super-tiny droplets like a stick blender does, and this slows down the saponification reaction. It's my guess that as time goes on, the color difference will disappear as the oils become fully saponified.

With the recipe you are using, you really should have lots of time to play before the soap sets up (comes to an obvious trace) even if you use a stick blender. Just use the SB lightly -- in 1-2 second bursts -- rather than run it a lot like most people seem to do. I have used the same recipe as you did, stick blended for a total of 10 seconds over a 2 minute initial mixing time, and got about 20 minutes of open time in which to work. The scent I was using caused the batter to set up at that point, but I might have gotten another 20 minutes of work time if I had chosen a better behaved scent.