Been busy making soap logs to use as part of the design element in a trade show booth and in the process began to make some of them out of the new fragrance blends I want to add to our handmade soaps. The new fragrances going to be introduced are actually made with essential oils and after getting feedback from all the volunteers willing to help me I think there will be something for everyone. I am very happy with the new blends. Not quite sure which will end up in goat milk soap and which will end up in the vegetable based handmade soaps but it will all work out. Haven’t quite decided yet. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of some of them.
A variety of soap logs including Lavender Citrus (NEW), Orange Blossom, Lavender Flowers, Key Lime, Spearmint & Patchouli (NEW) and Eucalyptus, Spearmint & Peppermint (NEW)
A collage of Eucalyptus, Spearmint & Peppermint with activated charcoal and white kaolin clay. Yum! And I really like the Key Lime, Spearmint & Patchouli. Extra Yum!
I am pleased as punch with how the liquid goat milk soap past turned out. Perfect actually. I am doing the happy soap dance and just can’t keep looking at it! I know, it’s silly but that’s how we soapers are. A breed apart and into all things soap. So I thought I’d post a video of the dilution phase. The purpose is to dilute the soap paste into liquid soap. I tend to start with 12oz per pound of soap paste and add water as necessary till all the paste is diluted. I tend to go slow and it takes a few days until all of the paste is diluted. This batch of soap paste weighed in at 17lbs so I am using a very large stainless pot.
A while back I decided to add Goat Milk Liquid Soap to our line of handmade soap. I had a hard time trying to find information on how to add the goat milk to the liquid soap. There really isn’t much information out there. Finally after many test batches that weren’t “quite” right, a light bulb went off. The problem was I had to deal with the milk fat in the goat milk. Once you do that and figure all your calculations to include the butterfat content of the milk, then you can add it just about any way you want. Freezing it and adding the lye solution, adding powdered milk to the lye solution or adding the goat milk to the emulsified oil and lye. The method I prefer is to add the goat milk to the emulsified oil and lye solution and stick blending it in. Just remember that whether you use whole goat milk, powdered or evaporated you need to figure the milk fat and adjust for it. Here is a video of me making the goat milk liquid soap paste. Ignore my son halfway into the video. He startled me. The little pill! It was easier to work when he was two LOL!
I recently set up a youtube channel and since people are always asking me how I make handmade soap uploaded a video of making a 40lb batch of Eucalyptus Spearmint Goat Milk Soap which happens to be one of our best sellers. Once upon a time when I was getting up the nerve to try a bigger batch than 12lbs I saved a 55lb plastic bucket which originally held shea butter and put it aside. Once I got the nerve up and trust me that took a couple of years then I grabbed my husband’s electric drill and purchased a stainless steel squirrel cage mixer. The drill gets kind of heavy while mixing so I need to see if I can find one that fits my hand better and is a bit lighter. I find it does take a bit longer to get to trace with the larger batch but other than that the soap making process is pretty much the same as when making a smaller batch. I have moved as many of the handmade soap bars I make as I can into the bigger molds. It saves so much time. Slab molds are good though. They give a nice swirl and I like swirls so those molds are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Hope you like the videos. There is a part one and part two. I am sure I shall improve with practice LOL!
Yes, it’s been a very long time since I posted last. There is a reason for that. I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. DCIS to be exact. I am fully recovered now. Yay!!! So ladies, please make sure you get your mammograms on time and don’t skip. It’s so important. My breast cancer was caught early enough that it was considered stage 0 but required a double mastectomy with reconstruction so it was quite a year! I feel so lucky that my recovery was surgical and did not require other treatment. So…I’ll get off of my soapbox now. Just do the right thing and make sure you get your yearly checks done. Now back to what I love which is making soap!
Right now I am in the middle of testing some new essential oil blends which I am going to add to my goat milk soap line. Part of the testing is to see how the scent cures out. Whether it is soft, strong or just right or whether it fades. Another part is how the blend actually settles in handmade soap. Sometimes the essential oil blend will smell so good out of the bottle but once put into soap it doesn’t mesh well. I’m also checking to see how the blend behaves in the soap making process. Whether it speeds things up and I’ve got soap on a stick or it allows me to work at a comfortable pace so I can swirl to my hearts content. So to make these test batches I use a small loaf mold that yields seven bars. I use this time to play around with different design techniques that I don’t usually get to do in my regular handmade soap bars. This is the fun part of soap making to me and I have had to force myself to stop and get back to business LOL! Anyhow, here are some photos of what I’ve made so far.
