(Moose Creek, ON, Canada)
I have just made my first batch of soap from your web site recipe. I used the Champagne and Roses recipe omitting the coconut milk and micas. It has been in the mold for about 45 minutes, covered with parchment paper in a warm area. I took a peek at it and it has a big crack down the middle. Is this normal?
Definitely not. It sounds like the batch has overheated which is surprising so early after pouring the soap.
If the soap has heated up it should look similar to vaseline with a shiny transparentness. This is called the gel phase and the soap should be unwrapped as soon as this stage has been reached.
I'm not sure why your soap overheated so quickly. Make sure the area you are insulating the soap in isn't too warm as this can speed up the saponification.
Check your measurements. Did you use the correct amount of lye? When you omitted the coconut milk, did you replace the amount with water?
When did you add the fragrance oils? They are best added after the soap has reached trace and not with the oils before the lye has been added. Fragrance and essential oils can greatly speed up the saponification process.