Sunday, January 30, 2011

Goat's Milk Soap

I think I'm a picky soap maker.

There are ingredients I'll never use, there are soap shapes that will never be appealing to me, and I'm more than stubborn when it comes to minimum curing time.

There's also something else that I'm picky about - the season.  I only make milk soaps in the winter - weird, isn't it?

Well, since I have this obsession to make milk soaps as white as I possibly can without using any TD, I figure that I should avoid gel-ing the soap if I can help it.  So in addition to freezing the milk and slowly dissolving lye one teaspoon as a time, I also "refrigerate" my milk soap once it's set in the mold.   

Technically I can to this anytime of the year, but I prefer leaving my soap outdoors and let the Canadian winter do its trick.

I can't really explain why I like to leave them outside during winter.  
Is it because I don't like to crowd my fridge with something uneatable?  Is it because I'm afraid the lye being so close to something I plan on digesting?   Or maybe it's just because I need to put it out of sight so I won't have to fight the temptation to take it out  prematurely? 

Leaving the soap in the cold doesn't really ruin it, as some might believe.  These soap bars are nice and hard, and I know in a few months time, they'll charm me again in the shower!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rustic Sea Salt Bars

Salt bars have always been on my "to-make" list, not because I love the way they make my skin feel since I've never tried them, but because they way people talk about them.   Salt bar fans talk about these with a passion!  Where does the passion come from?  I need to know!

I did some reading before diving into the actual making process, and I increased the water ratio because of the high coconut content and sea salt (!).   Those who've made salt bars all stress on the importance of cutting soaps early.  Very early, like 4 hours after pouring early.  

So that's what I did.  I checked on it every hour and cut as soon as I found it hard and solid.  The soaps were still kind of soft and easy to cut, but somehow they always crumbled before I finished the cut.  Why is that?  I understand that soaps crumble when they're too hard to cut, but these were not hard at all...

And have I mentioned they sweated like crazy?  Luckily it only happened during the first few hours and I didn't have to wipe them every 30 minutes for days.   Now I know why some people only make salt bars in the winter!

I think I'll give it a few months before I try my first salt bar.  Should've made an HP salt bar instead!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Funnel Swirl - Hot Pepper!

After my very first funnel swirl, I've had several questions constantly spinning in my head - what can I do to make it better?  What should I do differently to get that beautiful look I've been dreaming of?

I decided to take my next batch of laundry soap and "funnel it", and the results came out so different this time!  Instead of parallel parentheses, I got concentric circles.

I cut these soaps extra thin so I could get a better look at the way patterns form in this type of swirl.   I think I'm getting a better understanding of the funnel swirl secrets.  Now you all know what that means - have to make another one just to see if these ideas really work!

So, where's the hot pepper?

See the pinkish orangey colour?   That's from *real* hot peppers!  I once ordered a spicy dish at a restaurant and ended up getting a mountain of hot peppers.  I packed them up and rendered my pork lard with them.    The lard turned out to be this bright orange colour, and to my surprise, the colour survived the soaping process and became a soft, dreamy pinkish orange.  

The crazy scientist in my head has been dying to find out if the heat of hot peppers comes out in the shower.  Will this be a good soap for the cold cold Canadian winter?