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Master batching for the win today.


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I know a lot of you master batch your soap stuff. The most I would premake is a triple batch that was split into different scents if needed. If there was a mistake to be made during soaping,  I have made it. For procedure and comfort reasons I could not bring myself to do more. Until today. I have a small mountain of Faire stuff to make, and a wholesale account suddenly began ordering heavier and more frequently than usual, so I was wiped out of a few things.  This master session was a scary big move that would only work in a single session, which happened to work out perfectly. 


I started the lye solution last night. Holy crap that was a lot of lye solution. It sat covered in a pail in the sink and was still over 100*F this morning 😳.  Silly me didn’t go back to stir periodically so some of the lye had hard panned - which I filtered out. So, I made more lye solution and heated the filtered crystals back up with it and mixed it all together.  Problem solved.


First thing this morning I started melting enough oils to fill all of my tall skinny soap molds. Filled a 5 gallon pail. I don’t have a big enough scale to weigh that out so I trusted myself (hard to do when making soap. Too many big expensive mistakes made in the past. ). To mix I poured from pail to pail and broke out the squirrel mixer. That was fun. This recipe/formula will only work if the oils are completely melted and clear, and about 90-100*F, other wise the stearic in my hard oils settles too much and creates a mixing mess and stearic spots, so I cant premake this too far in advance.


I reprinted my batch sheets so I could triple check each pour, and by golly the oils were perfect right down to the last grams. Made 10 varieties and it was actually kinda relaxing. I was able to keep up with the dirty dishes as I went along, no need to rush as in the past while splitting batches. I almost can’t wait to do this again tomorrow. Almost. It’s still a crap ton of work. 


Photos to follow. I feel much more confident About being able to keep up with restocks this way. 

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Good golly! That's a helluva lotta soap! 😶

I know exactly what you mean about mistakes and splitting batches. Some of my most catastrophic fails have occurred because my focus was split too many ways. I'm going to do a 3 split batch today, the most I've ever done is a 4 split and surprisingly that went off without a hitch although my anxiety was at a fever pitch the whole time, lol.

Do you do different additives  for each loaf, or just different color and fragrance? Sometimes I do different additives, like one soap gets kaolin while another gets beer, and that's often where I get tripped up.

Boy, I can't even imagine the scope of soaping with pails of lye and buckets of oil! I felt like I hit the big time when I started master batching in the litter container. 😂

You must feel so accomplished Shannon!! I will be looking for those pics! 😉

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Congratulations on getting it out like that.  I usually  master batch in 5 gallon pail myself.  It's so much easier for me.  I'm so behind this year.  I need to light a fire under my butt and get things done.   Maybe tonight I'll get to it.

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I LOVE masterbatching. I usually master batch up to 125lbs of oils at a time (25lb increments because a 5gallon bucket will hold 25lbs of my oils) For the last 25lbs I separate into my mixing jugs in 3lb increments (because that is my typical batch size) with the extra put back into one of the 4 5gallon buckets. I love them because I can stack them 4 high and put them in a corner out of the way.  :)


Typically I masterbatch my 50/50 lye at 6lbs each and have 12lbs of lye solution ready to go. 


So much easier at time of soaping to only have to weigh oils once, lye once, and extra liquid once and not have to wait for anything to have to cool down or heat up. 


The only time I have to do extra weighing and waiting is when I do make a beer and/or milk soap. I don't reduce my beer at all. I make sure it's flat and frozen and soap it like milk (which when I make a milk soap,  90% of the time, I will make 100% milk. Every now and then I will do the split method, but not often) 


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6 minutes ago, TallTayl said:

When you split into small bucket and set aside how do you deal with the inevitable settling of the stearics?


My recipe stays liquid (but cloudy) in the summer time, and barely slushy in the winter. While weighing everything out, I make sure that everything is melted and clear and continue to stir throughout the cooling process until completely cool.

Once cooled, (after a few days or weeks) just before soaping, for my 5 gallon buckets, I take my paint stirrer, attach that to my drill I have and give it a good 2-3 minute whirl before weighing out my batch size(s), and for my individual soaping pitchers I zap in the microwave for about 30 seconds before soaping. 

Have never had a problem with stearics settling to the bottom permanently. 


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11 hours ago, TallTayl said:

When you split into small bucket and set aside how do you deal with the inevitable settling of the stearics?

Y'know... I've been just kinda wondering... The settling out of the stearics is generally a pretty small percentage of the total mass of the blend, what would happen if we just left the crap lay in the bucket and didn't bother with reincorporating it into the batch... I usually have a 3.5# individual batch and if the stearics separate out it usually only a thin layer on the bottom, maybe 10-20g or so. What if it was just replaced with some of the same blend? Generally speaking stearic acid in your soap is a problematic behaving element in your soap making...  So why are we bothering with it? No crud left behind philosophy? It shouldn't change the end result of your soap that significantly (if it changes anything at all...) 

Jist wondering... 


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  • 4 weeks later...

I masterbatched a 50 lbs pail a couple times and that's why I stick to the smaller 20 lb empty plastic cat litter containers. I just found making smaller master batches, like 2-4 at a time in the 20 lb jugs worked out better for me. I hear ya about the crap load of work. Those big pails are a pain in the butt to work with and you still have to break down several oils into smaller buckets that will be able to be weighed on the scale. 


I also prefer having the 20 lb jugs cause I can lift and pour out of them. Can't do that with the durned 50 lb pails!! You have to scoop out the oils and I always ended up with a mess Plus I do a lot of soaping demos on the road and they are simple and easy to transport.

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