Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Epic Fail


I tried the cold process oven processing method (CPOP) yesterday and I think I failed miserably at it. I guess no matter how many years you soap, when you try a new process, it's like getting on a bike for the first time and falling off, scraping all the skin off your knees and feeling the burn. O.O

I am announcing Gift Sets on my website today and I really was hoping to add soap to them because my soaps have flown out of my shop and every time I have replenished them a wholesale customer has swept them up. Oh it's great news, but not so great for my poor retail customers who want them. My plan was to whip up CPOP soap and have it be included in the sets and all would be right in the world for them.

And so.

But no.

This is what I found after 2 hours of cooking and 12 hours of remaining in the oven.

I pushed down the freezer paper so you can see the excess oil (black and white shows the oil more clearly):

excess oil pool on top of the 3rd loaf pan

I wiped the soaps down with paper towel so they weren't as slippery as a freshly bathed infant and I am letting them sit. This picture was AFTER I sucked all of the oil away. The crispy-like effect it created on top is nice. It did exactly what I had hoped. I sprinkled brown sugar on top before I stuck the soap in the oven hoping to get a crunch or crisp on top and that's what it looks like to me (and smells like). Sadly the whole soap was oily and soft.

Any idea why they are so oily? They went into the pans in perfect trace harmony. I would love your feedback. I can take constructive criticism. People should learn from my mistakes.

And so should I.



Amanda said...

They probably overheated. I usually put mine in a heated oven (170 degrees) and then immediately turn off. If I see it's not gelling all of the way then I'll turn it on 170 again for about 10 minutes and turn off. If I were to leave it in there with it still on for two hours they would certainly over heat. And if I insulated then definitely over heat.

Keep trying- you'll get it!! Everyone's oven is different you just have to find the right balance between your oven and your recipe/oils used...temp when poured, etc.

Joanna Schmidt said...

Well, see, that doesn't explain my first attempt which was a failure as well. I forgot to cover my soap and there was no oil, but it's just as soft as if I just did it CP.

I think water discount may be the only way or in combination and no one in the text books are mentioning it.

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

I have a couple of ideas; 1) did you use an external oven thermometer?- sometimes if its an older oven or hasn't been calibrated in a long time the temp of the dial could end up being hotter than desired because of a wonky internal thermostat, when I used to care for my grandparents and would cpop at their house almost every batch came out like that until I figured out it wasn't me or the recipe...it was the oven running hotter than it said it was.
2) What was the fo or the recipe? White florals,certain eos, anything with spice, or any type of milk tends to over heat cpop tends to exasperate this.

Our cp/op batches come out a little soft because even after the twelve hours with the oven off they're still warm, we unwrap and let them sit for an hour before cutting. They're still not very hard but test for safe ph- so yes it can be used they just melt away really fast. Water discounting helps with the hardness in the busy season, if you don't quite have two weeks, we started discounting 18% or so.

Joanna Schmidt said...

Part of the FO had Apple Jack Peel in it, but the rest had no spice whatsoever.

No EOs.

My oven is 4 years old and I had it set at 175 degrees.

Haven't cut them yet....


in-between said...

Hi Joanna, I love CPOP and it's my 80% of the time go to. I think perhaps it overheated. And I am not a fan of leaving it in the oven for 12 hours, although I know some ppl do that. I like to think of it as just forcing gel and once that is done I pull it out of the oven because it has done its job. I also do not cover my soap - just soap in the mold on a cookie sheet.

Also, I've done this with full water and water DC - no problem either time.

I should be making a batch this afternoon and I'll document with pics on my blog so you can see the process.

HTH!! :) Keep at it - it works!

FuturePrimitive Soap Co. said...

hmmm. i got not idea! i'm just as new as you at this...but i will do a blog post to show pics of mine.
the 1st was rubbish as i didn't cover it and the top crumbled. the 2nd was great - i left it in the oven at 175 for 90 mins then I took it out instead of leaving it in the oven to cool. this one cut like a dream the next day (a batch of pure white snowdrift soap which was ready to use right away). i left it to cure for a few days though.
i have just pulled out another one (no.11) but what i did this time was left it to harden up overnight as normal, then put it in the oven for 100 minutes then took it out to cool and voila all ok again.
today's was an EO blend. i have one more to do tonight so hoping it goes ok but i am leaving it again to harden a little before putting it in the oven as i'm afraid of my tops ruining. i also covered with greaseproof when baking. i can't put them in right away as i do textured tops mostly and the greaseproof would touch it when too wet.
i guess it really depends on a lot of things as to whether they turn out ok. fo's i think certainly will make a difference to heat though...and some of the strong eo's too. it's a good game this isn't it!

