Category Archives: Soap

Ginger and Silk Soap

Finished Soap
Finished Soap

When I came back from China, I brought back a wealth of knowledge and experiences really have changed my perspective on life, lifestyles, culture and food. People ask about my adventures abroad but there is so much to tell, I hardly know where to begin!

I often start with the food. Grocery shopping in China is a very different experience. Certainly there are markets similar to ours however those are only large chains like Walmart. Your small local markets are an entirely different undertaking.

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Eggs, spices and fruit are piled in high, precarious mounds for close inspection. The butcher processes your meat right in front of you so as to prove or guarantee freshness. Down the way is a stall for all types of soy and tofu products. It is common to have warm tofu right out of the press.

As you choose your groceries for the day, you can hear the rhythmic slap, slap of fresh noodles being stretched. Steamers hiss as lids are lifted to reveal dumplings and filled buns. Shopping for groceries is a mouth-watering adventure.

Lye Solution
Lye Solution

I was particularly fond of shopping for spices. Vendors will scoop up Sichuan peppercorns, Chinese star anise, peppers, cumin and more for you to smell or even taste. For me the chore of shopping for spices was like I had died and gone to heaven. One thing that did surprise me was ginger. It was fresh, firm and fragrant. It also seemed to be in almost every dish. The bold flavor has stuck with me. Today I wanted to make a soap using two items that very important to the Chinese. Silk and ginger.  Come join me as we visit China by way of our soap pots!

Measuring Silk Powder
Measuring Silk Powder

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Start to finish: Less than 45 minutes*

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Olive Oil
Water
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Ginger Powder, Dry
Silk Powder
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Coconut Oil
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
177 mL Water
65 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
1 tsp Ginger Powder, Dry
1 tsp Silk Powder
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Coconut Oil
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
6 fl oz Water
2.31 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
1 tsp Ginger Powder, Dry
1 tsp Silk Powder
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Coconut Oil
37.5% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
25% Olive Oil
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Ginger Powder, Dry
Q.S. Silk Powder

 

Adding Silk Powder to Lye Solution
Adding Silk Powder to Lye Solution

Weigh all of the oils into a microwave safe container. Heat gently until liquid. While the oils are heating, measure and add the lye to the water to for a lye solution. Never add your water to your lye. This can cause a dangerous volcano. Safety first! Allow the oil and lye solutions to cool to about 115ºF. This recipe has some materials that can accelerate trace. Lower temperatures help prevent this batch from running away on you.

Oil and Lye Solution
Oil and Lye Solution

Mix the oils and lye solution and blend until a light trace is achieved. Add the clay and essential oil and mix well. Pour into a molds and allow to sit for 24 hours. Cut the soap. Allow the soap to cure. If you need help keeping track of your cure times, try our fabulous cure cards. We can even include them into qualifying orders for free! Enjoy your soap!
Taylor

 

Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Adding Lye Solution to Oils

 

 

 

 

 

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

 

 

 

 

 

Adding Ginger Powder to Soap
Adding Ginger Powder to Soap

 

 

 

 

 

Pouring Soap into Mold
Pouring Soap into Mold

 

 

 

 

 

Soap in Mold
Soap in Mold
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Megan’s Pumpkin Soap

Finished Soap
Finished Soap

Yesterday I gave a small preview for today’s soap. I talked about how I had a hard time getting my soap out of the mold. I still can’t get it out of the mold and it is annoying me to no end! So much for greasing it with mineral oil. This soap was inspired by Megan, who was such a help in the blog kitchen. Megan, here is to you.

Mixing the soap
Mixing the soap

It isn’t very often when I am blessed by a helper in the kitchen. Megan came to the blog kitchen last Friday to help me organize the kitchen and my thoughts. She was a fantastic help. Once we had finished my unfinished projects and cleaning the kitchen, we sat down and talked about all the different things we did. Megan asked if we could make a pumpkin soap in the round PVC mold that had been discovered on a neglected shelf earlier that day. Well, after all of that cleaning, I couldn’t resist having some fun! Come join us for a fabulous soap just in time for Halloween!

Adding Fragrance Oil and Annatto Seed Powder
Adding Fragrance Oil and Annatto Seed Powder

We chose to use Annatto Seed Powder, Gingerbread & Spice Fragrance Oil and a simple homemade round PVC mold. If you want to learn more on how to make a mold like this for yourself, check out this post. They are simple to make and a lot of fun! (Hint: my mold can hold a 4 lbs batch of soap. For removal sake, it really should hold no more than 3 lbs of soap.)

