Posted by Pat B! (18.104.22.168) on March 01, 2004 at 06:34:19:
In Reply to: First try at Goat's Milk soap posted by soapfiend on February 06, 2004 at 10:37:00:
I'm kind of stubborn that way! I had a batch last week that I thought was good, and I posted to Steve about it - prematurely as it turned out, because overnight it went into "gel stage" and still hasn't come out. I've read that won't affect anything but appearance, but I don't like it, so I tried again.
I've decided the secret is to keep it from even going into gel stage in the first place. I've read that there isn't even agreement on whether gel stage is necessary, so I'm willing to experiment!
Here's what I did:
I froze my goat's milk, and then broke it into chunks into a large shallow glass bowl that I floated in an ice/water mixture.
I added my lye slowly with constant stirring. Once the chunks all melted and I had a smooth, creamy solution, I started monitoring temperature - still with constant stirring.
I continued until the temperature returned to room temperature, and then took the bowl out of the ice mixture and kept stirring it while monitoring temperature for a couple more minutes to be sure the temperature had stabilized at room temperature.
I poured this SLOWLY into my oil mixture, mixing all the while with a stick blender. I added my other ingredients, including some honey and a small "retain" of cold goat's milk (which I had calculated to be at 7% of the weight of the batch per Marc's recommendation below).
I used a single large plastic bin as a mold which I hoped would pour to the thickness of a single bar. The idea was to maximize surface area for heat to escape.
I "floated" this plastic bin in a bathtub full of water. This is because water has VERY high heat capacity, and will be MUCH more effective than air in transporting excess heat away. I also set a fan up to direct air across the top surface of the soap. I left this run.
By the end of the day (about 8 hours later), I was seeing some minimal changes, and I considered turning the fan off and taking the mold out of the tub. But I decided to leave it overnight, and I'm glad I did, because it was clear to me by the next morning that there were STILL changes towards gel stage occurring - albeit MUCH more slowly than on my previous attempts.
The temperatures here were in the 40s and 50s, and so I figured "What the heck!" and set the plastic bin outside. And lo and behold - two hours later, the color had actually LIGHTENED! The gel stage was either halted or reversed!
So I left the mold out all day and took it in last night, and this morning it hasn't changed. I'm not crazy about the pale orange color it has taken on, but it IS an improvement over the previous batch. And I think it will be ready to demold tonight.
So I'm already thinking about next time (G!). And I have a couple of ideas.
One is to take the plastic tub full of soap mix and float it in the ICE WATER mix I used for the goat's milk and lye to see if I can keep the gel stage from even starting (the mix was a nice, creamy color color until that happened).
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