It’s so exciting when you finish creating a batch of cold process soap and it's tempting to open and cut it, however... it’s also essential not to cut soap too soon. Patience is crucial, but if you just can’t wait, here are some approaches that can aid with early release - around 2-3 days.
Start by selecting the correct mould. Wood moulds are the fastest since they have excellent airflow, allowing for superior insulation, which generates heat. It is these higher temperatures that will contribute to you being able to unfold quicker.
If you can’t use a wood mould, next best for speedy unfolding is silicone. Although they don't have as much airflow as the wood if you choose a single cavity silicone mould that will help speed things up.
If you are in a hurry, best to give plastic moulds a miss.
Next is the recipe: The harder the oils, the firmer the recipe, the quicker it will unmould. Coconut and palm are hard oils, solid at room temperature. Best to select 70 percent hard oils for a solid soap. The other 30 percent can be softer and moisturising oils such as rice bran, olive and sweet almond.
Another technique to encourage early release is to reduce the superfat level from 5% to 2-4%. This diminishes the burden of floating oil, making it quicker to unmould.
You could adopt a water discount at around 5-10 per cent. That means you add less water to your recipe, which contributes to less evaporation time.
Another option is to add sodium lactate, which is liquid salt, and aids with hardening up the cold process soap bars, enabling early release.
Another method is using higher temperatures and forcing gel phase. When the batch gets hot and gelatinous it helps the soap harden quicker. Your lye and oils need to be at around 120-130°F. Cover the mould with cardboard and blankets.
When it is time to unmould... You’ve been checking on your babies for days and speculating when it’s time. Check that the soap feels firm, then pull on the mould and observe if the soap lifts easily. If it does, you can probably pull the other side, and unmould!