Sunday, 19 December 2010

Orange Poppy Seed and Oat Bran Soap

My fourth batch of soap ... and another recipe to try. I'm learning heaps from a forum called 'The Soap Makers' forum and have learned about 'soap calculators' ... places you can enter the quantities of oils you're planning to use and it will tell you how much lye and how much water you need for those oils.

This time I thought about a soap for hands ... with poppy seeds to exfoliate and oat bran to soothe. I've read that orange essential oil won't last due to it being a 'top note' oil, so I used patchouli essential oil to 'anchor' it.

I also mixed about a 1/2 cup of the soap mix with some turmeric to get a golden orange colour. I then mixed this into the top 1/4 of the soaps when they were in the moulds. The colour looks like it might fade, but it was fun trying something different and I like how it looks.

Peppermint with Ground Pumice Soap

For my third batch I used a different combination of oils and this time added a french green clay ... for a hint of colour and it's good for your skin. I used peppermint essential oil and ground pumice stone. I was thinking that this one might be good for Gardener's or for use on dry skin, like around your feet.

I felt much more relaxed making this batch ... think I'm coping better with the 'lye monster'.

The smell is divine ... but I've noted not to use so much essential oil next time!

Cinnamon and Patchouli Soap

I chose to make a second batch, using a slightly different recipe and this time using cinnamon and patchouli essential oils and ground cinnamon to make a swirl ... or to try to make one.

These are the ingredients for this soap.

This soap went to a thick trace much sooner than I expected ... it seemed like it happened after only a few minutes of using the stick blender. I still added the cinnamon and patchouli essential oils. Plus I removed about half a cup of the soap mix and stirred the ground cinnamon into it. Then I returned this to the main mix and stirred it through carefully with some chopsticks. Then put the mix into moulds with a large stainless steel spoon. The mix was too thick to pour in.

24 hours later I unmoulded this soap ... it smelled beautiful, but looks a bit rough.

Next I cut it and decided it doesn't look so bad. Maybe after it's cured for six weeks, it will be an ok batch. Have to remember that cinnamon is not good for people with sensitive skin.

My first batch - Lavender Soap - 27 November 2010

My soap unmould after 24 hours. I sliced the bar from the silicone mould into six pieces.

Up close with the bars of lavender soap

Up close with the muffins of lavender soap

Now I have to wait six weeks to try my first patch! Damn!

Soapmaking Process

Put apron on!
Measured the olive oil in the measuring jug, then into the large saucepan
Measure the coconut oil in the measure jug, then into the large saucepan
Placed the large saucepan on an element, to heat later
Measured the water in a 2 cup pyrex measuring jug

Put gloves on!
These stayed on until after everything was washed up!
Weighed a small glass bowl, then added the lye to this bowl

Took the pyrex measuring jug with the water outside and put it in a cardboard box on my deck
Took the stainless steel mixing spoon and thermometer outside and put them in the cardboard box

Put on my goggles and paper filter face mask!
Carefully carried the glass bowl with the lye outside to my deck and slowly and carefully poured it into the water. You must add the lye to the water, as the reaction of doing it the other way can cause major health risk. Gently stir it with the mixing spoon. I couldn’t smell or feel any fumes, which was a great relief!

NOTE – the lye reacts with the water and will become very hot and fumy, so make sure you and the area around you is protected. Also this is not the time to have children or animals around. Make sure they are safely in bed or inside the house.

I put the thermometer in the lye mixture and it was about 80 C, now you have to wait, until it gets down to 50 C

While waiting I prepared some moulds. I had no idea how many to use, so I had more than I needed, including a mix of plastic, cooking ‘rubbery’ ones, cardboard shoe box, ceramic bowls, glass and pyrex bowls. Also I had wax paper and spray cooking oil.

Next I turned my element on to low to slowly heat the oils

I kept checking on the lye mix to see how the temperature was dropping ... I’ve read that you can cool this down in a sink/bowl of cold water if you need to.

When the temperature of the lye mix was 50 C and the oils 50 C, I added the lye mix to the oils (I had the saucepan with the oils in my sink, ready for this). The colour of the oils became slightly cloudy, but the smell was fine. I think all I could smell was the beautiful coconut oil.

I started to blend with the stick blender. Mix carefully as this mixture remains caustic until the soap has cured. The mixture will be runny to begin with and then slowly it will thicken.

At around the 10 minute mark I recognised that the mixture had thickened and I’m not sure, but it may have already been at ‘trace’.

I added 1 tsp of lavender essential oil and the heads from some lavender flowers

I mixed a little further and I was sure the mixture was now ‘trace’, as I could clearly see ripples on the top and when I removed the blender marks remained on the surface. Plus drops of liquid from the blender left a ‘trace’ on the mixture when they dropped. I suspect my mixture was a little too thick ... but I’m hoping that it will still make great soap.

I now poured this mixture into the moulds I prepared. I had to use a spatula to complete this, due to the mixture being thicker than necessary.

I wrapped the moulds with towels so they won’t cool too quickly and put them on a tray. Now I have to leave them to set ... this is the ‘not so good’ part!

I’ve read to leave the moulds for between 15 hours and a day or two ...

First Batch - Lavender Soap

Here's the protective equipment I used -

Here's the containers and other bits and pieces I need to use -

Here's the moulds I might use ... haven't really decided which ones I'll need, as I have no idea how much soap the recipe will make -

And here's the ingredients for the recipe I'm trialling -

Saturday, 18 December 2010


Four weeks ago I finally found the courage to make my first batch of soap. I'd researched this subject for years and was always a bit scared of the 'lye monster' ... in fact I didn't want to believe that I had to use such a caustic ingredient as potassium hydroxide ... it just seems all wrong to use the main ingredient in drain cleaner when I'm trying to change my lifestyle to be as chemical free as possible.

Finally I did more research and learned about the scientific process that oils and lye go through, and how soap is actually made ... and what happens to that nasty 'lye monster'.

So with that knowledge I got myself the necessary protective equipment ... goggles, paper filter mask, heavy duty gloves and apron ... and made sure all the bits and pieces I wanted to use were either stainless steel, pyrex or plastic ... no other metals.

Then it was about gathering the ingredients, measuring precisely ... making sure the laundry door was shut, so my dog couldn't get outside ... as I decided to mix the water and lye outside ... to keep all 'chemical fall out' away from the inside of my house.

I decided my first soap would be lavender and that I'd keep the mix smallish ... as I really had no idea what would happen.

To be continued ...


Related Posts with Thumbnails