Could it be the High Altitude?
I have been making soap for a couple of years now and have never run into the problem I am having. The only change I have made is the house at which i am making my soap and there is an altitude difference.
The house I was making the soap at is at 6600 ft and where I am making it now is at about 8000 ft.
The problem I am encountering is that the mix reaches a very thick trace after just minutes of mixing.
I typically make a triple batch and use a pot whipper to mix then separate the batches into their own pots to make the different soaps but this is next to impossible when it reaches this thick trace so fast.
The recipe I use is 153 oz Olive oil (pomace), 69 oz Coconut oil, 25 oz castor oil, 34 oz lye, 59 oz water(I triple this and have done it this way for over 1 year with no problem). I do have a soap program that says this recipe is actually better than the benchmark.
I have tried both the cp method heating oils to between 90-100 degrees and the lye to within 5 degrees of the oils. I have also tried the room temp method and it has resulted in the same hard to work with mess(I thought it was because of the method).
I am not sure why I never thought of the altitude effecting the process since it effect cooking but am not sure what to do about it.
Should I start mixing at a higher oil/lye temperature? I will be making single batches only from now on. Any direction you can provide would be greatly appreciated!
BTW-I also though it was the temperature outside because it is starting to get cold but i am mixing it in the house and not in an outside room.Answer:
I'm afraid I am at a loss when it comes to information about how altitude will affect the trace times of the soap batter. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it does.
It will help to slow down the trace if you try stirring with a whisk or a spoon rather than with a stick blender.
Also try using the full amount of water. Around 36-38% by weight of oils would be a good place to start.