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Olive Oil
Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
Water
Gingerbread and Spice Fragrance Oil
Annatto Seed Powder
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

 

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
680 grams Coconut Oil
567 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
567 grams Olive Oil
262 grams Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
828 mL Water
31.75 grams Gingerbread and Spice Fragrance Oil
1 Tbl Annatto Seed Powder
Recipe in Ounces
24 oz Coconut Oil
20 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
20 oz Olive Oil
9.24 oz Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
28 oz Water
1.12 oz Gingerbread and Spice Fragrance Oil
1 Tbl Annatto Seed Powder
Recipe in Percentages
37.50% Coconut Oil
31.25% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Olive Oil
Q.S. Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Gingerbread and Spice Fragrance Oil
Q.S. Annatto Seed Powder

 

This is how the soap should look.
This is how the soap should look.

Weigh all of the oils into a microwave safe container. Heat gently until they are completely melted. While your oils are melting, weigh out your lye and add it to your water. Never add water to your lye. You are more likely to have splashing or even a volcano to occur. Safety first! When your lye solution and oils are around 120ºF, add the lye solution to your oils. Mix until you reach a light trace. Your soap should be very fluid. Add the Anatto Seed Powder and Gingerbread and Spice Fragrance Oil.

Guess what I won't using anytime this decade?
Guess what I still can’t get out of the mold?

Mix so they are well distributed. (I prefer to hand stir at this point.) Pour your soap into your mold. If you are using a PVC pipe, I recommend coating the inside with a non-saponifiable oil. Things like Vaseline or mineral oil work well here. Allow the soap to sit for 24 hours. Remove the soap from the mold and cut. Allow the soap to cure. Once cured, package, label and enjoy!
Taylor

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

A Learning Lesson with Molds

Guess what I won't using anytime this decade?
Guess what I won’t using anytime this decade?

Halloween in bearing down upon us and I thought I would have a great blog this morning of a cute pumpkin inspired soap done in my PVC mold. After having the plunger pounded on, pushed on and almost pulverized, I discovered something I wish I had known earlier. It generally isn’t a good idea to pour more that 10 – 12 inches of soap into PVC tubes. In molds, soap can act like an octopus. It can glom on so tight to the mold that you think it is never going to come out! Cylinder molds are the worst because there is so much surface area of the soap in contact with the mold.

I was told by our experts in technical support that I could be waiting so long for it dehydrate enough for it to release it might as well be 30 YEARS! Let’s just say I am a little distraught. I don’t want to wait 30 years. I don’t want to wait another week! I want my soap now! The unfortunate part is that the only thing I can do is wait. I will have to wait for the soap to dehydrate enough for me to be able to push the soap out. Grr. This really sucks!

So, today I learned two really important things. First, do not pour more than 10-12 inches of soap into a PVC tube mold. Particularly a cylindrical one. Second, do not put projects so close to the due date that if something goes wrong you are left without the finished product. Planning ahead is important. Soap is one item that can only be rushed so much. If you are this close to a holiday, choose a smaller project. There are scrubs, bath salts, bath fizzies, lip balms and lotions galore!

Darn. Talk about a rough morning. It has left me frustrated and disappointed. Tomorrow, I will be sharing the recipe for this fabulous soap but I think I will try it in a different mold. At least until I can reclaim my PVC one. I promise to announce when I finally get this soap out. Then we can determine if it really takes 30 years. ;-)
Taylor

 

P.S. I will also be making a label to put on my mold so I don’t forget! If you have molds like this, make labels that remind you how much they should hold. Remember what your mold can hold and what it should hold are sometimes very different numbers.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Soap in Sheep’s clothing – Making Felted Soaps

Finished Felted Soaps
Finished Felted Soaps

There is nothing more amazing or spectacular than using a bar of homemade soap. So how do we make the experience of using handmade soap all that much more fun? We put it in sheep’s clothing of course! Today I will be sharing with you how to make felted soaps.

 

Fanning out the roving
Fanning out the roving

To begin we will need some bars of soap, wool roving and a bucket of hot water. This is a great place to use bars that may be a test batch or are even cosmetically challenged. If you need a place to find roving, check at your local yarn store.

