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Author Topic: gel stage  (Read 928 times)
deadeye1957
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« on: January 04, 2013, 06:49:28 AM »

Hello, I keep seeing questions about the gel stage,what is the gel stage,and I also want to ask, if I use a wooden mold, do I still have to insulate it, I have noticed that when I do it gets very hot.
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nicholray
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 06:55:19 AM »

Have you ever made or seen a soap that has a center circle on the bar that's a slightly different color then the rest? That's partial gel. Gel stage is when the all over soap reaches a specific temperature and "gels". Gelling usually deepens color or makes the colors pop more where ungelled soap usually is more matte in color. Gelling is all about personal preference. I gel some of my soaps and others I don't.

You don't have to insulate your mold at all if you don't want to. Usually insulating helps insure a complete gel so you don't end up with that partial gel circle in the center. Depending on the size and what your recipe is you may get a complete gel with your mold. Wood does hold in a lot of heat. My smaller molds I don't insulate because they'll gel completely without it, my larger molds I have to insulate to get full gel. And if I don't want gel I just put the soap in the refrigerator over night.
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deadeye1957
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 07:27:33 AM »

Thank you,
  I have not noticed the circle you mentioned,but,it sounds as if gelling is neither good nor bad.
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JuJuBean
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 10:33:28 AM »

gelling is also called "neat" soap.  Its when the soap heats up enough to melt itself and the molecules re-align themselves in a liquid crystalline structure...The molecular structure of un-gelled soap looks like a starburst... gelled soap is orderly like molecules in a crystal.

its just a matter of preference and your desired ourcome.  Its difficult to gel a milk soap without scorching or carmelizing it.

The higher the water in the recipe, the easier the soap will go into gell.  Severe water reductions recipes need higher temperatures to go into gel phase.... high water recipes will do it at lower temperatures.  There is a certain amount of water needed for the soap to react that way.
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Nanci
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 06:19:42 PM »

as JuJu said milk soaps can caramelize so since I only do milk based soaps I never gel  It's all personal pref but I like the non gelled look of mine!
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robertw98144
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 08:15:00 PM »

I normally want my soap to gel because of the brighter colors, so I force gel on everything but soaps with sugar (including milk soaps). Soaps with sugar (honey or milk) I put in the fridge after pouring for a few hours to explicitly prevent gel.

I force gel by putting my molds into a large cardboard box that sits on top of a heating pad. One side of the box is cut away/open so I can slide in the molds. Then I have a blanket that goes over the cardboard box to insulate the whole thing. I click on the heating pad medium which auto shuts off in two hours.


I've never had a soap not gel, so I don't know why I'm so uptight about always "putting it to bed" in that contraption. It would probably be easier to cover the top with a piece of cardboard then cover with a towel. I have done that and the soap has always gelled. If I ever have to move my little insulation box set-up, I'll probably just go with the cardboard on top to protect the soap + a towel...

Oh wait - now I remember. The reason I set up the cardboard box in the first place was to force gel on single bar molds. Not just because I'm crazy, which I am.  Embarrassed
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