Friday, 19 October 2012
I like to colour them and this is a plant based annatto seed colourant. We usually use it to colour cheese, but it works well for soap too.
I have lots of books on soap making but in the end I tend to just drop into Australian Soapmaker. They have a great calculator that you feed in the oils you propose to use and it calculates the amount of caustic soda, water (though I replace the water with goats milk) and essential oils.
While it could potentially be a dangerous sport, donning safety glasses, long sleeves and rubber gloves and having a clean, clear work space, no children and everything I need at hand it's easy. Kind of like making a super large batch of fudge.
The first time I made soap I just stirred it by hand (for an hour and a half) till I achieved what they call trace - when you dribble it over the surface of the soap mix sits proud. The second time I used an egg beater (electric) and acheived it in 20 mins. The trick is not to get it to saponify too quickly, but also not to fall asleep over it either.
I use a shallow plastic tray about 50 centimetres by 25 for each batch. This was last weeks, this weeks is organic vanilla and cinnamon oil. I'll plonk in real cinnamon to give it a brownish colour. But first I'll take out a litre or so of white soap first, put the vanilla oil in that and mix it back in to make it multicoloured like this batch.
Once cut up it will take a few months to cure.