Take about 2 feet of roving and fan it out so it appears lacy. Wrap your soap firmly until

Wrapping the soap in roving
Wrapping the soap in roving

you can no longer see the bar. Dunk the bar into your bucket of hot water and agitate the roving. Use small motions so the roving stays in place. Continue to agitate until the roving is a firm dense mass around the soap. The roving should not be able to move freely. If you are having a hard time, replace your water for something hotter and just keep agitating. Also the cooler your water, the longer it will take to felt. Keep it as hot as you can stand and it will work beautifully.

Wrapping the soap in roving
Wrapping the soap in roving

Once your roving has felted around your soap, pat them dry with a paper towel then set them out to dry. I really like to put them on a cookie rack or a wire shelf where they can dry out more completely. Repeat with your remaining soaps.

This project is a lot of fun because there is so much you can do. You can use colored

Wrapping my soap
Wrapping my soap

roving, you can hide cosmetically challenged bars and simplify using soap because it has a built in foam builder that shrinks with your bar! This is even a great project for those who will be traveling but don’t want to carry around a wash cloth with them!

What other great reasons can you think of for using and making felted soaps? I want to hear!

Ready to dunk my soap
Ready to dunk my soap

Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

Felting the wool
Felting the wool

 

 

 

 

 

Felting the wool
Felting the wool

 

 

 

 

 

Bubbles!
Bubbles!

 

 

 

 

 

Finished felted soap
Finished felted soap
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Cluck, cluck! Egg Soap Anyone?

I haven’t even sent samples of this soap down to the shipping department and I can already hear the cries of intrigue, revulsion and curiosity about today’s project. Eggs? In soap? Why would ANYONE be so crazy as to want to add an egg to the soap?!

 

Well, adding eggs to soap may or may not be crazy but allow me to explain the reasoning behind this. Eggs are a combination of water, fat and protein. This means egg soaps are a bit like a lanolin soap. Very luxurious and gentle feeling. One thing I hear frequently about lanolin soaps it that people feel like there is no need to add lotion to their skin afterward! I heard this about egg soaps too! Don’t believe me? Request a sample of this soap in your next order!

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Olive Oil
Large Chicken Egg
Water
Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Coconut Oil
142 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Olive Oil
1 large Chicken Egg
178 mL Water
65.5 grams Lye
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Olive Oil
1 large Chicken Egg
6 oz Water
2.31 oz Lye
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Coconut Oil
31.25% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Olive Oil
Q.S. Chicken Egg(s)
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Lye

 

Weigh all of your oils save for 1 oz of Olive Oil to be held in reserve. Heat those oil gently until liquid. Mix your lye and water together creating your lye solution. Allow both mixtures to cool. It is imperative that you soap at a lower temperature when using eggs. They are a temperature sensitive ingredient. (We don’t want partially cooked egg strands in our soap!) In the mean time, mix the egg with the 1 oz of reserved Olive Oil. Mix well until they are cohesive.

Once your lye solution and oils are to about 110º to 120ºF in temperature, mix the two together. When a light trace has been achieved, add your egg mixture. Mix well. Pour your soap into a mold and allow to sit for at least 24 hours. Cut your soap into bars and allow to cure. (Not sure if your soap is fully cured? Get these cool cure cards in your next order for free!)

Notes: I cut my egg soap two days after making. Let’s just say that as excited as I was about this soap, I got a little distracted by my job. Hmn… I wonder how that happened? ;-) Once I finally cut my soap, I was surprised at the soft green of the center of my soap. There also was faint odor. It smelled… well… slightly eggy. 15 minutes after cutting the soap, I went back to smell it so as to better describe it to you. I was surprised at how much the odor had dissipated. So if you are worried about that smell sticking around, it won’t. I will be sending 20 samples to the shipping department so if you want one, tell us in the comments field on your next order! I am reserving the two bars shown in the photos so we can talk about color changes when the soap is fully cured.

 
Taylor

Finished Soap
Finished Soap
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Weighing 1 oz Olive Oil
Weighing 1 oz Olive Oil
Adding 1 egg
Adding 1 egg
Ready to make soap
Ready to make soap
Mixing Egg and Olive Oil
Mixing Egg and Olive Oil
Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap
Soap at light trace
Soap at light trace
Adding egg mixture
Adding egg mixture
Pouring soap into mold
Pouring soap into mold

Finished soap in mold
Finished soap in mold
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Rosemary Oleoresin 2% and 5% in soap

About two weeks ago, I announced that Rosemary 2% and 5% both have saponification values. I must admit, I was rather startled how high those saponification values were. If you missed the post, read up on it here!

