Monday, September 3, 2012

No Dirt on MY Hands

Yes, in fact I do know that a bar of soap can be purchased for less than the amount of change left in my jeans after a weekend.  

And, two people can only use so much soap. 

Yet, I spent most of this holiday weekend and untold dollars making soap.  


Why?  Well, over the last few months, I made one batch of soap at a friend's house, I've read books, bought ingredients, looked at web sites, took a DISASTROUS class, bought more ingredients, joined forums, bought molds, read some more, and soooooo . . . it was finally time to get my saponification on.  

I planned to make shaving soap for a birthday gift for some old duff  :) I'm related to who just happens to lather up with a brush. The recipe I had made 5 pounds but the mold I bought only held 3 pounds so I had to adjust the recipe by dividing by 5 and multiplying  by 3.  That was pretty easy math, and all was well until I poured the hot oil into the crock pot I planned to use and realized there was no room for the other ingredients (lye & water). So, I had to change the method from cooking in the crock pot to cold process.    

In cold process you mix lye and water and melt the solid oils and then cool everything to the same temperature pour them together and mix like mad until the stuff looks like pudding, pour into a mold, wrap in blankets and wait for a day, unmold, and cut into bars.   That was so much fun I had to make more.  

Next I made another cold process batch, but that recipe made 3.375 pounds (things are VERY exact in the soap world), but the mold I wanted to use was for 5 pounds.  So,  back to the calculator to end up with 5.6 pounds.  This batch was made with sunflower oil and was scented with lemongrass, and rosemary.  

Well, I had lots of ingredients left and I thought I should try to use the crockpot. So I went to Whole Foods and acquired ingredients. No calculations were necessary, I just followed the recipe (except for the scents which were orange, a bit of lemongrass, and rosemary) Cooking the soap in the crockpot was less trouble than cold process.

 Cooking in the crockpot & finished product

cooked in the crockpot

cold process
I like the result from the cold process better.  The bars are very smooth.  You can compare the photos and see the difference.   
Soap waiting to come out of the lamb mold
Baa! I made it!

I must have miscalculated--the shaving soap was a mess!

I made a bunch of these from the shavings
The soap has to sit around and cure for 6 weeks (actually it's just drying out so it will last longer--it's pretty soft at this point).  I should really be ready for a bath by then.  :)

It's back to the drawing board for the shaving soap--I haven't given up on that.  

Anyway, when you make soap the resulting mess is interesting to clean up because it's soap.  Right now my hands and kitchen counter are REALLY clean. 


Lista said...

This made me laugh because long ago, in organic chem lab, I blew up my soap experiment. It was the easiest clean-up ever!

Lost City Denise said...

Well done! We'll talk about the shaving soap.

Mmmm lemongrass.

ann I am said...

Oh yes!! Shaving soap conversation!

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