How to make it

  • About soap making
  • If you have never made soap before, I would advise reading around the net on several soap making sites to get a good handle on the process. Things like how saponification works, cold and hot process, super fatting and lye ratios.
  • Now don't switch off just yet!!
  • Read a site or two and these terms will become clearer. Make a batch of soap and they will make even more sense. It wasn't until I had made a batch of soap that some of these ideas ment anything to me at all. You don't need to know all the details to make a batch of soap. It does help to understand the process if you want to modify the recipes or make up your own.
  • Safety
  • One thing you will need to be clear on is how to make soap safely. Caustic soda (NaOH) is used in the process and you must be very careful with it in all its forms until the soap is cured or ready to use. Wear safety goggles, gloves and long sleeves when working with the caustic soda. And make sure that children or animals are not under your feet during this time too. Work in a ventilated area (outside or under a rangehood/extractor fan) when first making the lye liquid. It gives off some nasty gas, which is not good to inhale.
  • Basic How To - cold process method
  • 1. Prepare the fats and oils.
  • Measure out all the fats and oils into a saucepan.
  • Heat until all are liquid.
  • Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • 2. Prepare the lye liquid.
  • Steep rosemary and mint sprigs in boiling water.
  • Measure out the caustic soda into a dry container.
  • Measure out the steeped liquid into a glass heat proof jug.
  • Pour the caustic soda into the liquid (NEVER LIQUID INTO CAUSTIC SODA)
  • Stir until disolved. (This will heat up lots and give off a nasty gas. Work in an appropriately ventilated space)
  • Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • 3. Prepare mixing equipment and moulds.
  • Select a bowl (about 4lt capacity) and stiring utensil.
  • Grease two 1lt UHT milk or juice cartons.
  • 4. Make soap.
  • Pour the oil mixture into the bowl.
  • Pour the lye liquid into the oil.
  • Stir together.
  • Use stick mixer (immersion blender) to mix.
  • Mix until trace is achieved.
  • (Trace looks like thick custard)
  • Pour into moulds.
  • (Still be careful with the mixture. It is not soap yet.)
  • Leave overnight or until the soap is set.
  • Un-mould and slice into 1" thick slices.
  • Leave to cure for about 4-6 weeks, in a ventilated spot, for the saponification process to fully work.
  • I leave mine on a cake cooler or on folded tea towels in a cardboard box or linen cupboard.

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