So, I ventured back into the kitchen to make some more soap. I'm sharing because I want to remember exactly what I did - yay for all of you!
First of all, I don't make pretty soap. That's because I hot process in an old crock pot. It's kind of hard to make swirls and fancy things when the soap usually ends up gloppy. I've tried, I've failed, I've decided it's not worth it. Since I make soap just for us, it doesn't have to look good - it just has to work good. =)
I like to use things other than just plain distilled water when I make my lye solution. I've made soap using coffee, and pumpkin ale. I don't know why I like using different liquids as bases, but it makes it fun for me (plus I get to say I made Spiced Pumpkin Ale Soap - sounds fancy!). This time I brewed some mixed berry green tea.
Also, I made up a new recipe because I was running low on some oil. I never use fancy expensive oil because I like to be able to just grab more when I run to the store. I think the "fanciest" oil in this line up is the castor oil. And yes, I used lard. This particular recipe is not for the vegans.
To go with my mixed berry green tea I chose Summer Fling fragrance oil from Brambleberry. This is my soap, so yeah, I went with a scent I consider a little 'girly'.
Before mixing my lye into the tea I added two teaspoons (since I was making two pounds of soap) into the tea. I've read various discussions online that this will help make hot process soap less gloppy.
I also tend to have a problem with over cooking my soap so I watched it very carefully this time. I spun my crock (since it cooks unevenly) and stirred it down at 30 minutes.
At 45 minutes I checked it again and did the tongue 'zap' test. It was done and looked like this.
Some more stirring, cooling it down below the flashpoint of the FO I choose. Then threw it in the mold. It was a little more loose than normal - not sure if this was because of the sugar or the not over cooking. Probably will have to make sure I watch it closer from now on either way.
When I say it was smoother, it still can't be poured, like cold process soap. There will still be no fancy swirls in my soap - but it was much easier to spread, level, and tamp than usual. I will probably stick with using the sugar.
I've had to learn to not mess with it once it's in the mold. This is so hard for me because I want to pull it out and mess with it right away. I set an alarm on my phone to wait 24 hours to un-mold. Patience is not my strong suit - this is why I make hot process soap folks!
It came out of the mold still sticky. Now I have to set my alarm again - 24 more hours and I'll cut it. I've learned to wait the extra 24 hours because it makes the loaf a little bit harder and (to me) easier to cut. It probably would harden up quicker if I cut it right away. I usually have a couple weeks of lead time before I run out of soap, so I force myself to wait.
No fancy soap cutter here. Nope - I just use this cutting board with 1" markings and do my best to cut each slice at the 1" mark.
As you can see, I don't always do the best job - but I get close. Now I'll usually just let them sit out like this until I need a bar - then I put them all away. The longer they sit out the harder they become which means they'll last longer in the shower. But - these can be used right now. As a matter of fact, I could have cut a bar as soon as it came out of the mold and used it. It's real soap.
Nice a bubbly - no dishwashing soap or anything added to this - just ran some warm water into the crock pot. No, I'll never make fancy swirled soap. No, I'll never own a soap making business. It is, however something I really enjoy doing and as long as my boys enjoy using it, something I'll continue to do.