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.
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.
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:
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!
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!
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...