Intrepid Soapmaking - | Batch 3, 4, 5

After two successful batches of soap, Batch 3, a hot process soap, proved disastrous.  I did not heed the admonitions to watch the crockpot (it was big, batch was small, and I figured the risk was negligible).  Wrong, in a big way.  The soap bubbled out in a big gooey mess.  I was not able to get the batch to non-zap stage after 3 hours.   Either I measured something wrong (I'm thinking that I must have left out some oil inadvertently (best not to be distracted in any way!) or the overflow caused an imbalance among the remainder ingredients.  As everything was mixed thoroughly, I would have expected homogeneity among all of the ingredients, as you would a cake. I threw it out. 

As I have some homemade soap,my knickers were not in a bind to have instant gratification.  Accordingly, I elected to try my hand at cold process soaps.  To be sure, cold process is where all of the too-good-you-could-almost-eat-it soaps come into play.  I decided to be simple.

Batch 4 which was my first cold process was one in which I incorporated kaolin clay and activated charcoal. It made very pretty bars of soap, though I'm ill-practiced at making design in soap.   However, I'm pleased with how pretty the soap came out (below).
Kaolin and activated charcoal

Coconut milk soap

Batch 5 was an attempt to make soap with coconut milk.  Picture above.  I've seen quite a few videos about freezing milk etc.  to prevent scorching.  However I stumbled upon a North Carolina Soapers page, and several folks noted that the substituted part of the water for milk (butter, coconut, etc), and added that at the thin trace stage. (Though one commenter mentioned she had problems with this, and did not illuminate more).  Adding at trace bypassed the cooking of the milk in the lye.  The soap above is  3 days.  It appears to be crumbling around the inner core.  PFFFFTTT!

I have no experience with any of this, but I elected to give it a try.  My lye solution was very concentrated, and it was not clear. In fact it was grainy.  ( I have since read that no more than 1/2 of the water required should be substituted with milk, and my solution fell within those guidelines).   I'm sure this was due to reduced water at this stage and there simply not being enough liquid to dissolve the lye.  Nevertheless, all appeared to incorporate well.  As warned, once the milk was added it would begin to set up quickly, so moved quickly to mold.

I'm unclear to gel or not to gel for this soap--I'll do some more research.  For this batch, I'll simply choose no gel.  The batch began to heat quickly in the loaf pan. It's freezing cold outside, so rather than put in the freezer, I simply put it on the deck rail.

To determine the quality of my 'recipe', I'll have to wait at least 6 weeks. When I unmolded, there was only a small amount of gelling in the middle.  The soap was brilliantly, beautifully white. (But now crumbly!)

P. S.  Update on my soaps.  Both of these soaps are spectacular.  The lather is rich and creamy, and they are a joy to use.  I've been sharing my soap making bounty with people in my life.  They, too, are enjoying using these luscious soaps.


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