Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CPOP & Balance? What's That?

Well, one thing I am clearly not very good at is balancing my life thee days. I must be the most horrific excuse for a blogger out there! At any rate, I won't bore you to death with the details of all this minutia that swirls around me much if the time, leaving me yearning for some time and peace to enjoy my craft, soap making.
What I would like to discuss though is my my new adventures with CPOP. Have you heard of this yet? Wonderful concept, common sense concept. Yet still there are some glitches I haven't quite figure out. CPOP for those who havent heard, is Cold Process - Oven Process. And, it is just like the name sounds. You make your batch of cold process soap just like you normally would, but instead of leaving it to rest and saponafy for the next day if two, you pour it into molds at trace and transfer immediately to a pre-heated 170 degree (f) oven where you let it sit for 3 hours, turn the oven off and leave it be to rest over night. By the next morning, you should be able to unmold, slice, and use immediately. The dry heat of the oven is supposed to accelerate curing time. While many soap makers are zapping their tongues with their finished bars to see if they are truly cured, I have resorted to using atual ph test strips. I figure since soap (any soap) will undoubtedly taste like a freshly scrubbed a$$ hole, this method really does nothing more than confuse me. Did that soap taste like a 9 volt battery? Or did it just taste like shi*? So here is the problem with CPOP as I see it. My ph test strips are not revealing cured bars after the oven method, not only that but they are not showing a cured bar even after another week passes. Is this method really speeding anything up?
A few months prior to learning if the CPOP method I had stumbled upon a similar technique on my own. I'll be danged I know what caused me to put my soap in the oven in the first place. Ah yes, the soap had traced quite quickly and was not pouring into the molds so much as chunks of it were diving in. I decided that heating it while in the mold would allow it to loosen up and settle into the mold. However, I used a 220 degree (f) oven and left it in there at that temperature for a good 5-6 hours before turning it off and letting it cool down. But I wasnt trying to cure it, just loosen it up. I fully intended to go ahead as usual and slice the next day, let cure for 4-6 weeks and test it then for readiness, as I usually do. But when the oven cooled down and I removed my loaves Of soap, I immediately noticed that they had settled and hardened quite nicely. They felt ready for use. Ph test showed 7-8 so not far off from where I wanted it. A week later it was ready for use.
The techniques out there I am questioning for both temperature and baking time.
I will continue to experiment with this process and figure out what truly works. With any luck I will be able to post a video and some pictures of the process and results.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please feel free to post them, especially if you have tried this method and have found it successful.
Until next time,
Over and out, soapers!