Confusion with the room temperature method
by Sarah Douglas
I just made my first batch of soap using lye, water and lard. I used a recipe that has 80g of lye, 228 grams of water and 600g of lard.
I put the lye in the water, and it heated up, and gave off a few fumes but it wasn't anything major.
I then added the solution to my lard and waited for it to melt. The lard melted but it never melted to the point of being clear, and it already seemed to be at trace.
I whisked the mixture a little more and put them into molds. Did I do something wrong?Answer:
The soap batter will not become clear once the lye solution and oils have been mixed. That step occurs with the lye solution only.
When you add the lye beads to the water, you stir until it is completely dissolved. At this point the solution should be clear unless you have added something else to the lye water like silk or colour.
Then you pour your lye solution over your hard oils and gently stir them until the hard oils melt.
I've never used the room temperature method with 100% hard oils so I can't confirm that it is normal for the batter to have traced so quickly but I'm not surprised that it did.
I've run the recipe through SoapCalc and the numbers are good.
As long as the soap traced properly, it should be fine. Be sure to check on it periodically and once the soap has gelled, take off any insulation so it can cool.
If you've placed the soap in individual molds, it may take some time for the soap to become hard as it may not gel. Give it a couple of days and if the soap doesn't want to come out of the molds, place them in the fridge or freezer for a bit. Then try to pop them out.
Congratulations on your first batch!