Julie in Michigan

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Soap Making in the Planning Stage

I found the bucket with the Coconut Oil – I had purchased a twenty pounder awhile back. I recently ordered 4 gallons of Olive Oil from ebay and got it for about $12 a gallon, but I had to pay for shipping as well. The third oil which is basic to my recipe, vegetable oil, is easily obtained at a mainstream grocery in the form of ~crisco~ or something like that. Various other oils could be used such as shea butter, cocoa butter or many others – research into their skin beneficial qualities would provide many other choices but the three basics – coconut (for sudsing action), olive and vegetable are the ones I always use as a base. 

The lye was purchased in a larger quantity from a wholesaler in Dallas. I would have liked to purchase a larger quantity – like a 20 gallon drum, but storage of this very dangerous chemical would have been an insurmountable challenge before I had a safe, secure, dry location to store it. In the meantime I have 5 pre-measured bags of lye, enough for 5 batches of soap.

I don’t use water to mix my lye, rather an herbal tea, refrigerated overnight. My personal favorite is Comfrey, an herb known for its skin-healing properties. I think that making the tea must also establish the correct PH since I never have problems when I make it with tea rather than plain water. I’ve heard of mixing the lye with goat’s milk but someone had a problem with her end product stinging when she used milk for the mixture. I couldn’t say what caused this but I was getting my goat’s milk direct from the farm and never had that problem.

Cosmetic grade fragrance oils were purchased by the quart and I have 3 remaining – sugar cookie, patchouli and the label is worn off the third.

So, those are my ingredients although I could add oatmeal, fresh dried herbs and many other ingredients for varieties in selection and use.

Mixing the ingredients is a key step in the process. Both the hot and the cold have to meet in the middle at temperatures between 120-125 f in order for the chemical process to occur. To facilitate their merge, I use an electric mixer on a stand. The small bowls on these mixers won’t be large enough for the measurements I use so a purchase of a large aluminum bowl (glass too dangerous – I wouldn’t want to take a chance on that breakage) to fit a stand mixer that holds ‘other’ bowls. 

I recently purchased a Sunbeam FPSBHS030 250-Watt 5-Speed Hand and Stand Mixer Combo cookware kitchen that I will NOT be using for soap making – too flimsy. I bought on ebay but amazon sells cheaper. Doesn’t matter what you pay for it, I wouldn’t take a chance on making soap in it. 

In the past I’ve used a SUNBEAM MIXMASTER 12 SPEED STAND MIXER which worked very well. Unfortunately it was lost during a storage move. I’d like to find another and there are several on Craigslist for Kalamazoo. Guess I might have to make a drive over there. KitchenAid makes an expensive one that might be more power than I need for this project.

This is the Sunbeam mixer I’m looking for. Happy Shopping~

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