Cold Process Soap: Half and Half Method with Buttermilk

Ready for part 3 of milk cold process soap? We are going to follow the same recipe and steps as the posts before, but we are going to use buttermilk instead.

Again, here are the directions that we will follow in a step by step format.

1) Calculate the amount of lye and liquid needed for the oils you plan to use.

2) Measure all of the oils and set aside to heat gently.

3) Measure the lye and set aside.

4) Measure HALF of the needed liquid as water and set aside. Measure HALF of the needed liquid as milk and set aside. Milk should be room temperature, not frozen or heated.

5) Add ALL of the lye to the water. Stir well. No crystals should remain on the bottom of your mixing vessel. When the temperature of this lye solution is within 110° F to 130° F, (cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, cooler for large batches and warmer for small batches), add it to the oil mixture. Blend with an immersion blender until you estimate you are halfway through the mixing process. This will happen with most oils in about 1 minute. The mixture should NOT be thick or viscous. The mixture should be very fluid, like water.

6) Now steadily pour the milk into the batch. Use the immersion blender to finish the blending so there is no chance of separation.

7) Add fragrance. Pour into prepared SHALLOW molds (1 inch deep or so). Milk soaps can get very hot and shallow molds help the excess heat dump into the air. This will prevent the milk sugars from interrupting the saponification reaction.

This is called the Half and Half Method, because you use half water, half milk, and add the milk half way through the blending of the batch.

Collect needed items:

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Sodium Hydroxide
Soap Spoon
Extra Large Square Tray Mold
Square Tray Mold
Immersion Blender
Time spent:
Weighing time: 8 minutes
Adding lye to water: 15 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of stirring
Heating of oils time: 3 minutes
Pouring lye solution into the fat mixture: 10 seconds
Using immersion blender to mix soap solution: 90 seconds
Adding milk to the batch: 20 seconds
Using immersion blender to completely mix milk into soap: 40 seconds
Pour into molds: 60 seconds
Allow soap to rest: 24 hours
Recipe in ounces:
40 ounces weight Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
20 ounces weight Coconut Oil
20 ounces weight Olive Oil

11.1 ounces Sodium Hydroxide
15 fluid ounces Buttermilk
15 fluid ounces Water

Tomorrow we will make a Soy Milk Soap. We only have Almond Milk left! AND THEN (drum roll, please). I will show you the pictures of ALL the soaps! Which is the whitest? Which turned peach-colored? Which is tan? Go ahead and give me your guesses!

Don’t forget to submit your blog or video posts to win the MMS Perfumer’s Kit. Remember, this kit is worth $280! Submissions are due by March 1st for posts during February.

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Oils ready for the microwave.

Adding lye to the water.
Mixing the lye solution.
Adding the lye solution to the melted oils.
Mixing the batch to halfway to trace.

Adding the milk to the batch.

Beginning to pour the batch into the mold.
Batch at complete trace.

Filling the second mold.
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5 thoughts on “Cold Process Soap: Half and Half Method with Buttermilk”

  1. I am going to try this method-
    I just have one question- do you cover the molds at all or just leave them out?
    I *think* that one would leave them uncovered so as not to make too much heat, but want to make sure :)
    I can’t wait to see the finished soaps- thanks for a great series!!

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    1. No covering. You are on the right path with your thinking. Try to make sure the cat and kids don’t poke at your soap.

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  2. I tried this recipe and it was a disaster lots of oil settled on top, the lye was not enough to saphonify the oils. This recipe just did not work for me. I ran the recipe through a lye calculator and it needed more lye so I made it over and it was ok, will cut it today. I made the buttermilk recipe.

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    1. 11 ounces is approximately 6.8% excess fat. This should be just fine. Separation is a problem with batches that are made too cold and not reaching a true trace before pouring into the mold.

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