Saturday, September 25, 2010

CrockPot Hot Process Soap: Attempt 2

I recently decided that I was going to make my own soap, preferably castile soap (soap make from 100% olive oil). I did A LOT of online research and talked to a few people, it was time to take the plunge. I will admit that I was scared but I did it. I decided to make castile soap because I usually buy Dr. Bronner's (even though Dr. Bronner's isn't true castile soap) and I can get olive oil for cheap. Cold process soap has a 2-3 month wait before the soap could be used.........I don't have the kind of time, Christmas is exactly three months away and people are getting soap this year! I found three good posts for making bar soap using the crockpot hot process method that I followed (liquid soap is another day), they were from Soap-Making-Essentials, Such Treasures and Orthogonal Thought.

So I setup my lye prep area. Professional soap makers will probably laugh at me but hey, it's my first time.

And I setup my mixing and cooking area

I mixed my lye together and let it cool. In my research I found that the temperature of my lye didn't really matter. There's an ideology about soapmaking called the room temperature method, which basically says that I can mix my lye the night before, leave it overnight and use it the next day. I don't have children, so this is a great option for me. I really didn't want to fool with taking the temperature of the lye solution and the heating the oil. If you have kids and/or pets, but don't have a room that you can lock them out of this would probably be a bad idea. I've read a lot of horror stories about kids that accidentally poured lye on themselves.

I measured out my lye and water, I find out how much lye and water I needed at SoapCalc
Poured the lye into the water while stirring, and continued to stir until the water turned relatively clear again. I don't remember anyone saying that the water would get cloudy, so I was a little freaked out when the water turned white. You MUST do this in a well ventilated area. This chemical reaction kicks out A LOT of heat and A LOT of fumes.  
After the lye solution cools down, pour it in the oils (I'm using all olive oil so it didn't need to be heated). It immediately started to saponify, which is what made the light color under the oil. 
It took me 15 minutes of blending and stirring to reach trace. I hear that it takes longer to achieve trace with 100% olive oil soap, than with mixtures of oils. When I made Attempt 1, I used 85% olive oil to 15% coconut oil, I think it traced in about 10 minutes.

From here I turned the crockpot on low, put the lid on and let it go for about an hour or so. While I was waiting I cleaned everything in hot soapy water with LOTS of vinegar and started making oreo cookies (that's the next post). After an hour, I stirred my soap and it looked like this:
It wasn't quite done it, it was still soupy, kind of the texture of applesauce. So I put the top back on and let it for another 30-45 minutes or so. At that point I achieved the mash potato stage, which means my soap is done cooking........YAY!

I spooned this into a glass loaf pan that I covered in plastic wrap, during Attempt 1 I used unlined muffin pans but I had a very hard time getting the soap out. It works's just not the prettiest because of the skewer marks from digging the soap out. Anyways, this is what the soap looks like now:
I'll come back tomorrow once I get it out the loaf pan. It's interesting because at one point last night it turned a really dark green. I think this is because I used really good extra virgin olive oil for this. I know what you're thinking why would I use high quality olive oil to make soap? Well, the gourmet market by my house sells it for $2.99/lb so it was the most economical option. I haven't gotten to adding fragrance and color yet but soon.

I'll post more on this tomorrow. Until then.....

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