Today I wanted to make two soaps comparing the Rosemary Oleoresin 2% and Rosemary Oleoresin 5%. I wanted to know if the difference between the saponification values would make a noticeable difference in finished soap. Come join me to try these two soaps!
Collect Needed Materials:

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Olive Oil
Rosemary Extract
Water
Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
Equipment
Scale
Spoon
Soap Bucket
Pipettes
Mold

 

Batch 1:

Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Olive Oil
0.5 oz Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
6 fl oz Water
2.31 oz Lye
Recipe in Grams
170 grams Coconut Oil
142 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Olive Oil
14 grams Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
178 mL Water
65.5 grams Lye
Recipe in Percentages
37% Coconut Oil
31% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31% Olive Oil
3% Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Lye

 

Batch 2:

Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Olive Oil
0.5 oz Rosemary Oleoresin 5%
6 fl oz Water
2.31 oz Lye
Recipe in Grams
170 grams Coconut Oil
142 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Olive Oil
14 grams Rosemary Oleoresin 5%
178 mL Water
65.5 grams Lye
Recipe in Percentages
37% Coconut Oil
31% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31% Olive Oil
3% Rosemary Oleoresin 5%
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Lye

 

Weigh all of the oils of Batch 1 into a microwave safe container. Heat gently until liquid. Add the lye to the water to for a lye solution. Allow the oil and lye solutions to cool. This recipe has some material that can accelerate trace. Cooler temperatures are better. Mix the oils and lye solution and blend until a light trace is achieved. Pour into a molds and allow to sit for 24 hours. Repeat the process with Batch 2.

After 24 hours cut the soap. Allow the soap to cure. Longer curing time will result in a harder bar. (If you aren’t sure if your soap is fully cured, check out this post. It helps make sense of a confusing topic.) Test your soaps and write down your notes. Which did you like more? Why? Would you ever make these again? Enjoy!

 

Notes: I washed each hand with each soap. My right hand used the 5% soap and my left hand used the 2% soap. After patting my hands dry, I was surprised that I could tell a difference between the soaps. The soap with the Rosemary Oleoresin 2% had a lighter feel. My left hand felt clean, smooth and normal. My right hand felt clean, velvety and like I had just rubbed in a tiny amount of Dimethicone into my skin. I definitely like the soap with the Rosemary Oleoresin 5% more. It left my skin soft and velvety without a heavy feeling residue.

I will be sending out 27 samples containing both soaps for you to try. Request one in your next order! I want to hear which one you like best.
Taylor

Rosemary Oleoresin Soaps 2% is on the right and 5% is on left.
Rosemary Oleoresin Soaps
2% is on the right and 5% is on left.
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 2
Weighing Batch 2
Weighing Batch 2
Weighing Batch 2
Adding Lye Solution to Batch 1
Adding Lye Solution to Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Pouring Batch 1 into mold
Pouring Batch 1 into mold
Batch 1 in the mold
Batch 1 in the mold
Ready to mix Batch 2
Ready to mix Batch 2
Mixing Batch 2
Mixing Batch 2
Pouring Batch 2 into the mold
Pouring Batch 2 into the mold
Watching Batch 2 change colors
Watching Batch 2 change colors
Watching Batch 2 change colors
Watching Batch 2 change colors
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Caramel Apple Cold Process Soap

Finished bars of soap after being cut.
Finished bars of soap after being cut.
I remember being a teen and having braces. While they were uncomfortable to wear, I remember helping my mom make batches of soft, melt-in-your-mouth caramel that I could eat without damaging my braces. One time, we made a mistake and ended up with a fantastic caramel sauce that was delicious drizzled over apple slices. We still make the caramel sauce to this day and it is always enjoyed!

The release of our new Green Apple and Caramel Toffee flavors had me thinking about the caramels that we used to make and how I loved to pair the caramel sauce with apples. Since I’ve made a Caramel Apple Lip balm, I have to make a soap that is complementary. Come with me and we’ll make a great batch of Caramel Apple Soap!

