Blender Approved Hot Process Soap – I made soap, now what? Prt 3 of a 4prt series

Hot Process Soap with Blender Instructions

Pouring lye/liquid solution into the fats/oils pot

Pouring lye/liquid solution into the fats/oils pot

You have poured your lye mixture into your fats/oils pot and started stirring. You can continue stirring for and hour to 2 days sometimes if you want to go the cold process way, but if you want to speed things up a bit, break out your handy dandy stick blender.

You can use a regular blender. I did, but I also melted the rubber sealing ring inside. A regular blender doesn’t really cut if for big batches anyway.

I also got my stick blender from, yet again, the thrift store. You can get a pretty pink one  at  http://www.brambleberry.com/Perfect-Pink-Stick-Blender-P5245.aspx  along  with other handy soap making products.

If you look up how to make soap with a blender you will see almost all the instructions say you don’t have to worry about the lye/liquid mixture or the fat/oils mixture temperature when using a blender to reach trace. I finally read one that said “just make sure the lye has cooled down. Wow!

I do NOT trust that method and I am NOT recommending it either! Do your job. Get both the mixtures to the temperature it calls for pouring in the recipe. No need to be lazy and possibly cause separation.

BLENDER SOAP INSTRUCTIONS

So, you’ve poured the lye/liquid into the fat/oils pot.

  • Stir for about 5 min to mix well.

Now you will either pour the contents of your soap pot into your blender, or have that wonderful stick blender ready. You are trying to get your soap to trace. Trace is when the soap has thickened up enough to see a ‘trace’ pattern of something swirled or tapped onto the surface of the mixture.

  • Submerge your stick blender into the mixture and swirl away. DO NOT let the stick blender come out of the mixture or you will spray caustic soap all over you and the surrounding area. This is NOT good!
Blending to trace

Blending to trace

  • If using a regular blender, blend for a minute or two then check the consistency, never going over a minute at a time before checking to get to trace. REMEMBER the lid!!!

It is almost impossible to get to trace hand stirring. I’ve stirred for up to three hours before and hardly got anything. I’ve heard that some recipes could take up to two days to trace. I do not have that kind of time, and doubt you do as well. That is why I was so excited when I discovered blender soap!

It took MAYBE three minutes total to get this particular recipe to trace. THAT’S IT! I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I did this! I had never really seen trace before. Well, there it is.

That ring you see near the center is what trace looks like. A slight puckering of the mixture when tapped with the stick blender.

That ring you see near the center is what trace looks like. A slight puckering of the mixture when tapped with the stick blender.

The more you make, the more you will become familiar with the texture you are after. I like to stop at a thin trace. The hot processing will thicken your soap up even more and will be harder to mold so just be careful.

You can ‘over blend’ as well, whipping in more air bubbles, and voila, floating soap!

Some things to remember when blending your soap

  • It is still CAUSTIC and will burn you
  • Make sure your stick blender is completely submerged or you will get flying caustic soap everywhere
  • Wear you protective eyewear!!!
  • Make sure the lid is on the blender or you will, again, get a caustic explosion
  • Make sure the lye is at a cooled temperature (as per recipe) before pouring into the fats
  • SUBMERGE your stick blender completely! (I know I’ve said this already, it just bears repeating)!
  • Learn the stages of trace and incorporate them into your own particular style of soap making.

When you hit TRACE, move on to the next step Hot Processing!

http://www.brambleberry.com/Perfect-Pink-Stick-Blender-P5245.aspx

HOT PROCESS SOAP METHODS

Hot processing soap is basically ‘cooking’ your soap mixture to remove the caustic nature of the lye. It is the way to go in my opinion. I don’t really have the time, nor want to wait 4-6 weeks to use my soap! With Hot Processing you can use it as soon as it hardens up.

There are several methods of Hot Processing your soap.

I have only used the double boiler method. I had the extra equipment already (canning pot) so I thought, why not?

There is a high possibility of getting water into your soap, basically ruining it, so you have to be EXTRA careful when transferring the soap pot into the double boiler pot.

*A word of caution: the pot, when half way submerged into the water of the double boiler will sort of float out while you are taking the pot out. When it leaves the water it will ‘all of a sudden’ get kind of heavy. Be expecting the weight shift. DONT DROP IT BACK INTO THE WATER! Water will splash everywhere, getting into your soap and scalding you in the process.*

I don’t recommend the microwave method but the other methods seem worth a try. You can read more about the process of each on the links provided below. These sites offer a lot for the look. They are some of my favorite for soap making and reading pleasure.

