Saturday, January 13, 2018

What To Do With Leftover Whipping Cream

In looking at my soaping supplies, I realized (well, I already knew) that I was really low on coconut oil. I didn't want to run out just to pick up another kilo of it so I started looking around to see what I still have. I have palm oil, and palm kernel oil, plenty of both to do a few batches. I still have olive oil, beef tallow, and castor oil. Then, I realized that I still have almost a full quart of whipping/heavy cream in the fridge that needs to be used up soon or it will go to waste.

Time for some SoapCalc one on one. I came up with a recipe that has numbers that look good, using all the oils mentioned above, as well as whipping cream.

I thought about how it would look and decided that, because whipped cream is a lovely creamy white, my soap would be white on white. I figured I would do a lighter white (brightened with titanium dioxide) hanger swirl and use some to help decorate the top, and I would sprinkle it with a very light dusting of an opalescent glitter, just to add a touch of glitz.

For scent, I scoured a web site I joined recently, Diffuser Blends, for a scent that inspired me and came up with one using lemongrass, lavender, and peppermint. I was ready to begin!

I'm really pleased with the way this one came out. It was somewhat slow to trace but that's not always a bad thing, especially if you want to do a swirl. It smells amazing and I love how it's looking so far. I have it resting outside (just above freezing here) because I don't want it to overheat.

I'll cut it tomorrow and post a picture of the inside. I'm hoping it turns out as well as I think it will. In the meantime, I've also been playing with a bit of the soap dough I made last weekend. This is a first attempt.

It isn't the greatest, I know, but it is an attempt at least. The dough is still on the "wet" side. I think it could do with a little bit of open air time, just to firm it up slightly. For this attempt, I used a Wilton petal cutter. It has 4 petals in a row and the idea is to cut out two strips, lay them on top of each other, slightly offset and then roll them up. The soap dough didn't stick to each other and one strip slid a bit. For a first attempt, though, I'm not disappointed. I'll probably use it on top of a bar, possibly even make a batch called "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden", studded with a bunch of roses on the top, and then scent it with something completely different, completely unrelated to roses. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

On A Roll

It seems I've decided, without actually making a conscious decision, that I'm going to start this year by making a years supply of soap. I must say, it feels good to be back in the groove.

February's upcoming challenge on the Soapmaking Forum will have something to do with molded soap, playing with soap as you might with PlayDoh. The "dough" is allowed to saponify but not to cure, or harden. It can be molded to any shape and then allowed to cure. The challenge was announced early so that there would be time for us to make our soap dough. I made mine yesterday and bagged it today.

I saw a suggestion for making the three primary colours, yellow, red, and blue, plus black and white. My primary colours came out very intense while my black came out looking more like wet concrete. My white is white but there isn't much of it and I think I might need more if I want to tone down the really intense colours so I made another full pound of white today. I'm really looking forward to the challenge and seeing what everyone else comes up with. I've been doing a lot of thinking and already have an idea or two.

After last weekend's failure, I wanted to make another goat's milk soap so that was done this afternoon, after I ran out to Home Hardware to pick up another jug of lye. I thought I had enough but when I weighed out what I had, I was about 20 grams short. My oils were already blended together so I couldn't really reduce the batch size. Thankfully, Home Hardware was still open.

I did it right this time. The goat's milk was frozen into ice cubes and the lye was added directly to the frozen milk. It was creamy white and cool when I added it to the oils. The batter came to trace quite quickly and by the time I got it into the mold, I was able to play with the top a bit.

I did add lavender oil but chose not to add the lavender flower powder. I wanted this one to be a lighter colour than it would be with the flower powder. Now, the soap is resting outside, where it's 1ยบC, just above freezing. That should keep it from overheating. I'll bring it in later this evening, before heading for bed.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Success and Failure

I have to admit it; I've been very lucky in my soapmaking. In the almost three years I've been making soap, I've had very few failures. Last weekend's dual lye soap is looking really good. It was softer than most soaps I've made coming out of the mold but it's hardened up nicely and is curing in the spare room.

The other soap I made, however, didn't turn out so well.

One of the first soaps I ever made was a Lavender and Goat Milk soap, one that was quite popular and that smelled amazing. It had both lavender essential oil and lavender flower powder and was made, obviously, with goat milk. Apparently, I forgot all the lessons learned about working with milk soaps.

It overheated. When I took it out of the mold on Monday, this is what I found. It's a syrupy, sticky, dark patch. As well, it stank. Seriously. I couldn't smell any lavender at all, just ammonia. I asked for input on the Soapmaking Forum and was told it might get better as it cured. Might being the operative word. Others felt that I should simply dispose of it.

At first, I decided to give it a chance so I left it for another day before cutting it into bars.

There was a liquid oozing out of the "tunnel"; I was afraid it was lye solution but it seems to be oil. Yes, I did test it for zap; there wasn't any.

