There's something so satisfying about making a new batch of our soaps, it may perhaps seem a little strange to those who aren't quite as adept in the kitchen though.
Today we've been busy making batches of soap to be cut into the smaller trial sized bars - they do make great little gifts to put in with other things for birthdays, anniversaries, or perhaps wedding favours?
One of the first things to do is to make sure that we have enough ingredients to complete each batch - and then its to get everything to hand so that you can use them when needed, it's helpful to prepare the mould(s). Then its time to kit up so to speak, putting on gloves, a long sleeved shirt, apron, goggles and mask, it's also handy to have long hair tied up too.
Making soap using traditional methods isn't hard to do, you just need to understand the ingredients you are using, how they are interact with each other as well as their own little quirks.
The ingredients used in the most part tend to be oils such as Palm, Coconut (which are hard fats) and others like Avocado, Olive and Soybean (known as 'soft oils'). Water and sodium hydroxide are also key components (they make lye which turns the fatty acids from fats into salts during curing)
It's easier to understand the process if you break it down into stages.
At the start you weigh the ingredients carefully (best to do this individually), trickle the caustic soda into the water (milk has to be frozen to stop it curdling, clay is also best added to the water to stop it forming dry clumps in the soap). This is the time to heat the fats together in a separate pot.
Keeping an eye on the temperatures, the lye can be added to the fats at roughly 120F mixing them together until the soap reaches the consistency of slightly thick yet runny custard. The little extras such as essential oils, oatmeal, etc... can now be added, mixing a little more.
The soap can now be poured slowly into the prepared moulds, covered to retain the heat to start the curing process. The soap can be turned out of the moulds after a full day has passed (we generally keep them in for 2 days), then we cut them into bars to cure for a further 6 weeks (some folks use them after 4 though).
The majority of today's batches are to be donated to Elgin Football Club's Ladies Day this April, the rest of them are for you to enjoy!
The batches made today are: Honey & Lemon, Patchouli & Lemongrass, Goat's Milk, Bergamot & Patchouli and Honey & Oatmeal...I wonder what the ladies would like best?
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