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Sheep Milker
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Re:Problem with sheep milk soap - 2009/05/19 18:16 Hi Debbie,

Thanks for the information. The soap batch in question is starting to harden up a bit, so given time it seems it will be okay. I am not sure if I do understand trace. I read the article on “Miller’s Homemade Soap Pages”: Soapmaking Routine Using the Stick Blender. I saw all the physical signs for trace described in the article except I couldn’t really determine a “satin” finish (sheen) she talked about in step 7.

I made another batch yesterday with a different formula. This one, unintentionally, went to gel stage. I didn’t read your input until after I made the soap, so I soaped at a slightly higher temp. than the first batch – but only by 2 degrees or so. I guess that made the difference though. Also, I used a FO in this new batch and from what I have read FOs can really make things go haywire in a number of ways. It was an Almond Honey FO. Do you think that could have triggered the batch to get hotter?

I put the ingredients through the Majestic Sage Lye calculator and used the high-end of the recommended amount of liquid (because I was using a FO) and mid-range of the recommended amount of lye. Used same cold raw sheep milk & raw sheep milk as ice chunks process to make the lye solution, but this time did 2/3 cold milk and 1/3 milk ice chunks (last time the ratio was reversed); solution didn’t get over 95 degrees throughout the process.

2 lb batch
SHEA & GOATS MILK SOAP
Oils by weight:
8.73 oz Sweet almond oil
4.65 oz Avocado oil
4.07 oz Coconut oil, 76 degree
1.74 oz Palm Kernel Oil
1.74 oz Palm oil
2.33 oz Shea butter
8.73 oz Sunflower seed oil, high oleic

Lye/ Sodium Hydroxide by weight: 4.30 oz
Raw Sheep Milk by volume: 12 fluid oz
1 oz. wt. FO Almond Honey added at trace
Soaped at 90 – 91 degrees

I soaped at 90 – 91 degrees. It is taking me a bit longer to reach trace than it does you. I mixed by hand for about 7 min. and then about another 5-7 min with a stick blended used in 10-12 second bursts. I added the FO at what I am determining a light trace to be.

So my question is what factors would contribute to causing this batch to go to gel stage where the other one didn’t. I did soap at a higher temp –but just by 2-3 degrees.

One thing that was interesting was that the 2 lb mold went to gel stage but I had a bit extra so I poured it into one of those disposable (microwaveable) plastic food storage containers by Glad (made about a 4.5 oz bar of soap about 2” thick) and this did not go to a gel stage.

–As a side note I think my 2 lb mold must hold less than 2 lbs. Last time I also had more soap than would fit into the mold if the top was leveled off evenly, but I just mounded it on top. This time I was prepared just in case and had the extra mold ready. (I am using a good digital scale so I am not sure why I am getting the extra amount. The 2 lb mold is a pretty basic plastic beginners mold so maybe it is just not that accurate.)

On the up side, the soap doesn’t smell scorched or anything, it set up a bit faster and I popped the soap out and cut it after 24 hours with no problems. It is of course still a bit soft but cut nice – like a firm cheese at room temp. and it looks consistent all the way through. I did notice a little bit of oil on top of the soap that went to gel – it was very fragrant so I assume it was the FO. I just dabbed it off before I cut it. The single 4.5 bar that did not go to gel had a very, very slight sweat on top that didn’t seem oily (it evaporated on its own).

So no problem really, Just wondered why it went to gel. I like to figure out what causes stuff to happen so I can get a better handle on the situation. Thanks for the info on soaping at 85 degrees ('ll shoot for that in the future) and on the coconut oil and the steric acid. Will adding the honey add a honey scent to the soap --I've read that honey helps with attracting moisture to the skin or something like that?

One more thing -- assuming that I make batches that don't go to gel stage, generally how long should I cure the soap --- are there indicators that let you know the cure is complete and the soap is ready to use?

Thanks
Kate –Sheep Milker
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      Topics Author Date
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Problem with sheep milk soap
Sheep Milker 2009/05/16 11:48
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Denise 2009/05/16 15:41
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Sheep Milker 2009/05/16 16:56
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Denise 2009/05/16 19:23
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Deb1gms 2009/05/18 05:28
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Sheep Milker 2009/05/19 18:16

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