Continue reading

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Fragrance Testing in Cold Process Soap: Emmett, Osmanthus, Cucumbers & Melons and Frosted Cupcake

I have more photos for our Fragrance Testing Series! While these tests are a good indicator of how these fragrances will behave, this does not eliminate the need for you to test each fragrance with your own particular formulas.

Emmett scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Emmett scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Our first fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Emmett. According to our catalog, Emmett is a “very masculine scent of bay, rum, lime, mahogany, amber, vanilla and bergamot.” Emmett is a smooth and clean scent that makes me think of mountain air . This masculine combination of wood and citrus makes Elements of Bamboo bring peace, tranquility and balance to mind.

There was very slight discoloration of note, a light tan color. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.


Our second fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Osmanthus. According to our catalog, Osmanthus is “sensual, fresh, fruit and herbaceous and wonderfully calming. I think it is the best ever! It can be a personal signature scent so easily.” Osmanthus is a charming fragrance and is one of our most popular scents when we have personal projects that we need to find a scent that almost everybody will like. This fragrance is incredibly true to the fresh Osmanthus trees that I got to smell at the Summer Palace in Beijing!

There was not any discoloration of note and this means you can make any swirl you have always been dreaming of without worrying about the fragrance causing discoloration. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.

Osmanthus scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Osmanthus scented soap on the left and control on the right.

Cucumbers & Melons scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Cucumbers & Melons scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Our third fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Cucumbers & Melons. According to our catalog, Cucumbers & Melons is “A perfect blend on melons and cucumber with incredible results in cold process soap!” I find Cucumbers & Melons to be … indescribably refreshing. I know the scent is a combination of melons with cucumbers, but this fragrance always makes me smile and feel like I can tackle my day head on!

There was not any discoloration of note and this means you can make a green and yellow swirl without worrying about the fragrance causing discoloration. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.


Our fourth fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Frosted Cupcakes. According to our catalog, Frosted Cupcakes is a “blend of sugar, cinnamon, caramel and pecans. Imagine a German chocolate cake (without the cake) in a graham cracker crust. That caramel scent seems like home-baked fun.” This fragrance is one of my favorites! I love using it in room sprays and salt potpourri because it makes the kitchen smell like I’ve been slaving away over dessert when in reality, it only took me a few minutes to pull something from the freezer and pop it in the oven!

There is a moderate amount of discoloration of note, a very nice shade of soft brown hues. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.

Frosted Cupcakes scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Frosted Cupcakes scented soap on the left and control on the right.

Here are the details about our test batches before we added any fragrances!

Ingredients
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Shea Butter
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Immersion Blender
Soap Mold

Recipe:

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

Our temperatures for lye and oils are between 125°F and 130°F.. We make our soap with a 6% superfat. All of the batches we make are mixed to light trace and then the fragrance is added. After the fragrance is added we mix until the fragrance is incorporated and then we pour into the mold.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Soap & Sage Leaves: Cold Process Soap with an Oil Infusion

Sage is one of my favorite herbs. Now, I might be a little biased due to our name, but I love the scent of sun kissed sage in the afternoon. The warm, herbal scent is comforting to me. It doesn’t bring much of the way in food memories to mind, since I primarily grow the plant just for the looks rather than culinary uses.

As I can’t go anywhere without thinking what would be fun to use in soap, I decided to harvest some of the sage leaves and dry them for use in soap. I collected the leaves I wanted and then dried them on a cooling rack used for baking. It didn’t take much time for the sage leaves to dry in our arid Utah climate! After the sage had dried, I had a brown lunch bag filled with dried leaves.I decided to divide the amount into three groups so I could make three different soaps.

Join me today as I make my first batch of cold process soap with dried sage leaves and an oil infusion!

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Shea Butter
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Dried Sage Leaves
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Immersion Blender
Soap Mold

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
29 grams Shea Butter
64 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
7.1 grams dried sage leaves
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
2.26 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
0.25 oz dried sage leaves
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Coconut Oil
25% Olive Oil
6.25% Shea Butter
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Dried Sage Leaves

I began by weighing the oils into a microwave safe container. Then I placed into the microwave and gently heated. Once all the oils had been melted, I added the dry sage leaves to the oil. I let the leaves and oil sit for about 24 hours. When I came back the next day, the oil had solidified so I placed the container back in the microwave to melt the oil again.

