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Author Topic: Gelling soap  (Read 2617 times)
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« on: September 18, 2011, 10:50:54 AM »

I had never heard of gelling or not gelling soap until I read the forums. I am new to soap making but was taught and have read only one way of cooling down the cold process soap. That is, as soon as I pour it in my loaf mold, I wrap it in wool sweaters and wait 24 hours before unveiling it and then cut it into bars. I then let it cure for 30 days. I am making only all vegetable soaps. I read someone mention the "alien brains" on top of the soap and some of my soap does resemble that when I take the sweaters off. Any advice?
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 04:54:59 AM »

Hi, beadgrl. I've not experienced "alien brains" before, but it sounds to me like it could be a result of the soap overheating. I usually make my CP soap using the process you describe and let my soaps fully gel. When you wrap your mold with towels or blankets, you're insulating it and helping it retain its heat so it gels. Depending on your ingredients, soaping temps (I usually soap between 100-110 degrees F), etc., sometimes the soap can overheat. Ingredients like honey, goat's milk, and beer can make the soap get hotter due to the sugars and the soap may crack, curdle, or separate. Some soapers avoid gel phase altogether by popping their soap into the fridge after pouring into molds to keep the soap from heating up. Thinner plastic molds may be better than wooden or insulated molds for soaps prone to overheating, or if you're trying to avoid gel. Ungelled soaps may zap for a few days longer than gelled soaps because the saponification process is slowed.

When I gel my soaps, I usually unmold after 24 hours, too, and test for zap. Then I let mine cure for about 6 weeks before using. A cure of 4-8 weeks is probably typical for most soaps.

Hope that helps! Have fun soaping!  Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 05:11:59 AM »

Alien brains? LOL  thats a 1st for me Smiley . I never had that happen although I know what you mean. Have you tried CP/OP? It speeds up gelling process. Preheat your oven to 170. Place your soap inside ~ turn it off and let it sit for atleast an hour. I do this method and it works out good. If you pour at a thicker trace or wait til it thickens a bit could make the "mountains" on top of your soap before you put it in the oven. Let it cool off then cut it. Hope this helps  Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 09:47:29 AM »

  Hi, beadgrl! It's up to you to make a gelled or non-gelled soap. If you want a non-gelled one, all you have to do is not to cover the mold and let it somewhere in a colder temp. The difference between the two is that the non-gelled one looks creamier, has a nicer texture. I personally prefer to make both. SOme recipes work better with non-gelling technique, some the reverse. All you have to do is try and experience.
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 10:13:38 AM »

 Hi you could take a peek at your soap to observe gelling for yourself so you know what it looks like.

Gelling looks like your soap has turned to a jellylike substance. It starts in the middle of the soap. It goes a darker colour and spreads to cover the entire soap. In some cases a full gel does not occur.That is to say only a partial gel has taken place. The colour of your soap returns to normal after gelling has taken place and by the time its ready to unmold the colour of your soap should be back to normal.
During the gel phase the soap heats up considerable.
The problem is sometimes one has to keep the temperatures down as in the case of honey and milk soaps as the other soaper stated. In these cases the soap may be placed in a fridge or freezer to keep the soap from heating excessively . In this case the soap does not go through the gel phase and as stated by another, the soap is said to be creamier than that which goes through the gel phase.
The choice is yours. It's not a bad idea to try both ways, so you have the knowledge under your belt.
Have fun  Smiley
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