Donna submitted her milk soaps for our Milk Soap Challenge. Here is her perspective on the process of making milk soap.
I did the usual measuring out of the lye & water. I can’t be sure, but I think the lower volume of water made it heat up more. At least, I can only assume that’s the reason that the glass jug I’ve been using for 8 months to hold my lye/water solution broke off cleanly at the
bottom when I submerged it into the water bath. Crap. Well, at least it broke in the sink and not all over my counter. At worst, my sink will drain a little more clearly. Lye all over my kitchen is NOT something I want to think about.
So, I switched to a pyrex measuring cup instead. This worked fine. Phew. Left that sitting in the water bath while I went on to measure & mix the rest of my oils.
The shea butter & cocoa butter were already measured out, because I needed to see how much I had left so I could run that through my lye calculator first. I added the rest of my oils, and measured out the coconut milk and set it aside. Heated the oils, cooled the lye until
everything was about 120F (Yes, I measure my oils in g, and my temperature in F — “120″ is a bit more exact than “50″ so being a degree or two off is less of a big deal.)
Got my stick blender out, and started stirring the lye solution into my oils. Blended in very short bursts — I’ve discovered before that a low-water soap can go from “untraced” to “seized in the pot” SUPER fast, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to end up with a solid lump again. Huge pain in the butt. When I guessed it was roughly halfway to tracing, I added in the room temperature coconut milk, stirred a bit more to get everything fully blended, added in my essential oil (lemongrass — yummy!) and grabbed my prepared mold.
It was starting to trace super fast at that point, so I started lumping it into the mold as fast as I could. I usually make round soaps, using a lined PVC pipe, so the more firmly traced it is, the harder it is to get it into the mold. By the time I was finished molding it up, it was roughly the consistency of playdough, which is ridiculously hard to work with, especially with a narrow mold. Upon reflection, I probably should have grabbed one of my flat pan molds, but I really like my round soaps. Here’s hoping there aren’t any major air holes in there — I pushed at it a lot with my spatula to try to shove it down. Next time, I think I’ll add the essential oil at the
same time as the milk so I can avoid extra stirring.
I had a bit more than fit into my single round mold, so I grabbed one of the washed, clean milk cartons I save for exactly this purpose. They’re neat, they make perfectly square soaps.
So, everything is in the molds, and I’m leaving them uninsulated because… well, it’s a milk soap, and I’m told those heat up a ton. They’re sitting out in my pantry right now, and I’m looking forward to unmolding them on Wednesday.
I unmolded my coconut milk soaps, and hooray, they seem to have turned out! Will wait a few weeks to really try them, but washing the residue off my hands sudded up quite nicely and left my hands nice and soft, so I think it’s going to be pretty good stuff.
As expected, there are a few “gaps” where there were air pockets. Next time, I have to work on getting it into the molds faster, it’s difficult to work with a long narrow mold when you’re at a super thick trace.
Color: Not much different from my normal soaps, maybe a tinge more yellow… although that’s probably from the lemongrass, which has some minor discoloring effects. Next batch I do (I still have another 200g of coconut milk) I will probably try to color a bit. We’ll see.
I scented these a lot stronger than I usually do, and my kitchen smells very strongly of lemongrass. I am totally okay with this, because lemongrass is awesome.
And there we have it. I’m super pleased with it, and definitely plan on making more. I really like the half and half method, it works like a charm (even if I did manage to break a jug trying it!) 🙂
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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