Saturday, February 14, 2009

Brittle Batch Memories

So after reading all of the comments you PRO SOAPERS gave me, I had a memory twang. I think I am s-l-o-w-l-y remembering what happened to my brittle batch.

Oh yes, for you all under 38 who don't have children or get migraines, you wouldn't understand how it feels to have your brain eaten

So, this is my memory: I made two batches at the same time, so I was consistent in making exact measurements and doing it twice. This, right there is a bad idea for me because I can't multi task 20 things at once. Oh, I could make two batches at the same time, but I was also answering the phone, tending to my crock pot of Mama Bomb...and thinking about who-knows-what! So... the first batch I made was lavender. It came out beautifully with lavender essential oil (not my favorite) and did a swirl with rose clay and topped it with lavender petals and cranberry seeds. Nothing went wrong, at all with this batch. It's on my curing rack looking good and swirly, so there's that.

The second batch..... well, the oil looked great so I started to pour the lye water into it, started mixing with the stick blender, but realized that the hard oils had begun to solidify and were settling at the bottom of the bowl. What could I do at that point? I just mixed and mixed and mixed until it traced and then I pulled some out, as I had planned, added black oxide to make more swirls, poured it back to swirl with and BLAM, I got crap. So there you have it. Is it possible that it wasn't over using the lye, but mixing the lye water with the mucky muck I mixed it with? The reason I let it sit and cool off for so long was because I was working on designing and setting up my lavender batch.

I used a great fragrance oil that I've used before in my bath bombs. My shop customers LOVED the scent: black mission fig from Southern Soapers. I may have over scented the soap batch in addition to mixing lye water with muck, but now, the soap smells .... weird. I still love her scent and will continue using it in my b+b products. If anyone has made a successful batch with this fragrance, I'd love to know about it because I do not want the fragrance to be put in the same crowd as the other suspects in this investigation.

There you have it. My memory hiccup, and more information.

Any more words of wisdom?


Mathea said...

I had an almost issue like you but thankfully I was soaping in a plastic bowl, and I stuck it in the microwave (lye and oil) for a minute to re-heat the oils, and the batch turned out ok.

gracefruit said...

When I test fragrance oils to sell, I use the same batch of soap and divide it up into smaller batches. I add fragrance to each of these 'sub batches' and then pour the soap into the moulds.

The results are often vastly different.

In some cases the soap doesn't gel, and in others it gels and makes a really hard bar of soap in less than 24 hours. Right now I have seven sub batches curing and two are too soft to take out of the mold, one is slightly brittle, and the others are just right.

I hate to say it, but fragrance oil can seriously affect your final soap. In your case, it might have nothing to do with the brittle soap, but it's something you might consider.

Is the soap just really hard or is it zappy? If it's zappy, it's more than likely a an error in measuring oils. If it's just hard and brittle, there may be other forces at work.

Probably not at all helpful! :)

Heidi said...

I'm so glad Elizabeth gave her 2 cents. I'm always amazed at what a fragrance oil can do!

Amy W said...

I was just going to add that you can always put your pot of soap back on the stove to warm it up if it starts to solidify too soon. I've even added a tad more water to the pot if it's possible to still incorporate it. It's amazing how forgiving a pot of soap can be - unlike a batch of bath bombs!

Sensational Suds of the South said...

Wait 'til you get to be over 60! I put everything measured out and on the counter next to my soap pot so it's ready to go at trace. Then I'll get busy getting the color right, I forget to add the fragrance before I pour it into the mold. Very frustrating!

Joanna said...

Yes, I once added the fragrance in the mold and stirred very quickly. It seemed to work, but, not my favorite thing to do. It happens so fast and no matter how organized we are, some of us get "lost" in the creative process.