September 27, 2011

Homemade Soap

Making soap for the first time can be a bit scary.  I know...I've been there!  But once you have a batch or two under your belt it's no big deal.  Really!  Especially if you have a partner in crime BFF to help you!

Here's what you need for natural unscented soap:
12 oz. lye granules (my bottle from the hardware store was sold in a 16 oz. can so I had to use my kitchen scale and an old container to measure it out -- **Pre-measure it before you get started!)
4 cups milk partially frozen (it needs to be mostly frozen since the chemical reaction with the lye will scorch the milk) ---  We used goat milk!
48 oz. shortening (You'll want to use Crisco.  We tried the store brand.  It didn't work as well.)
32 oz. coconut oil
16 oz. olive oil
6 qt. sauce pan for partially melting the shortening and coconut oil (this can be a good'll only use it for melting the oils)

The following items you'll need to be kept just for soap making...never use these items for cooking!

8 qt. stainless steel pot 
large wooden spoon
large rubber spatula
Stick Blender
Mold for pouring soap into (I use an old toy bin)

First melt shortening and coconut oil in a saucepan on low. Once melted, turn off. (You can skip this step and just add the oils to the lye/milk mixture when the lye/milk mixture is ready, but I prefer to not have to deal with clumps splashing the liquids around.  It will take a bit longer to saponify -- chemically blend.) 

Place partially frozen milk into soap making pot.  Very carefully pour lye into pot while stirring with an old wooden spoon.  Be very careful not to inhale the fumes.  We did this outside, but you can do it inside near an open window.  We took extra precautions to wear face masks and have vinegar near by.  Should you get splashed by the lye put vinegar on your skin to neutralize the base of the lye.

Once the milk is well mixed with the lye, carefully pour the melted shortening and coconut oil in.  Add in the olive oil. 

Mix with the stick blender.  **Be careful not to lift the running blender out of the pot!**  The mixture can burn you.  It won't burn you in the sense that it's hot, but that the chemical in the lye will burn your skin. Blend until the soap mixture starts to thicken.  It's called "trace".  When you can shut off the blender, lift it out of the pot and drizzle a line of soap on top and it stays in it's drizzled line for a few moments, then it's "trace".  

Now your soap is ready to pour into the mold!  This is the exciting part!  Pour it in, tap the container on the table a bit to get out air bubbles.  Cover with a lid of some sort (box, cookie sheet, etc.) and a blanket and in about 12-24 hours cut it into bars.  (When it seems stiff enough to hold the cut, but not too stiff to cut, you be the judge, then it's ready.  Depends on dampness in the air and how cool/warm it is.) 

The longer the soap sits the longer the bar will last.  I sell it after it's cured for 2 weeks.  If it's sat for 2 months then even better, but I can't help myself.  I like to try the soap as soon as I can!  *smile*

A few notes about soap, lye, etc.  ...

*You can't make soap without lye.  Really.  You can make milled soap with already made soap and then pour into molds, etc.,  to get around coming in contact with lye, but all soap comes from a mixture of lye, liquids and fats.

*Lye can burn your skin...powder form, liquid form, in the soap before it cures.

*Most soaps you buy at the store has had the glycerin removed and therefore not as good and healthy for your skin as natural soaps.

*While I realize Wikipedia is not the source for all information they have a good overview of soap HERE.

*All sorts of fun things can be added to soap!  I have made oatmeal and honey and I'm working on a recipe for pumpkin pie soap!  The possibilities are endless!

*I'm sure there are people out there who are well-versed in soapmaking.  Please feel free to chime in with your tips, etc.  The above mentioned is what has worked well for me.

~ ~ ~

Want homemade soap made with goat milk for a rich, creamy lather?  
Hop on over to my Etsy site HERE to purchase.  
If you are local you can e-mail me for an order as well.



Dawn said...

I am inspried! My daughter and I have always wanted to learn how to do this! Thank you!

Paula said...

I want to try this! Thanks for the recipe! I am wondering if you have ever used lard instead of crisco?

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