Sunday, July 15, 2007

We have SOAP!

Today I made soap. I mean real soap. I have wanted to do this for ages and I finally had all the things I would need and the time. Having the time to do it was really what was holding me back. The first thing I had to do was find a recipe, this sounds's not! I had a huge supply of duck fat from work which I wanted to use but duck fat is soft and it need to be combined with a hard fat. I choose beef tallow. So with a kilo of beef tallow and ten kilos of duck fat a box of caustic soda and some essential oil I set about getting a recipe. I found one here This web site was great sooooo informative, great recipes and good hints. The recipe was for a laundry soap.

500gm Tallow

500gm Olive oil

300ml water

136gm of Lye.

I changed the olive oil to duck fat so I'm not sure it will work out but I suppose I will find out when I unmould and cut it! The photo on the left is the duck fat. I have been keeping it in the freezer and I used a hot knife to cut out chunks to put on the scales.

The photo on the right is the beef fat. Once I had them weighed out I put them in a great tall pot I had for making jam. I don't use it for jam anymore as it caught on the bottom once and now does it every time! I thought it would be OK for the fat as I was only melting it.

I had to measure out the lye so I did this out side. Lye is very dangerous and when mixing with water creates fumes and heat!. The Lye solution and the melted fat should be around the same temperature when mixed. This was hard to judge so I just guessed. I used an old lasagna tray for a mould and lined it in cling wrap.

They say that you should slowly pour the lye into the fat in a steady stream then mix for minute or so with a wooden spoon. It starts to change colour! I then used a stick blender intermittently until the mixture reached 'trace'. This is the point where you can see a trace of mixture on top when you gently pour some of the spoon.
Once trace has been reached you can add your scents. I choose Tea-Tree oil as it hopefully will drown out the smell of duck! I'm not sure if the soap would have smelt ducky but I wanted to be safe. I have ordered some orange essential oil and some rosemary essential oil as both flavours blend really well with duck. Next I had to pour it into the mould that I had prepared. This was rather more difficult than I had imagined. The pot is quite heavy and with the weight of the soap it made it really tricky! Once you have the mix in the mould they say you should insulate it with towels or rags to assist with the saponifcation process. I had 12m of cotton fabrics laying around so I folded it up and wrapped up the mould to keep it warm.

Finally all tucked away. In 24 hours I will have a look and hopefully cut it up into bars and let it cure for a few weeks! I'm really hoping it work!


Ali said...

congratulations on the soap making ~ that is something I want to make for Christmas presents this year (but trial it earlier first !!) I look forward to reading how it turns out when you cut it :)

Rhonda Jean said...

well done, kirsty! soapmaking is one of the milestones. : )

Lucy C said...

Did it work?