When I performed a saponification experiment in school, I added some ethanol to the solution (glycerol ester fatty acid + sodium hydroxide) to change the equilibrium of the reaction. (Molecules of salt of fatty acid made some chunks so they don't react efficiently.) But accidentally I spilled a lot of ethanol and the solution became hard, like a hair gel. And after I added some water to it, it became liquid again.
What I want to know is why the solution became a gel. I know that ethanol is used for an efficient reaction because ethanol can be a common solvent of grease and water and it can help sodium hydroxide and glycerol ester meet, but I don't know why they became harder when ethanol was overused.
Of course, the solution was in the water bath.