|Hello fellow soapers! My name is Kathy and I have volunteered to be a guest writer for my method of Hot Process using a Crock Pot.
16.5 oz Distilled Water (MMS calculator calls for 15 – 22 fluid ounces)
After the cook:
I put all of my safety gear on first then measure out my distilled water and lye solution. Stir until clear. Sit outside with the cover on it. When I make Hot Process, I always use the full amount of liquid called for on the MMS calculator. In this case, I made the decision to use 5.5 oz after the cook. You take a chance when you use less liquid because you’re cooking your soap – so it needs all of the liquid to prevent it from burning or drying out. Think of cooking a pot roast in a crock pot – you need liquid to keep it moist!
I then measure out my hard oils and melt them in a stainless steel pot. Now you’re probably wondering why I don’t use the crock pot to melt my hard oils! Well, let me tell you…I did this one time and it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to melt the hard oils. THEN I had to wait for the crock pot to cool down before proceeding with my solution. Never again! Just use a stainless steel pot for melting the hard oils.
Once my oils are melted, I pour them into the Crock Pot and add the rest of my measured out liquid oils. Give it a good stir. Take your lye solution and pour it slowly into the Crock Pot and stir with a hole spoon. I then use my Stick Blender to bring it to trace. I like a medium to heavy trace for this process. Start time for cooking the soap is 1:50 PM. I’m sorry that I do not have pictures to show you pouring my solution into my oils…only have 2 hands!
For Crock Pot Hot Process, I cook the soap on LOW. If you use the higher setting, it’s going to dry out or worse, burn your soap.
OK, you’re probably wondering – should I stir or leave it alone while it’s cooking! I leave it alone – I do NOT stir my soap unless it’s spitting/spilling over the sides of the Crock Pot. If your soap does start spitting/spilling over the sides of your Crock Pot – first check the temp setting you put it on. If you used HIGH, it’s going to cook too quickly and it will spit/spill over the sides of the Crock Pot. Keep it on LOW and you should be fine. Also, DO NOT REMOVE the lid 😉
See how it looks like it’s drying out around the edges of the Crock Pot? This is normal – leave it alone!
Now it looks like it’s going to start spitting/spilling over the sides of the Crock Pot. Just watch it, don’t remove the lid unless it does start spilling over the sides of the Crock Pot. You can see in the background that my Milk/Water and FO is ready. (The Honey/Water is ready also, just not in the picture)
You can see how the soap on the edges are kind of “folding over” onto itself. This is a really good sign that my soap is almost done!!
At 4:50 PM (3 hours cook time) I removed the inner crock from the pot. Please make sure you use heavy-duty, flat pot holders or a towel folded over 4 times. You don’t want to burn your counter. That inner pot is HOT, so use caution while working with it. I use heavy duty pot holders to hold the sides of the inner pot while stirring it. You will also need a folded over towel for the very hot Crock Pot lid.
The soap should look like Vaseline and mashed potatoes mixed together. I don’t know how to explain it any better than that! Once the soap in your Crock Pot has folded over onto itself – it’s done. I’ve had some recipes that only took 1 ½ hours, some 2 hours – it just depends on your recipe. This one took 3 hours total cook time.
Once you remove the inner crock from the pot, stir it to help cool it down. At this stage, you don’t want it to cool down too much because then you’ll have a very hard time glopping it into your mold. Once it cooled down (use your own judgment – I stirred for 5 minutes here) I then added my water/honey, slushy water/powdered goatsmilk and my FO. Stir Stir Stir!!! I stirred for another 5 minutes. You need to make sure that these ingredients are stirred in very well – or you’re going to end up with pockets of milk, honey or FO – not a good thing!!
Now it’s time to literally “glop” your soap into your mold! You will need a heat-resistant spatula to get it out of the Crock Pot. Do the best you can, I use the spatula to scrape the sides of the Crock Pot also. Waste not!!
You can see that I spent too much time getting the soap into the mold. Some bars are very dry looking – so work quickly getting the soap into your mold! There’s nothing wrong with the dry looking bars, they’re just not aesthetically pleasing.
I do not use thermometers for my Solution or my melted Oils. I have found with Hot Process – it just doesn’t matter! You’re going to be cooking the soap!!
On one batch, I used liquid Goat Milk (from the grocery store) – holy cow! If you do use liquid Goat Milk – make sure you have very good ventilation. The smell of ammonia (which is normal for milk soaps) will overwhelm you. I was getting a horrible headache plus I was gagging the whole time. I only cooked it for 1 hour, then I went ahead and poured it into my mold. It was not done cooking! The next day, I had oil sitting on top of the soap. I threw it away. What I should have done at that point was cut it up, put it back into the Crock Pot, plug it in outside on the patio and let it cook another hour or so. Oh well, live and learn! I do
While the soap is cooking, use the time to clean up your soap table, make notes on your handwritten recipe, read a book, dance – whatever! I use the cooking time to line my mold, get my additives ready, then I clean up my area and make any notes about the batch. Do not leave your Crock Pot unattended – not even for a minute! If you need to leave (bathroom break) get your spouse or teenager to watch it for you until you come back. If you don’t have anyone to watch your Crock Pot – turn it off until you come back. A few minutes is not going to hurt it. Better to be safe than sorry.
You do not need to insulate Hot Process soap. I do use a piece of freezer paper over the mold, but that’s only to keep dust off of my soap. Also, it’s a good idea to use one of those heat-resistant cutting boards to place your mold of soap on – to protect your counter.
I unmold and cut my soap 24 hours after I’ve glopped it into my mold. Hot Process soap is ready to use once the soap is cool – usually 8 hours later. But, to prolong the use of the soap, I let it sit for a week to 10 days – to dry it out a little more. I then shrink wrap my soaps, weigh each one and place my cigar band label on them – ready for sale! (and use!)
I purchased a gallon (what was I thinking?!) of Sodium Lactate from MMS to use with my Hot Process soap batches, but haven’t tried it yet. You add it to your lye solution at .25 oz PPO. (I think you decrease your liquid by the amount of Sodium Lactate that you use) Supposedly, it keeps the batch smoother and easier to get into your mold! Instead of glopping the soap into the mold, you can actually pour it in your mold – supposedly. Like I said, I haven’t tried it!! It would be sooo nice if it’s true!
You can use any CP recipe that you’ve made – just remember to keep your oils at or below 64 oz and liquid at 24 oz for a 6 Quart Crock Pot. And always use the full amount of liquid recommended on the MMS Calculator.
Have fun 😉