Introduction to Soap Making – Day 4

Today I want to make soaps with Palm Kernel Oil and Palm Oil. These oils are both used extensively in luxury soaps and are friendly to the pocket book of soapers. Have you ever made soap with either of these oils? What do you think about them? Do you want to try them? 

Palm Kernel Oil is our foundation oil for today’s soap. Palm Kernel Oil makes an almost brittle, white bar. Palm Kernel Oil makes an excellent base for soaps that are high in oils that makes soft bars. Palm Kernel Oil is also a lathering machine just like Coconut Oil.

Palm Oil is what is often referred to as Vegetable Tallow. Palm Oil makes a firm, pale straw-yellow soap. It contributes minimal lather.

Today there is a lot of concern with sustainability with Palm Oil. So much so that the soaping industry has changed some what. However, don’t forget, palm is very good at what it does. I will talk about sustainability of palm in another post so stay tuned! Palm is a stable oil that makes a hard bar. It can have some problems with fractionation but treating it correctly makes a huge difference. Read about how to deal with fractionated Palm Oil here. Proper treatment of Palm Oil greatly reduces one of the most common problems associated with it, DOS.

Are you ready? Let’s go make some soap. Don’t forget, if you have any questions, let us know and we will do our best to answer them!

 

Ingredients
Palm Kernel Oil
Palm Oil
Olive Oil
Shea Butter
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Palm Kernel Oil
142 grams Palm Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
29 grams Shea Butter
64 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Palm Kernel Oil
5 oz Palm Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
2.25 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Palm Kernel Oil
31.25% Palm Oil
25% Olive Oil
6.25% Shea Butter
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

Weigh the oils into a microwave safe container. Place into the microwave and heat. While the oils are heating, weigh the lye. Slowly add the lye to your container of water. DO NOT add water to your container of lye. The two chemicals reacting can cause a dangerous volcano. It is best to create good safety habits before you make a batch of soap that is 20 lbs in size.

For most soaps, you will want to mix your oils and lye solution when both are somewhere between 110°F to 130°F. In the winter when your soaping area is cooler, you will want to soap at higher temperatures. In the summer when your soaping area is warmer, you will want to soap at cooler temperatures. For this soap, my oils were 126° F and my lye solution was 118°F.

When your lye solution and oils are within the ideal temperature range, slowly pour the lye solution into the oils. Using either an immersion or a soap spoon, mix until you reach trace. Trace is when the raw soap has been mixed enough that oil will no longer rise to the surface when mixing is stopped. If you aren’t sure if you have achieve trace then stop mixing, go get a glass, fill it with water, do not drink it. Come back to your soap. Is oil floating on the surface?

Once trace is reached, you can pour the soap into a mold. Allow the soap to sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. After the soap has been allowed to sit for up to 24 hours, you can unmold the soap and cut it. Arrange the cut bars of soap in an area where there is good air flow but they will not be in the way. I like to put them on a sheet of cardboard. You are now ready for the curing process. The curing process is just allow the soap to dry out, giving you a nice hard bar. You can use your soap immediately after cutting but it will not last as long as a fully cured bar.
Taylor

Finished Soap
Finished Soap
Removing Soap from Mold
Removing Soap from Mold
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Making Lye Solution
Making Lye Solution
Adding Lye Solution to Melted Oils
Adding Lye Solution to Melted Oils
Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap
Mixed Soap
Mixed Soap

Soap in Mold
Soap in Mold
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4 thoughts on “Introduction to Soap Making – Day 4”

  1. Yikes, now I’m really confused! I need a recipe that moves SLOWLY to trace! I want to make them special, for wedding favors, which recipe should I use??

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    1. Why do you want slow to trace? What is happening in your regular batches that is making you feel like your soap is fast to trace?

      As a soapmaker, I am a little concerned. Fast trace isn’t something you need to get used to for every batch. If you are feeling like your soap is fast to trace, we have a problem. I really want this hobby to be enjoyable to you and if you feel you are having fast trace, it isn’t as fun as it could be. There could be a couple of things that could going on. We could be having a formulation issue, an additive issue or a technique issue.

      Can you tell me what it is you are doing and seeing when you make your soap?

      Best,
      Taylor

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  2. If Palm Kernel is similar to Coconut oil shouldn’t the recipe have been 6 oz Palm and 5 oz Palm Kernel?

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    1. Terry, good point. Sometimes we mix things up to get extra lather. In this case we did a ‘no coconut’ soap.

      Tina

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