Saturday, October 9, 2010

Suicidal Soap Syndrome

Many of us have at least one favorite recipe. One that we've made time and time again, knowing it will make a good bar of soap. Then one day it surprises us... and it doesn't behave! It seizes or overheats or finds some other way to self destruct. The worst part is, suicidal soap syndrome can strike at any time, without any warning, for any number of reasons or for no apparent reason at all. As you drop it in the trash, it's hard to forget all of the time and money wasted in making a now worthles batch of near-soap. But, it IS just one bad batch and it is usually not worth giving up on an otherwise tried and true recipe just yet. When your favorite batch of soap lets you down, I think the best thing to do is :

1) Check Your Process- Make sure you did everything correctly. Were your measurements accurate? Did you forget to add one of the oils? Was your scale set to ounces while your recipe was in grams (boy, I hope not!)?
2) Think Critically- If you are sure that you did everything correctly, what else could it be? Did you change brands? Get a more powerful stick blender? Was it unusually hot, or humid?
3) Evaluate Your Options- Can it be saved? Be honoest. If not, you gotta accept defeat, but if you can take that siezing mass of soap and resussitate it by rebatching... go for it! But do it quick, the fresher the soap the easier it is to rebatch. At the end of the day, you may not have a beautiful bar of soap, but at least you will have soap.
4) Persist- Even if there seems to be no rational explanation for your botched batch... try it again. It's been good to you in the past so there's no point in giving up on it after just one incident. But moving forward, pay extra attention to your actions and any outside factors that may affect it. Take good notes and basically, don't take it for granted any more.

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