While the oils were heating again, I weighed the lye. I slowly added the lye to a container of water I had measured out before melting the oils again. DO NOT add water to your container of lye.

Once the oil had been melted completely, I removed the sage leaves. The leaves were still relatively dry, despite sitting the oil for 24 hours. I suspect this is due to the fact that the oils had cooled and solidified. The weight of my oils changed by 0.08 of an ounce (2.27 grams), so I left my calculated lye amount as I had originally calculated. That being said, I won’t be doing that again! Next time, I will place my dried botanicals in a single oil (preferably liquid at room temperature) and then weigh out the needed amount of oil.

Once my lye solution and oils were within an ideal temperature range*, I slowly poured the lye solution into the oils. I used an immersion blender to mix the oils and lye solution together until I reached trace. After I achieved trace, I poured the soap into the mold and allowed the soap to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

I came back after 24 hours and cut the soap into bars. Then I placed the cut bars of soap on a piece of cardboard and arranged them to allow for good air flow between bars. I placed the bars on my curing shelf and made a note of their starting weight. As the curing process is the time that allows for any excess water to evaporate, soap cures fairly quickly in our dry climate.

Soap Notes: As I was mixing the soap, it had a slight pinkish hue. That pinkish hue did disappear while the soap was going through the gel phase and the final bar had a nice creamy color.

*Temperature Note: 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. This particular batch had temperatures around 120°F.

I had so much fun making this soap! Stop by tomorrow and we’ll try another batch with sage leaves!

Andee

Our sage is blooming!
Our sage is blooming!
Dried sage leaves.
Dried sage leaves.
The dried sage leaves sitting in the soap oils.
The dried sage leaves sitting in the soap oils.
Melted oils after removing the sage.
Melted oils after removing the sage.
Adding the lye solution to the oils.
Adding the lye solution to the oils.
Mixing the oils and lye solution together.
Mixing the oils and lye solution together.

Soap after being poured into the mold.
Soap after being poured into the mold.
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Soapmakers: Thoughts on calculating water or using discounts

Clean WaterDear Soapmakers,

Recently I have become aware of some difficulties soap makers are having while trying to figure their water needs. Let me try to help clear the air (water?) here.

1) Water is needed in your soap making process. This is not an ingredient that needs to be weighed to 1/100th of an ounce accuracy. Any excess water will evaporate so only worry about non-variable ingredients when you spend time weighing.

2) Always base your water needs on the amount of fat and never the amount of lye. Recent comments to me indicate that some people are teaching to use an amount of water that is double the amount of the lye needed. Let’s cover two examples:
a batch of soap that is 16 ounces of oils, the lye calculation needs 3.68 ounces, water would then be 7.36 ounces
second batch of soap that is 16 ounces of oils, the lye calculation needs 1.55 ounces, water would then be 3.10 ounces.

For the first batch in this example 7.36 ounces of water is quite fluid yet still workable. It will take longer for the soap to cure because the extra water must evaporate. Trace may be slow to come because of the excess water.

The second batch has too little water, trace will happen very quickly, it will be difficult to color or scent because the soap progresses too fast. Both batches are the same size, 16 ounces of fat. The first batch will likely be 22 to 23 ounces of finished soap, the second batch will likely be 20 to 21 ounces of finished soap.

How to correctly calculate the amount of water needed for each batch:

Calculate the amount of fat you are using. Multiply this amount by 32 to 42%. If you live where: the air is so dry your sheets crunch when you crawl into bed, daily reports of how low the relative humidity is in your region appear on the evening news, without supplemented water your lawn will be brown for 11 months of the year then you know you need closer to the 42%. This is about to 6.75 fluid ounces per lb of fats. If you can’t remember when the last dry day happened, mold is a constant problem, moss grows on every roof top in your city, and everyone uses the term muggy or damp on a daily basis, or if you own and use a rain coat/slicker regularly – you should use closer to 32% which is about to 5 fl oz per lb of fats. You may have needs to use more or less water than these amounts but at least you are now calculating for your needs instead of aiming for moving, unreliable target.

Think I might have missed the mark? If so, then why do we use different amounts of scenting oils when we make peppermint soap vs vanilla soap? Different needs require different amounts. Use what you need, not what is excessive or too little.

Need help with your recipes? Just comment on this blog and I will help walk you through the math.

Cheers!
Tina

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)