Sour smell of goats milk

by Hilde Waterloo
(Leksvik, Norway)

Hi!

I'm quite new at soap making. I made my very first batch two days ago :-) I used goats milk instead of water and now, when I touch the soap bars, I think it smells a bit sour - like sour milk... Will that smell disappear as the soap cures, and how is it possible to avoid the milk going sour?

Another thing; I placed the soap bars down in the cellar as that is the only vacant place for them to cure - how cold can it be before it is too cold..?

Answer:

Hello Hilde,

Newly made soap can sometimes have a rather odd smell to it as the saponification process continues. Give the soap a week or so and see if the smell goes away.

If the smell doesn't go away then perhaps the milk was burnt by the lye? If the lye heats the milk too much it can go quite orange in colour and smell terrible. Some people freeze their milk into small icemilk cubes and add the lye to it like that. I haven't done it that way myself so I can't give you first had knowledge.

When I make milk soaps, I use just over half the amount of water and mix it with the lye. I then mix the oils with the lye solution until a very thin trace occurs. Then I add the milk (sometimes I add powdered milk to the liquid milk so that it is stronger) and continue to mix until a good trace is reached.

I'm not really sure what 'too cold' would be.....in the past I have put cold process soap into the freezer to help with releasing it from a fancy mold I was trying and found that the soap did not fare as well as soap that wasn't frozen. The surface developed a tacky feel to it that I didn't like and it had a sweaty film on it as it came back to room temperature.

I store mine at around 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit). I don't think I'd want to store it much below 10 degrees Celsuis (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

Happy soaping,
Cathy

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Frozen goats milk
by: Hilde

Hi again, and thank you for answering so quickly!
I guess I have to find another place for my soaps then... Quite cold here in the winter.

Just wanted to say that I did freeze the milk, and when I added the lye, it was completely mashed and not even slushy yet - I was actually worried that it didn't reach a high enough temperature! The colour of the milk was still nice and completely white! I mixed the lye very slowly, and immediately after mixing the temp. was only 33-34 degrees Celcius.

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Goat Milk Soap
by: Heavenly Scent Soaps

Hi:

My hubby and I have been soaping for quite a few years and last year, we starting making milk-based soaps, as well.

We use a similar technique as you do - we freeze the milk and then add the lye very slowly. We mix thoroughly (until no longer slushy) and then add the oils. We then proceed as usual until light to medium trace. We can detect a slight odor while mixing, but this has always gone away after the soap has cured for a few days.

With non-milk soaps, we always insulate and gel, but with milk-based soaps, we do not. So after we pour, we put the mold in the fridge for a couple of hours to prevent the soap from gelling.

This technique has worked very well for us. And, although the soap is initially a bit softer and stickier than a batch that has gone through the gel process, it has always produced a nice soap after a 4 to 5 week cure time.

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No insulating/gelling
by: Hilde

Hi!
How can the lye be thoroughly neutralized without insulating and gelling of milk-based soaps?

I would like to test the ph-value in my soaps - is there an easy way to do that except for the "zap-test" with the tongue?

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Goat's milk soap
by: Cathy

Hilde....soap goes through the saponification process regardless of whether or not it gels. If you let your soap cure for the standard 4 weeks it should be just fine.

You can test the pH of your soaps by using Litmus paper strips (commonly called pH strips), phenolphthalein liquid or a pH meter. All are often available from soap making suppliers or chemical supply houses.

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pH of soaps
by: Hilde

Hi Cathy!
I have tested my two soaps with pH strips, and I'm still a bit confused... They both seem to have a pH-value about 9-10. Closer to 10 actually. One of them was made a week ago and the other two days ago. What should they be when I use them? Will the value go down and get closer to the neutral 7 as they cure? I have not used too much lye according to the recipe.

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pH strips
by: Cathy

Hilde,

A pH of 9 or 10 is pretty standard for homemade soaps. Usually you will get a reading of anywhere from 7 - 10 but 9 - 10 is more common so I think you are fine.

You will still need to let the soap cure for the full 4 weeks minimum.

Cathy

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Strong lye smell
by: Anonymous

I made my first batch of goats milk soap. I did not freeze my goats milk. I've read other posts and will tell you first hand that if you don't freeze your milk, the lye will turn it rusty orange color. I did, however, let the solution cool to about 120 degrees before I added it to my oils. At first, the soap was dark brown but two days later when I checked on it the color has lightened significantly. I noticed it still has a strong lye smell but not so much of a sour milk odor. I placed the bars on parchment paper in the basement. I hope the smell will dissipate and hopefully the batch can be saved. Does anyone think milling and remelting would help? I've always read to save your spoiled batches.

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First goats milk soap
by: Jude

My first batch smelled good until I put lavender scent in now it smells funny like sour milk. I will check again in few days to see if the smell changes. Thanks for the advice.

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Stinky goats milk soap
by: Anonymous

I just made hp goats milk soap.

Everything was looking and smelling great until it was cooking to a gel state and when I checked it, boy did it stink. I finished it, put in the mould and now hope the smell goes away.

Yes, I froze it first. I added the goats milk right in after I add the lye mixed with water to the oils and brought it to a light trace. I then added goats milk and brought it to a full trace.

What happened?

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