Splurge Sisters said...

This is what works for me. I make the soap and put my oven at 170 then I pop the soap in for about 2 hours (usually I cover it but sometimes I don't) and then I turn the oven off and leave it in there for a few hours. Then I take it out and sit it on a counter overnight and the next day it's usually ready to cut.

It is true that every oven is different.

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

Hmm I'm kerfunkled there. My last idea is sometimes when I blend Fo's from different manufacturers this happens I know all the suppliers say they don't cut the Fo's but they do; just to different degrees the more they're cut or if they're cut with different mediums then blended make it misbehave on its own or sometimes when extra heat is applied. Maybe see how they cut/zap test... otherwise I'm chalking this up to the soap gremlins. I'm really surprised how many different ways people are doing cp/op with different results. Goes to show soap making is an art not a science.

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

I went back through my notes and I have to correct myself from the earlier post.. we never cover our cp/op batches only our re-batches to get a smoother appearance. I think your soaps overheated and are squishy because you covered them, trapping the heat and moisture. If you try it again I'd leave them uncovered and see if your oven goes down to 170, for the ash if it worries you (since it doesn't harm the soap we just roll with it when it happens) I'd just spritz the top with alcohol.

Lori said...

I just did cp/op for the second time and the loaves turned out great. They were in wooden molds uncovered on 170 for 90 mins. then left in the oven overnight w/ oven off. I also did some cupcakes that were in silicone and they didn't do well at all! I think it was the insulation differences but ? I hate your soap didn't turn out. I hate for soap to not turn out!

SoothingSuds said...

hmmm....i definitely LOOKS like an overheated soap.
when i do cpop i preheat the oven to 175 and turn it off after i see that the soap has some to full gell (20 minutes or so?). then leave it in there overnite to cool down--if i can bear it..hee hee...always wanting to peak ya know;D
i always use a wooden mold, and never cover/insulate in the oven---too much heat.
i have had a few problems with milk soaps/honey done this way...too much heat me thinks. keep trying, cpop does come in handy!

Unknown said...

I get this sometimes, it's always the FO leaking because it's too hot. Check you're eo for flashpoint. I also turn it off and walk away after two hours. I've had the dreaded oil pools and when I use a garbage bag for the lining it always is more oily. You've been told to check your temps and that's good advice. You always want to know. The honest truth imo, is this is best in an oven that can be set to 150. Why? Cause my oven only goes to 170 and I need something to blame. No, I get bubbles on the top sometimes and that means it was gelled too hot. Believe me, I bang those bubbles out.

Lynette said...

I read somewhere that too little lye (or too much oil) will cause this. Not sure if it's true, just giving you something to try. Good luck!

Peacecat said...

I tried a batch of CPOP yesterday and had the exact same problem you had, Jo. I'm nearly positive it's because the soap overheated. My batch was small, 1 1/2 lb, in a wooden loaf mold. I put it in the over at 170 and was checking it ever now and again. My original plan was to leave it in for 90 minutes, but when I looked at it at 1 hour there was a layer of oil on top so I turned off the heat. In hindsight, I'm thinking I should have been watching closer and turned the heat off as soon as it gelled. It was obviously way past the gel stage when I caught it.

I let it cool off and blotted off the excess oil. I was able to cut the soap last night and today it's actually looking really good. The scent is a bit off. I'm hoping it becomes truer with a bit of curing.

I will definitely give CPOP another try but will watch the soap more carefully to prevent the overheating.

Eliza said...

I had this trouble once and it was because I did two different things. I didn't get enough of a trace before I put it in the mold because it was a fancy silicon cake mold - and, for some unknown reason that shows I wasn't thinking, I oiled the mold first. I stuffed it in a double boiler and rebatched it and it was fine after that, but wasn't what I was planning to do

Anastasia said...

I have great batches CPOP if I turn the oven to 125-150 turn off the oven as I pop the soap in and leave it overnight.
My stove is gas, not insulated well, but my kitchen is rarely below 75 degrees.
I do get the same oil separation in heavy olive oil soaps and milk soaps. If I leave them alone and give them time to cure, them are fine. The oil seems to get sucked back in. I personally wouldn't sell the separated soaps, but they seem fine.

Anonymous said...

I've had the same thing but I remembered I could salvage it so I poured the mixture in my stainless steel pot put the lid on and let it rest in the oven turned off or a large cooler will work. Next day I popped it in a warm oven to lossen it up and took it out while it was warm and slapped it in the mold again. Couple hours later unmolded it and had great bars of hot processed soap.