Sunday, October 03, 2010

Now we're cookin'...
Step three ~ Cooking your hot processed soap

I guess while my latest batch of soap is cooking in the crockpot ~ I'm making Cinnamon - Clove with a touch  of orange ~ I thought I'd work on the post for the third step.
Today, we're going to cook your soap!

Well, actually, if you're following along, you should be doing all of this in one day.  Except, of course, you could get your supplies together the day before but who has room to leave all that stuff on the kitchen counter for a day?

Cooking soap in the Crockpot:

We left off yesterday when our soap had achieved trace.
It was thick enough that the trails formed when stirring, remained on the surface for a few seconds, resembling cake batter.  At that point, we added the grated vanilla beans and turned the crockpot on high.

Be sure and cover the crockpot.
Keep the cover on throughout the cooking process.

I like to record the time that I start cooking my soap.  In hopes that someday, that will give me a rough idea of how long to expect it to need to cook. 

This is what it looked like after about 10 minutes:

I just checked today's batch and it looks about the same after 10 minutes.

While your soap is cooking, you could prepare some molds to put it in once it's done.
You can use common household items such as a cardboard box, lined with freezer paper (shiny side up).

After about 30 minutes, your soap should resemble this:

I just checked today's batch and it's close to this. 
 It reminds me of a stuffed crust, cheese pizza!

You'll see the outer edges bubbling up and turning over on themselves.  I noticed that mine was cooking more on one side than the other so I rotate the crockpot a half turn each time I checked it.  I guess my kitchen counter (or whole kitchen!) is crooked. 
You do not need to take the cover off at this time.  If your crockpot doesn't have a clear lid, it is okay to peak inside to check progress, but don't stir the soap yet.

Once the whole batch looks like it has folded over on it's self, (mine took a little over an hour) and there is no puddle of uncooked stuff (clearly, a scientific term)  in the middle, you can remove the cover and stir your soap.  You may notice that the soap seems to rise up, inside the crockpot, as it cooks.  This is normal.  This is why you want to keep a close eye on it.  It could possibly rise high enough to pop the lid off of the crockpot!
Then you have a REAL mess.

The above photo is the soap right after I stirred it. 
The texture is interesting when you stir the soap.  Real 'airy' and kind of sticky ~ it made me think of a blend of cotton candy and toffee!
(Mmmmm  ~ I'm getting HUNGRY!)

Put the cover back on and continue cooking.

The soap will rise much more quickly the second time.
Watch it closely. I set my kitchen timer and check it every 10 minutes.

I did have time to start a batch of pumpkin spice cookies


As the soap rises and turns over on it's self the second time, you'll notice it is getting a shiny surface.  It almost looks like it's mixed with Vaseline.  That is what you are looking for!

See how shiny?
When it has completely turned over again and is all shiny, your soap should be done.  Remove the cover and stir the soap.

This soap turned dark because of the bits of vanilla bean added to it prior to cooking.   Vanilla scented Essential Oil  will have the same effect. 

You can test your soap to make sure it's done by taking a little bit that has cooled off of the spoon.  Roll it into a small ball.  It should feel waxy.   The sure-fire test is the pH test.  To make sure there is no more active lye left in the soap, you can wet the ball of soap that you made and run a pH test strip over it.  Another test ~ the one that I use because so many people recommend it ~ is to touch the soap with the tip of your tongue.  If there is still active lye, the tip of your tongue will tingle.  If it tingles, your soap is not done and you should put the cover back on for 10 more minutes and then test again.  Once your tongue doesn't tingle or your pH strip turns blue, your soap is done and safe to use.  For my first three batches of soap this has taken anywhere from an hour and a half to two and a half hours.

My cookies were done as well!

Now is the time to add your fragrance oils. 
I use "Essential Oils" because they last longer, are natural and work better than "fragrance oils" with hot process soap. I didn't add any fragrance to this soap as I wanted to try an unscented batch. 

I wish I had used a fragrance because I don't like the smell of this unscented batch.

QUICKLY   glop (that's the scientific, soapmaker's term for 'put') your soap into your prepared mold/s.  I opted not to use the box I had prepared because I didn't have enough soap to make a thick enough bar in that big of a space.  Fortunately, I have a couple of silicone molds that I bought, online.

I also used an empty toilet paper roll to make some tiny, round bars.
I figure they'll be good for samples.
The same method applies:  spoon the soap into the tube, tamp down, spoon more, tamp more, press from the top.  You can see that a little seeped out the bottom of the tube.  That's not a problem, it'll come off when we take the soap out.

You want to get the soap into the molds fast because it will quickly become too thick to shape!  As you add the soap to the mold, tap it down on the counter top to remove air bubbles.  Once you have all of the soap in the mold/s, put a piece of plastic wrap (or waxed paper) over the top and press down, gently to further compress the soap.  Use your hand, over the plastic wrap, to smooth the surface of the soap as much as you can.  Hot Process soap is not as smooth as cold process soap.  It is more of a primitive-type bar.  I, personally, like that. 

