Friday, January 30, 2015
I have made quite a few batches of soap now, so I feel that I can blog this with a tiny bit of authority on the subject. It took me a long time to muster up the courage to attempt this feat because everything I had read about soap making made it sound like EVERY aspect of it was critical to a capital T.
Not my experience at all.
In fact, I have found soap making to be even more forgiving than my wife...(I know, I know.....couch!!!!)
Having said that, and fully expecting a splurge of comments about how "wrong" I am, let me just say this. I have never made hot process soap, probably never will, and don't really care about how 2 degrees F can make or break your precious fifteen dollar a bar soap.
This is Our Little Backyard Farms "almost famous" much cheaper soap.
So lets make some, shall we!!!
What your gonna need:
-12 oz. of goat milk (frozen)
-12 oz. solid vegetable shortening (lard of some sort)
-5 oz. coconut oil
-4 1/2 oz olive oil
-3 oz. lye (granular food grade is best)
any optional additives (oat meal, lavendar, colorants, pumice, etc.)
OH, and by the way....where gloves and EYE SAFETY!!!
I was a "man" when I did my first few batches and was too cool for safety glasses, but when a little drop splashed on my arm during the blending process, I realized by THE BURN, that I didn't really want it to get in my eyes.
First put the shortening, coconut oil, and olive oil in a small pot and heat up on the stove (on LOW) until melted. Try not to let it get too hot.
TIP: I typically turn the burner off after it gets about 1/3 melted and leave it for a few minutes. Then turn the burner back on to finish. This prevents the oils from getting too hot.
When oils are melted, set pot aside. In a separate bowl, slowly sprinkle the lye onto the frozen goat milk while continually stirring. The milk will immediately begin to melt. I like to use small ice cube trays to freeze my goat milk, so that when I am ready to make soap, I can just pop out a bag of frozen cubes and weigh the appropriate amount. It also helps to melt quicker with the lye. If there was ANY critical step, this would be it. The longer the lye is in the milk prior to the other ingredients being added, the better the chance of the milk turning a nasty brown color.
This was after only about a minute and a half of the lye melting the goat cubes.
Once the milk has been melted, pour in the warm oils.
Although you don't "have" to have an immersion blender (the oldschoolers didn't), Why the heck would you not. They make this next task so easy. The mixture needs to be blended quickly to form a trace. Now, what is trace? Read on.
Trace is when the mixture leaves a standing trail, similar to that of a pudding consistency, when you lift the stirring utensil out of the mixture. (such as the picture above)
Basically the soap is done, You could stop here and pour it into a mold, but what's the fun in that. Lets put some goodies into it. In this picture, I used Oatmeal which I ground up in a chopper, and also dried basil (first time with this) to add scent, and flecks of green in the soap. I have also added lavendar, and synthetic colorants in the past. I probably won't do synthetics any more, as I have ben researching natural colorants such as the dried herbs.
Mix in all additives with your spatula
Pour the mixture into a mold. You can make your own molds using parchment paper or wax paper, but I find the silicone molds to be SOOOOO asy to use and clean.
Put the mold up and out of reach from pets or children since the lye can still be very harmful at this stage, and let set up for about 24 hours.
After 24 hours, you should be able to remove the soap from the mold. Some molds are already shaped into individual bars, however the one I use is just a block which has to be cut into bars.
You can use a butter knife to cut the bars, or you can spring some small cash for a handy dandy little soap cutting do-dad like the one pictured here.
After you cut the bars, let them dry (turning daily for the first week, every other day for a few more) for at least 3 weeks. If you don't, the soap will not cure enough and will shrink quickly when uses. Also, if you use it too quickly, the lye may irritate your skin and cause burns.
Did I mention...Where gloves and SAFETY GLASSES.....good.
Now get busy and make some soap!!!!