As cold process soapers know, fragrance makes a huge difference in how your soap performs. At Bramble Berry, we test each and every fragrance three times before adding it to our line. At least one of these tests is a larger batch. Sometimes, what happens in a small batch isn’t how a fragrance reacts in a large batch. The Orange Blossom I tested in the Coconut Milk Soap Volcano had performed admirably in one large batch already and done well in a small batch as well. But, when I tossed in the added stressors of a hot milk batch, well … that was enough to throw the Coconut Milk Soap over the edge.
This batch, I paid attention to the temperatures. When I mixed, my soap was a warm 137 degrees which was still too hot for my liking. The big change was the fragrance switch. I made this soap with Buttercream & Snickerdoodle (2 parts) mixed with Relaxing (1 part). I did 100% Coconut Milk in place of the water and reacted the lye with the Coconut Milk.
The soap did great. It traced quickly and had a wonderful texture once the stick blender had worked its magic. I fragranced the majority of the soap, leaving a bit out for a white swirl to provide texture and contrast to the soon-to-be-brown soap (thanks to the Vanilla in the two fragrances I chose).
I split the batch three ways: 1 log mold, 1 Pumpkin Mold (to test release with this hard CP soap) and 1 Flexy Fast mold.
The non-fragranced soap stayed a cool 103 degrees in the mold.
The soap in the loaf did not get as warm as the 100% fragranced individual soap because the loaf soap had swirls of cooler, non-fragranced soap running throughout. The crack started small, when the soap was around 140.
After the soap hit over 150 degrees, the crack started widening and pushing outwards and up. It never got taller or wider than this. Heated soap expands. Since the top layer of soap was cool and more hard than the gelling middle, it gave way to the expanding soap by cracking.
I’ll take photos of the final soap in the next week to share with you. I feel confident that if I lowered my temperatures to 120 and used frozen coconut milk that the soap wouldn’t have cracked. Cracked or not, the soap is one luxurious bar with 75% Coconut, 25% Cocoa Butter and Coconut Milk in place of water. I can hardly wait for the 6 week cure time to use it!