tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
It's been a while since I made any soap, and I still have lots of lye and oil around so someone has been pushing for more soap to use up the lye. :D

So I threw together a recipe (olive, canola, palm, and coconut for the curious) and figured I'd use up the aloe juice in the back of the fridge (unfortunately I didn't finish it off with this batch) and why not use some cut St. John's Wort while I was at it, and some tangerine and ti tree essential oils.

I had to beat the lye about a bit to break it up but that went well enough, no mishaps which is always a plus when handling lye. I dissolved it in water, half the total liquid for the recipe. The other half I did with the aloe juice into which I put the SJW after running it through my coffee grinder. My coffee grinder was bought entirely for grinding up herbs and things for soap and has never been used for its intended purpose of grinding coffee beans. I let the aloe sit on a warm burner while the lye cooled and measured out my oils.

While I was measuring my oils I realized I had palm oil and had accidentally used palm kernel oil in my calculations. A quick check with the calculator showed me that adding half a pound more palm oil would make my lye amount work. I normally make 8 pound recipes so it was a relief to find that the mold, an old plastic shelf that is a convenient low pan when you flip it over, will hold 8.5 pounds. My vertical mold holds only 8 pounds and the only reason I hadn't prepped that one was that I was expecting the soap to get rather hot while curing. That turned out to be a very good bit of foresight on my part.

Anyway, I warmed the oils just enough to melt them all, turned off the heat and went about doing a cold process soap. The lye went in and I stirred it for a while, then added the aloe, letting most of the vegetable matter stay in the pot, what went into the soap will add nice flecks of scrubbiness. At that point the soap was a nice creamy egg yellow. Alas, the aloe juice has sugars in it and lye and sugar means heat so it was shortly looking more like pumpkin pie.

Then I added the tangerine and ti tree oil... hello hot and seizing soap!

Suddenly my nice calm cold process soap was a fast moving hot process, without turning on the stove. The stick blender (long used for soap and missing several "teeth" off it's guard) was brought into play and I now have 8.5 pounds of dark glossy brown soap cooling in the mold. Well, cooling after it finishes reacting, it's still very hot right now.

I'm sure it will be fine.

August 2017

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