Today, a week later, I decided to throw it out. I still couldn't smell any lavender; the ammonia smell is gone but it really doesn't smell very good. This is the first time in almost three years that I've tossed out an entire loaf of freshly made soap. I hope it will be the last.

I did, however, keep these three bars; we'll see how they turn out. They did go through a gel phase but they don't seem to have overheated as badly, probably because the molds are smaller. We'll see how they are after they've cured.

Here are my last three soaps, one bar from each batch, including the overheated Lavender Goat Milk soap, with their curing sheets. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

One of the things I love about the Soapmaking Forum is the fact that there are some wonderful, very knowledgeable willing to share their knowledge. One of the things someone suggested as a way of increasing later in a low (or no) coconut soap is to use a dual lye method. My interest was piqued.

The recipe I used is as follows:

55% lard
15% coconut oil
15% olive oil (pomace)
10% avocado oil
5% castor oil

38% water as percentage of oil weight
5% Superfat

I added 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate and scented with cedarwood, rosemary, and lemongrass and swirled with Aztec Gold mica.

Right now, 24 hours later, it's out of the mold but still not unwrapped. It's quite soft so I'll be leaving it to firm up for at least another day. It will be interesting to see how this one works out. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Salt Bars for Christmas

One of the reasons I started this particular blog was so that I could keep track of the batches of soap I've made. Lately, there haven't been very many batches, unfortunately. However, last week, I did make a batch of our favourite soap. When I say "our" favourite, I'm referring to Kristen and myself. There's good reason it's a fave.

With equal parts rosemary, peppermint, and lavender, it smells amazing. Once the soap has cured completely, at minimum 8 weeks and preferably as long as a year or more, the lather is creamy and decadent. It is the only soap I use on my face.

Last weekend, November 23, I made a large batch. I based the recipe on 1000 grams of oil and used 500 grams of sea salt. The resulting batch was 32 bars. Some of them are small bars (1-2 ounces), most are regular sized bars (up to 4 ounces).

For this batch, I used goat's milk as the liquid rather than water.

There is a thread going on in the Soapmaking Forum at the moment about how long to age salt soap. The consensus is a minimum of one year and up to three years or longer! I think I'll need to make more so we can have some put away for the long term.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Soaping Again

It feels like it's been forever since I last made soap. In reality, it's only been a couple of months since making a batch for a challenge on the Soapmaking Forum but, still, it feels like a long time.

This week, I received a phone call from a friend, giving me a heads up that she will soon be out of one of her favourite soaps (and mine), Salt Soap. After explaining that I'm all out and that it would take about six weeks before I would be able to sell it to her, she was very understanding and did let me know that she was down to one bar. That should suffice until the new batch is ready.

And so, today is soaping day. The Salt Soap is already in the molds; some time tomorrow, it should be ready to unmold and then the cure begins. This soap really does benefit from a longer than normal cure. Most soaps are ready to use (not necessarily at their prime) by about 4-6 weeks. I know of people who have left their salt bars for six months to two years before using them and they rave about the soap.

As I'm on my last bar, as well, I'm glad my friend called. I use it daily as a face soap and love it!

The other soap I've had a request for is my Tooth Soap, a peanut oil based soap that contains xylitol, activated charcoal, calcium carbonate, as well as peppermint and anise oils. Surprisingly, the request came from my neighbour's son, a young man in his early 30's. He told me he loves it and some of his friends would like to try it as well.

The Tooth Soap bars are small bars, about 1 oz. each (I suppose I could have made a bigger batch... next time). One bar lasts me about four months, with daily use; I only use it at night, though. In the morning, I use regular toothpaste but I find minty toothpastes too strong to use at night. They burn my mouth and the flavour tends to be a stimulant; I don't find that with tooth soap. And, trust me, it's nothing like having your mouth washed out with soap for swearing. Honest!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Week 2

It's pretty close to being Week 3 at this point but I did take pictures at the two week mark. It wasn't easy taking pictures of my own lathered up left hand with a wet right hand so, for Week 2, I commissioned John to take the pictures.

First up, the soap made with water. The lather has increased quite dramatically. It lathered easily and the bubbles are both creamy and bubbly.

Then, the soap made with apple cider vinegar. Again, it lathered easily and quickly. It doesn't look like as much lather but it felt amazing... silky, creamy, luxurious. I much preferred the lather of the acv soap to the water soap. Both bars are nice and hard but the soap with acv feels harder to me. I can't back that up with any definitive tests, just what I could feel. Both bars have a lovely waxy feel to them and, at this point, both are lovely soaps.

I'm kind of biased towards the cider vinegar soap at this point. I'll try both again this weekend and have John take more pictures. I think, at this point, I can safely say that the cider vinegar experiment has shown that it makes a really nice soap. I know, from online reading, that using vinegar will up the superfat and that probably contributes to the creamy feeling but if I want to make a "special" soap, I'll definitely consider making it with apple cider vinegar.