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Sometimes the soaps I make for the shop don’t play nice. Oftentimes it’s separation and false trace that happen, when the oils separate out or the oils solidify and don’t actually reach trace. This usually happens with my tallow soap, and can really be frustrating!
When that happens, I do a process called Hot Process Hero and it fixes everything! For the tallow soap, I heat the oils until melted and blend my lye in until it seems to reach trace, then I turn on the heat again and “cook” the soap until it reaches Vaseline look and consistency. That’s when I mold my soap and let it cool and solidify. The bonus of hot processing soap is that you can use the soap as soon as it’s fully hardened about a day or two later. For impatient soap makers who want to use their soap RIGHT NOW this is a great way to make soap!
I used to do a lot of this classic method of hot processing but now for the majority of my soaps I do what is called CPOP (cold process oven process). This is where I pour the soap in the mold like cold process soaping, but then I put the whole loaf in the oven and heat it on low heat until the whole soap has gelled through and “cooked”. Nearly every soap in the shop is make with this process because of my high olive oil content in my soaps! Pure olive oil soap (like I make) can take six months to a year to harden to a point where it’s pleasant to use it. With CPOP and a normal drying time the soaps become rock hard and reach that pleasant point much faster!
Note that these processes often turn milk-based soaps brown. If you don’t want this in your soaps then I highly suggest avoiding any kind of hot process. But if brown soap doesn’t bug you then I highly recommend hot processing! Another way of avoiding brown milk soaps is by doing this awesome method of hot process called Fluid Hot Process! I’ll be trying this process for a soap I’ll be making for personal use and posting the recipe on the blog. I usually do a variation of this when making Pure Clean by adding a little water in the cooked soap and then molding, because all-tallow soap hardens REALLY fast without plenty of water and it can be difficult to slice even a hot processed all-tallow soap into bars without it.