Sunday, 19 December 2010

Soapmaking Process

Put apron on!
Measured the olive oil in the measuring jug, then into the large saucepan
Measure the coconut oil in the measure jug, then into the large saucepan
Placed the large saucepan on an element, to heat later
Measured the water in a 2 cup pyrex measuring jug

Put gloves on!
These stayed on until after everything was washed up!
Weighed a small glass bowl, then added the lye to this bowl

Took the pyrex measuring jug with the water outside and put it in a cardboard box on my deck
Took the stainless steel mixing spoon and thermometer outside and put them in the cardboard box

Put on my goggles and paper filter face mask!
Carefully carried the glass bowl with the lye outside to my deck and slowly and carefully poured it into the water. You must add the lye to the water, as the reaction of doing it the other way can cause major health risk. Gently stir it with the mixing spoon. I couldn’t smell or feel any fumes, which was a great relief!

NOTE – the lye reacts with the water and will become very hot and fumy, so make sure you and the area around you is protected. Also this is not the time to have children or animals around. Make sure they are safely in bed or inside the house.

I put the thermometer in the lye mixture and it was about 80 C, now you have to wait, until it gets down to 50 C

While waiting I prepared some moulds. I had no idea how many to use, so I had more than I needed, including a mix of plastic, cooking ‘rubbery’ ones, cardboard shoe box, ceramic bowls, glass and pyrex bowls. Also I had wax paper and spray cooking oil.

Next I turned my element on to low to slowly heat the oils

I kept checking on the lye mix to see how the temperature was dropping ... I’ve read that you can cool this down in a sink/bowl of cold water if you need to.

When the temperature of the lye mix was 50 C and the oils 50 C, I added the lye mix to the oils (I had the saucepan with the oils in my sink, ready for this). The colour of the oils became slightly cloudy, but the smell was fine. I think all I could smell was the beautiful coconut oil.

I started to blend with the stick blender. Mix carefully as this mixture remains caustic until the soap has cured. The mixture will be runny to begin with and then slowly it will thicken.

At around the 10 minute mark I recognised that the mixture had thickened and I’m not sure, but it may have already been at ‘trace’.

I added 1 tsp of lavender essential oil and the heads from some lavender flowers

I mixed a little further and I was sure the mixture was now ‘trace’, as I could clearly see ripples on the top and when I removed the blender marks remained on the surface. Plus drops of liquid from the blender left a ‘trace’ on the mixture when they dropped. I suspect my mixture was a little too thick ... but I’m hoping that it will still make great soap.

I now poured this mixture into the moulds I prepared. I had to use a spatula to complete this, due to the mixture being thicker than necessary.

I wrapped the moulds with towels so they won’t cool too quickly and put them on a tray. Now I have to leave them to set ... this is the ‘not so good’ part!

I’ve read to leave the moulds for between 15 hours and a day or two ...

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