soap: part I

soap: part I

when i got my gazillion metric tons of lard (ok, i exaggerate), i knew i couldn’t use it all – i only make pies a couple times a year, and even then i use half lard, half butter. what to do, what to do.
after a google search, one of the options was to make soap. i decided to give it a try. i found a recipe for lard soap, cold-press method. while cold-press method involves less cooking, it does take longer for the soap to “cure” – almost a month-long wait after actually making the soap, versus a couple days. if i do this again, i’ll probably buy an old crockpot and try the hot-press method.
after some more research on soaps, it turns out that all-lard soap, while moisturizing, is very hard and not very latherific. i decided to add some coconut oil and castor oil to my mixture (castor oil helps with lather; coconut oil helps with softness).
the fat:

  • 400 grams of lard
  • 250 grams of coconut oil
  • 50 grams castor oil

Lye solution:

  • 80 grams lye (sodium hydroxide)
  • 228 grams distilled water

gogglesmeasure everything out, and use a completely separate container for mixing the lye (apart from your food – i went to goodwill and got a used bowl, pot, and whisk for this endeavor). mix the lye into the water (this is apparently VERY IMPORTANT as every website i visited had in call caps LYE INTO WATER, not WATER INTO LYE). lye is pretty acidic. i wore goggles and latex gloves while i mixed. mix until the water is clear.
lyethe lye also gets pretty hot, so while you’re letting that cool down, melt the fats on the stove in your old and busted pot. once they are about the same temperature, although i think my thermometer is wonky and i didn’t have them the same temp, mix the lye solution into the fats.
now you’re supposed to use a stick blender to mix it up, but i thought, eeeeehhhhh, why waste my stick blender attachment? i’ll just whisk it…. yeah….. after about 15 minutes, i got my stick blender out and went to town. it only took another 5 minutes or so to get to the “trace” stage, where if you drizzle it, it’ll leave a trace on the top.
mixed in my lavender and rosemary mix as well as a little lavender oil and purple coloring. pouring it into a bread pan, and now it’s sitting in the basement waiting 1-2 days to turn out and cut before curing.
update to come when it gets turned out!

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