I had my day planned Friday. The plan was to make several batches of handmade soap and then take a break and go to town. It didn’t happen that way. The first batch went smoothly. Made the first batch which was goat milk soap with honey and oats. Something must be in the air as this is the second special request for this type of soap with no scent. It went smoothly. Got everything prepped and ready to make another batch of a the new Cucumber Mint goat milk soap that will be coming soon. Made it before, no issues. Well….this time as soon as I added the fragrance to the soap pot it was instant SEIZE. Instant! What a headache! Either dump 12lbs of handmade soap or thinking quickly I decided I didn’t want to dump this so decided to turn the oven on and try to hot process it which I have never done before so it was risky. Simply put, in hot processing you “cook” the soap to speed up the saponification process. By using this method you can use the soap right away if you want, however, allowing it to “cure” for a week or so will allow a harder bar. Once the soap is ready it is glopped into the mold. Not poured. It makes for a different texture and more rustic appearance but I have seen hot process handmade soap bars made by soap makers who only make hot process soap turn out very smooth bars. I however, was just going for saved soap. I tell you I had a mess on the floor, a mess on the table and a mess in the pot but the soap cooked and I was able to slam it into the mold. Not a pretty site but in the mold non the less and not the garbage can. After I released the soap the next day, I used my kitchen aid stand mixer to shred it and roll it into little soap balls which will be used a design element in a new soap. Feeling pretty good about this! Actually, learned something here. Took me all day and I was pretty stressed by the time it was over but I’m glad I took the plunge.
Sometimes, but not always, once you pour your handmade soap batter into your molds and the soap starts to solidify, a white powdery substance will form on the top of the soap. In the morning, when the handmade soap is removed from the mold, you will notice that you either have a light scattering of white residue or it can be fairly thick as will happen with goat milk soap.
Ummm..what is this white powdery substance you ask? This white chalky residue is commonly known as soda ash or sodium carbonate, a sodium salt of carbonic acid and forms as the water in the soap stock evaporates. This soda ash may be a bit unsightly on top of those perfectly formed and colorful handmade soap bars but it is harmless and washes away with water or can be wiped off with isopropyl alcohol or simply ignored and accepted as part of what makes handmade soap unique and special.
One tip to prevent the formation of soda ash is to simply cover your freshly poured handmade soap with plastic wrap which cuts the soap off from the open air preventing the soda ash from forming. Unfortunately, because of the type of molds I use, this isn’t an option and I picked up another tip from a fellow soap maker which I’ll pass on. I spritz my slabs of freshly poured handmade soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol after the soap sits a bit and goes opaque. This has been a huge help in reducing or eliminating the amount of soda ash that forms. Especially, on the goat milk soap bars. Be sure to either use 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol as the 70% does not seem to work.
The photo below is an example of soda ash on the side of a few bars of Raspberry Mint Goat Milk Soap that weren’t sprayed with isopropyl alcohol after sitting for one week on the drying rack. When these particular handmade soaps are beveled for sale, I will remove the soda ash just because I’m a bit obsessive about it.
For those that like to buy handmade soap it’s always fun to try something new. I am gradually adding to my goat milk soap line and have a new handmade soap to introduce. I’m calling it Summer Solstice because it reminds me well, of warm summer days. Anyone who lives here in Washington this year will appreciate that I need something to bring summer back into my life. The weather just hasn’t been cooperating. Anyhow, this handmade soap is scented with Litsea Cubea, Lavender & Patchouli. The resulting fragrance is warm, sunny and bright. Just like a bright summer day!
Oh I had a time today cutting a hugh batch of Lavender & Rosemary goat milk soap. I had so much to cut that the smell was overpowering and all I wanted to do was go outside and take a whiff of fresh air. I’m sure your wondering why I’d want to get away from fresh goat milk soap blended with lavender & rosemary essential oils. Let me explain. Freshly cut milk soaps have a funky smell initially which actually smells just like one of those old fashioned diaper pails you used to put baby diapers into. Oh my gosh, it’s bad! This is because the sodium hydroxide reacts with the milk protein and produces a bit of ammonia. Thank goodness the smell dissipates over a few days of sitting on the drying rack. This is because ammonia is very volatile and just evaporates off. What you have left is the lovely smell of your scented goat milk soap. All of our handmade goat milk soaps are favorites for wholesale soap customers.
In my “old” age I have got into fitness. I’ve been running and lifting weights now for about a year and a half which for me is a real milestone. Recently, I joined a “boot camp” at my gym. After running my three miles I faithfully participate in this camp. It’s a real challenge and when I’m on the third set of bear crawls I feel like I’ve lost my mind. We sweat a lot! Sometimes cry. It is pure pain. I was thinking what handmade bar soap I make that would be invigorating and refreshing after a good sweat. I’d like to give a bar of my handmade soap to my classmates. Personally, I like the Lemongrass or Peppermint & Tea Tree soap. Both of these handmade soaps get the dirt, grime, mud and sweat off nicely and the poppy seeds invigorate after a good work out. Think I’ll bring a bag of these to my next boot camp experience.