Crock Pot Hot Processing – CPHP –   http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2008/09/making-hot-process-soap-in-crock-pot.html

Oven Method Hot Processing – OMHP – http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/hot-process-series-oven-process-layers/

Double Boiler Hot Processing – DBHP – http://sumpena.wordpress.com/2007/03/14/double-boiler-hot-process-soap-making-method-dbhp-and-oven-hot-process-soap-making-method-ohp/

Microwave Method Hot Processing – MMHP –  http://www.greatcakessoapworks.com/handmade-soap-blog/index.php/how-to-make-hot-process-soap-in-the-microwave/

DBHP

Make sure you have only enough water in the canning pot to come half way up the soap pot when you have it placed in the double boiler. If you’re doing this for the first time and are not sure how much you will need, you should fill up the canner pot with water before making soap and place the empty soap pot in it, on the canner basket or lids, like you would if you were double boiling soap already, and measure the amount of water you will need in the canner pot. It shouldnt not come any higher than half way up the soap pot.

  • Have the canning pot water at a low boil with the lid on
  • Make sure you have something on the bottom of the pot to keep the soap pot off the bottom of the double boiler (canning lids or the canning basket that came with the water bath canner will work wonderfully.
  • When soap is at trace put a tightly fitted lid on your soap pot.
  • Uncover the boiling water,
  • Using hot pad or gloves, carefully lower the soap pot into the boiling water. DONT DROP IT or water will splash into your soap pot. Not good! If this happens, grab a dry towel to soak up the water off the closed soap pot lid before it seeps into your soap.
  • Re-cover the canner with its lid. – You now have your lidded soap pot inside the canner with its lid on.

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Soap pot inside double boiler

Soap pot inside double boiler

That’s it. Keep the canner pot at a low boil with the lid on for 1 hour.

Don’t Peek!!! I know its hard, but there is seriously nothing to see. If you must, wait at least 30 minutes and do it quickly!

  • After an hour you can turn off the heat and remove your soap pot CAREFULLY from the double boiler.

MOLDING YOUR SOAP

  • Remember to lay a blanket or newspaper under your molds when pouring to avoid a mess!
  • Grease your molds. Use vegetable shortening to coat your molds for easier unmolding.
Grease your mold with vegetable shortening or olive oil

Grease your mold with vegetable shortening or olive oil

  • Before you remove your soap pot from the double boiler have all your additives and molds ready.
Pre-melt all solid additives and mix in any liquid additives together

Pre-melt all solid additives and mix in any liquid additives together

  • Mix in whatever herbs, exfoliants, moisturizers, or scents you are using quickly before the soap cools too much and becomes impossible to mold
  • The soap will most likely be the consistency of thick applesauce and you will probably have to glop the mixture into the mold.

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Remember the tap tap method for removing air bubbles.

  • Tap the mold on the floor or counter top several times during pouring to remove air bubbles and settle the soap.
  • Let dry one to two days.

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UNMOLDING YOUR SOAP

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Since all molds are different I can only tell you the problems I have encountered and how to best go about preparing your molds and general things about unmolding.

– Always Always grease your molds!

– You can place your molds in the freezer for several hours and that will shrink your soap just enough to provide easier removal.

– Having a flat scraping device can really help separate stubborn soap from the mold.

– Scrape up all the leftover soap on the mold or from shaving the soap down and ball up to form another piece of soap. It isn’t pretty but its useful!

I’ve seen beautiful hand molded soaps. Mine just do not come out that pretty. Have you ever heard the saying “why that/he/she is uglier than a bar of home-made soap!” Well, that’s where it came from 😉

I hope someone gives this a try. If you do PLEASE let me know! I love to talk about soap (not really write about it though, lol). It’s hard to find another soap maker. Feel free to ask any questions as well. Like I said before, I think I am better at making soap than writing about it!

 

Hot Process Hand Milled Soap – Straight and Simple prt 1 of a 4 prt series – Getting It Together

Getting It Together

So ya wanna make soap?

soapsoap

Ok, I’m going to try to break it down for you.  It really is too much for one post so, I give you part I now. Take the time in between to gather your supplies. I will publish part II as my next week’s post. It is an involved and lengthy process so I hope you have the time and the patience. It is well worth it in the end, I promise you that.

 

 

  • A Little History: Making soap goes back to the cave men days when they would wash their clothes near volcanic ash, and I guess, on days the water was extra hot, and there was animal fat in the ‘clothes’ (skins) they would get bubbles and noticeably cleaner clothes.

