Next you measure out all of the oils. This recipe called for shea butter, olive oil, and lard.
See how my pot almost covers the scale? That’s what made things hard. The nice thing was the little zero button that allows you to measure one ingredient, zero the scale, and then continue measuring and adding other ingredients all in that one pot.
My friend suggested that we add the solids before the liquids. It’s important to measure the ingredients exactly. Soapmaking is a very delicate chemical process.
Put these oils on the stove at a low heat to melt. Stir as needed. Keep an eye on the temperature once it’s all melted.
Now it’s time for the excitement. Make sure that you’re wearing your safety goggles & gloves and have some ventilation where you’re working.
Gently pour the lye into your pitcher of water. It heats up to 200* immediately and stinks. Stay clear of the fumes. Stirring heats the water and you will need to get the temperature down per your recipe so avoid stirring.
You really need to have two thermometers. One for the lye mixture and another for the oils. You can perhaps wipe them clean as you go back and forth, but it’s a lot to keep an eye on. You’re trying to get both mixtures at the same temperature: cooling the lye mixture and heating up the oils. Tricky stuff.
But oh, sweet mercy, when the temperatures are in sync, you get to pour the lye mixture into the oils and that’s when the magic starts to happen. Your heart will race and you’ll find yourself thinking, "I’m doing it. I’m really making soap!"
I was so excited, I couldn’t even take a good picture.
Now you get to add the yummy fragrance oils. Mix gently and carefully with the stick blender paying close attention to the consistency. You’re waiting for it to get to the elusive "trace" that soapers talk about. Trace is when it’s kind of like pudding and when you dribble the soap across the pot, it leaves a faint line.
If you close one eye and squint your eyes, you might be able to see what I’m talking about in this pic. Don’t hold your breath though.
I was thinking about making soap, not taking pictures.
Once it’s at that perfect consistency, you can pour it into the molds. You can just use regular boxes lined with wax paper or store-bought molds.
See how ours isn’t perfectly smooth? That’s how you can tell it is homemade. Ha ha!
Maybe we let it get too thick.
Can any of you soapers let me know?
This recipe has to cure for 3 weeks. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
It smells sooooo good.