Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My First Soap

Well, I finally did it! I made my very first ever batch of soap. I have been wanting to make soap for quite some time, but have been afraid to try. I really don't know why. I certainly spent enough time in chemistry labs during college to understand and feel comfortable with the safe handling of caustic chemicals, but for some reason all the warnings from soapmakers had me scared off. Maybe I just realize I am not invincible. Anyway, I used the hot process method because I need this soap for Christmas gifts and didn't want to take the chance that it wouldn't cure in time. Yeah, I know I should have started earlier. So anyway here is the recipe and the method that I used.

Hot Process Goat milk soap
16 oz. lard
10 oz. vegetable oil
22 oz. olive oil
6 oz. lye
14 oz. very cold goat milk

I measured the hard fat (lard)by weight and the soft fats by volume. Turn the crockpot on high and melt the hard fats first. Once it is melted then add the soft fats. About 45 minutes later add lye to the milk. I put my milk in the freezer for a bit and it had ice crystals in it. The lye will cause the milk to heat up so the milk needs to be really really cold. Add the lye very slowly while stirring to prevent the milk from curdling. Stir this mixture about 10 minutes then add while stirring to the hot oils. Then you stir and stir and stir some more, about 35 minutes or so. The soap will go through several stages, but when it reaches the point that it looks like really stiff mashed potatoes turn off the crockpot and remove the crock. Add herbs or scents (I used herb de provence, not sure I like it)at this point and stir some more until the soap gets a sheen and feels a bit slippery. It won't feel real slippery but you will be able to tell the difference. At this point it is ready to mold. I used a 9x13 pan lined with wax paper and just squished it in with my hand to get it smooth. Hot process soap is cured during the cooking process, otherwise I wouldn't have touched it. Now for the warnings...Wear gloves (lye burns reallly bad), wear long sleeves (lye burns realllly bad), wear glasses/goggles (lye burns reallllly bad), add lye to milk not the other way around (lye explosions burn reallllly bad). Well that is about it. I am making another batch tomorrow and will add lime zest to scent it. After that batch then I might try the cold process method. Oh one more thing, don't be surprised when your milk turns orange/tan in color. The lye does that to milk. I think tomorrow I will try to have my milk just on this side of frozen and see if it will turn less. It does mellow a little, but it isn't the most attractive soap I have ever seen. Oh well, the family won't care. It did lather really well as I washed up the utensils that were covered in soap and my hands do feel really dry, so outside the color I am please with the result. Happy soaping, Kat

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