A good afternoon's work!

Set your molds on a cooling rack and let them sit over night.
The next morning, you can remove the soap and cut it into bars!  (or whatever shape you wish ~ think cookie cutters)

Removing the soap:

Loosen the mold
If you used a tray or box lined with freezer paper,
lift it out of the box.

After loosening all 4 sides, the soap should pop right out of the silicone mold.

To remove from paper TP or papertowel tubes, simply peel off the paper tube:

And slice:

I bought a soap cutter (because I'm so rich) 
*I wish there was a sarcasm  key on my computer!"
A butcher knife would work but not as nicely.

My cutter has a ruler on the cutting edge and I used that to score the loaf at one inch intervals so I'd have uniform bars of soap.

Then I cut along the scores:

Even though hot processed soap is safe to use, once it has cooled, it is better to let it stand and "cure" for a week or two.  During this time, any excess moisture will evaporate, leaving you with a nice, hard bar of soap that will last a LONG time. 

It also makes your house smell good ~ if you used an essential oil to scent your soap.
I'm adding cinnamon, clove and orange to the batch that's cooking today!


I am by NO means an expert soap maker.  I am learning as I go along.  Feel free to  leave questions or comments in the comments section of any of the soapmaking posts.  If I don't know the answer, I'll try to help you find someone who does!

Be careful when working with lye!  I do the "tongue test' to see when my soap is done.  If you chose to use this method, you do so at your own risk.

The following are a list of helpful links.  There are MANY more out there.  You can "Google" just about anything!    I hope you enjoyed our soapmaking adventure!

Useful  Links:

There are SO many more links out there.  Blogs too!  But my soap is done and I need to go set down pallets because I've got HAY coming for my sheep!

DREAM says...

Did she say HAY???
Oh, happy dance!  I get hay!  I LOVE hay!
I thought we were NEVER  going to get hay again!
Come on, Mom!  You better get those pallets down.  I've got HAY coming!"

I'm on my way, Dreamer...


  1. Thanks for sharing the photos of the crockpot soap Nancy. I've never tried it so it was nice to see the in progress photos. I always make CPOP (cold process oven processed) goatmilk soap.

  2. Marilyn7:32 PM

    That soap looks good enough to eat. Careful not to do a mix up with the cookies. :)

  3. Anonymous8:46 PM

    Hi Nancy,

    Your step by step for hot process goat's milk soap in a crock pot is quite amazing and helpful! It looks wonderful, too!!! I made some sage soap this weekend--the VERY SIMPLE kind--just milling a block of soap I already had on hand, melting it, and mixing it with my home-grown, rubbed sage and a green wax dye I had stashed in my soap-making box, then putting it in cute molds. It turned out great and is curing now! I'm practicing for trying this with my two youngest grand-daughters in two weeks when we bravely take them (without thier parents, older sister, or little brother) for a weekend at our cabin. No lye involved, thank goodness! They will enjoy stirring in the lavendar flowers, essential oil, and purple wax dye, and then helping me put it in molds. Then they will have something to give family for Christmas. Maybe we'd better do a batch of Fisherman's soap for their Dad, too.

    So Dream was happy to get her HAY from Russ today!! THAT's Good!!! Tell her next time one of Godiva's people comes, it's cookies and pumpkins we're bringing. Dream and her flock are very spoi...I mean special!


  4. Your soap looks great! Fun isn't it!

  5. Oh, lovely - my favorite scents. Vanilla, cinnamon, clove, orange - what could possibly be better than that? I bet the soap and the cookies, between them, made your house smell heavenly!! Brilliant woman...

    (does $14 count as 'lots of money', as well as 'more than 10'? If so, I'm rich. Well, at least it means I made more than I lost, which is more than Scott can say!!)

  6. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Nancy -

    Those molds look a lot lke the silicone baking molds that you can get at Walmart/Target/Michael's/Fleet Farm etc. They come in many different shapes, including simple squares, rectangles, and mini squares.

    Is there anything I can pick up for you in the cities? (Oils, spices, etc?) I SHOULD have a vehicle this weekend, and Michael is going to his dad's house, so I should be free to come down and play, I mean work!

    Love ya!

    Katie in WI

  7. Hey Nancy!! I see that my comment on this didn't make it to your blog--I didn't wait to see if I'd put the right letters in for the word verification, and I guess I didn't...But anyway, I will just say (again) that your soap looks beautiful!! I can't believe that you were actually multi-tasking when you were making it! :-))) But you've given me something to maybe consider trying sometime--After I've eaten a few cookies of course!

  8. This was really cool--I've never seen the soap-making process before!



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