Voila, soap!

See, ash can become lye, a major ingredient in soap formally known as Sodium Hydroxide.

A word about Lye:

You used to be able to buy pure Sodium Hydroxide in the grocery store aisle by the name of Red Devil Lye. It was used as a very effective drain opener. I’m pretty sure thanks to bomb making and meth making it can no longer be sold over the counter. Now you have to order it. The website I use is WONDERFUL! They sell any and everything soap making. Check out aaa-chemicals.com . Just know, it is highly corrosive!!! When working with lye it is a good idea to: use rubber gloves, maybe goggles or glasses, and newspaper to protect your counter tops. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Soapmaking is a time-honored tradition and necessity. The pioneers of America did it. England has its fine triple-milled soaps, but either way, the cave man did it first! It is a skill worth learning, and if you’re like me, you will fall in love with it.

I’m going to try to break the steps down for you and simply as I can. Just follow along with me and by the end of this, you should have your own, custom made hand-milled soap!

How do you make soap? A quick explaination:

There are two ways to make soap besides the melt and pour glycerin soap you can buy at your craft store.

  • Cold Process: Making the soap all the way to trace, mixing additives, then molding, still caustic.

(The advantages of Cold Process are, they are easier to work with when re-milling (to make double and triple milled soaps) and they are usually a harder bar. The draw backs? It takes about 6 weeks to cure (release all causticness of the lye). I’m impatient. 6 weeks is a long time)!

  • Hot process: Making the soap all the way to trace, then double boiling it for 1hr, then mix additives, then mold, caustic-free.

(The advantages of Hot Process are, the double boiling removes all caustic-ness from the soap, allowing you to use it as soon as it dries.  The draw backs are it takes more equipment (the canning pot), and it adds about an 1 1/2 hours to the process time. Still, I like to use my soaps immediately).

We will be using the Hot Process method.

So!

Gather your equipment . You will need:

  • A Plastic Pitcher: for mixing the lye and liquid. Get one that holds at least 3-4 cups of liquid. I like the hard plastic of tupperware.
  • Scales: digital are best, but I still use my dial scales. They were the first set I bought not knowing if I would love soap or not. They have not failed me yet!
  • A Large Enamel/Stainless Steal Pot: for melting the fats/oils. Make sure it is big enough to hold the fats plus the lye mixture comfortably and also small enough to fit down into a water bath canner. I just use an old stew pot.  will still fit inside a cold-water bath canner pot. I like enamel mixing with lye more than I like metal. DO NOT USE ALUMINUM!
  • Two Glass Candy Thermometers: get solid glass, not the kind with the cap on the top. Water can get into these when cleaning.
  • Two Long Plastic or Wooden Spoons: I like plastic
  • Extra Large Water Bath Canning Pot: preferably with the basket, or use some canning rings to hold the lg enamel/stainless steel pot off the bottom.
  • Some kind of Mold. It can be hard plastic, pvc pipe, wood, etc. Anything but aluminum or something hard to release the soap from the mold. They sell special molds for soap making. I got the hub to build the one you see here out of wood and a couple of long screws. The sides release from the mold, allowing for easy removal of the soap. I have two and that is enough for me and my family.

optional

  • Blender or Stick Blender: unless you have an extra hour or three.
  • Rubber Gloves, Goggles, and Newspaper: unless you’re hard-headed like me and forgo the precautions! Just be really careful when dealing with the lye!

I got all of my equipment from the thrift store up the road and  Wal-Mart, except for the canner pot. That was my moms that I lovingly inherited.

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Now for the most anticipated recipe and list of ingredients to gather:

Basic Soap Recipe

  • 6 oz Coconut Oil
  • 6 oz Olive Oil (the non-virgin kind)
  • 5 oz of Vegetable Shortening (try to get the kind that is made from only one oil, although mine is cottonseed oil and soy bean oil)  this only matters if you’re being creative and using the lye to fat ratio online calculator.
  • 2.6 oz Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 cup Distilled Water
Distilled water not pictured

Distilled water not pictured

optional additives

  • scented oils (essential or made for soap)
  • colorants
  • extra moisture
  • exfoliants or herbs

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Ok, so that’s the end of part 1. Please let me know if I have maybe left something out. I’ve been doing this for about six years and I may intend to say something, but actually only say it in my head and not on the instructions. Don’t judge me! 🙂 I will have the rest for you next week, I promise! So go check out your local thrift stores and order some Sodium Hydroxide and I will see you all next week!