Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Alkanet Experiment 8

DIFFERENCE: About 30% of the liquid is Coconut Milk, the rest distilled water as per usual, using Alkanet Experiment 1 as the base recipe.

PROCESS: I removed about 30% of the water and substituted it for Coconut Milk which I added, warmed at trace.

RESULTS: The colour is definitely leaning away from blue. I would describe it as a Purplish Gray. For some reason, this soap traced quicker, and almost seized on me. I think I had not heated the coconut milk sufficiently. So I scooped instead of poured into the mould. Then I did my messy swirls on top straight away, topped and incubated. This way it was not exposed long to air. As an interesting side-line in my Alkanet experimenting, I have been wondering why the white stuff (soda ash?) has been forming on some of the soap and on others no...? Amy at http://www.greatcakessoapworks.com/handmade-soap-blog/ has pointed out that it may be due to air getting at the top? So this time, I topped right away, and didn’t open the mould for 24 hours... not even to peek... You see, I have a confession... sometimes I have gotten so excited and curious that I have actually peeked and opened the mould even a few times during the experimenting. That may have been causing the white stuff?? Also, can you see specs in the soap? I am not that keen on them and am never quite sure why they form.

CONCLUSION – Coconut Milk DEFINITELY affects Alkanet colour in soaps. It would be interesting to try 100% coconut milk.

TEASER... Next experiment will be lowering the Shea Butter and changing the recipe slightly, adding the Castor Oil and Alkanet at trace...


Michelle said...

Thanks for the tip on the coconut milk affecting alkanet. I will make a note not to combine those two unless I'm looking for a greyish soap. You have so much patience Jennifer, you are really sticking with this experiment and coming from me, who has no patience, I really appreciate it! What you are doing will definitely save others a lot of time.

AromaBeauty Natural Soaps said...

Well, that made a difference to the colour, who would have thought that coconut milk would make it so much lighter? I'm not sure Jen, but I think heating the coconut milk might have made it trace a lot faster. When I use it, I add it at trace, straight from the tin. When you use other types of milk it is always used cold or frozen, so heating it would maybe start trace faster?

When I've used the alkanet in the past, I've always added it at trace too, so I don't know if that makes any difference of not, but it would be interesting. I find it really hard not to peep too:) and yes I think it might be one of the reasons we get ash sometimes, so I have to try realllllly hard not to.

Jennifer Young said...

Thanks for the comments. Glad to know there are people interested in these experiments! With respect to lighter or darker, I think simply adding more alkanet coloured oil would make it either darker or lighter. For example, Alkanet 6, which a few people have mentioned is their favourite colour.... I think it is simply that dark because I must have added more Alkanet. But since I am working with such small quantities, it is hard to control 1 gram more or 1 gram less. It is the shade of the colour that I am really looking at.... blue or purple (or in many cases non-descript gray.... yuck)... as the intensity I can alter with alkanet quantites.

TheSoapSister said...

Hi Jen! So glad you're back and experimenting -I really missed reading your posts! I agree that the warmth of the coconut milk may have contributed to the seizing....I've had that happen with goats milk a time or two when I've heated it. You did a fab job with getting them in the molds without voids and getting the tops swirled...when soap seizes I tend to panic!
~ Becky
p.s. I'm a "peeker" too! : )

Jennifer Young said...

Hi Becky, Glad to know I am not the only peeker... well I think it was Ambra that gave me a great tip, when the soap is seizing... once I get it into the mould I bang the mould donw a few times so that the mix can settle. It tends to work well and possibly even helps out with bubbles? Not sure. I panic too... xo Jen

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Jen. Super interesting your experiments. I have already spent a couple of bags of Alkanet in my own experiments. And I do not get the color I want. Making swirl, with sunflower seed oil and soybean used in superfat and with high superfat and palm oil and cacao; The result was a dark turquoise ?¡ I did not expect that color, it went almost gone completely with the curing. Then using more alkanet I got grayish results of little intensity. Both with high and low overfat. Today I will perform a test with grapeseed oil, low overfat, all the batch together, without separation of colors. I doubt whether to put coconut milk or not?
Well, going to see if there is luck, but I doubt it. For next experiments I will try macerating in olive oil, and with lemon. And when I finish this lots, I moving from experiments with alcanet for lavender soap, I threw the towel. I leave. It's a hard world the soapmaking :) kisses