Friday, November 26, 2010

Tempering Shea Butter

When I made recipes with Shea Butter, particularly lotion sticks, I found that the Shea Butter would often make the recipe gritty. Then I learned from Melanie Wessner that one should temper it before using it. I really never thought of doing that. According to Melanie, shea butter should be melted and heated to about 175 degrees and kept for 20 minutes.

While searching online, I found how to temper your shea butter from a forum on BeeSource. According to Luscious Honey, who posted this response says that this is how to temper your shea butter.

"Heat butter to 170-185F and HOLD that temp. for 10 minutes. Steady heat obliterates the fat crystals and won't hurt the beneficial qualities of the butter. To prevent the crystals from reforming, stick the butter in the fridge until solid. If you find that crystals have reformed, you can try it again, paying close attention to time and temps."

Lucious Honey suggests adjusting your butter-to-oil ratio also helps. The weather, evidently plays a part too as really hot weather tends to melt untempered butter causing the grit -- so this may be something you need to do only in summer, if you're winters are cold."

I am not sure which method is better. I will have to try both to see which works better. Has anyone else tried to temper their shea butter before. If you have, could you please share your experience? It would be greatly appreciated.


Celine Blacow said...

I heat and hold for 20 minutes and then put in the fridge ASAP afterwards. It's the heating, holding and rapid cooling that helps prevent the crystals forming. The only time I've had any gritty bits was when I took my body butter to Turkey when it hit 50 degrees C ... but it wasn't bad at all then, total useable.

Soap Crafter said...

Thanks Celine for the tip. I will have to give that a try.

Julie said...

Great tip can't wait to try it!

Soap Crafter said...

Julie, let us know how it turns out!

madpiano said...

I found the rapid cooling more important than the heat-holding. As long as it is melted until clear, I found it to be fine, but it really needs to go in the fridge or freezer straight afterwards. I sometimes get grit in my lip balms and lotion bars if they keep melting and cooling in the summer, but it is bearable.

Soap Crafter said...

Thanks Madpiano for your tip. I will have to keep it in mind.