I have made my second batch of soap.
I use the tool for calculating fat to lye ratio found at http://www.soapcalc.com
I use Lard for my fats, although I can use any fat, really. If you look at the list of fats, it is amazing what is available to use for soapmaking. Including Beeswax! I never thought of beeswax as a fat, but if you think about it, it makes sense.
I chose to make soap using Lard, because it is cheap, easily available, and the soap is incredibly hard. The soap suds are very fine, and I will probably include some Coconut oil in the future to make bigger suds.
My first batch was okay, but I wasn’t prepared at how long it took to saponify. I thought I was doing something wrong, again. My batch before my first batch (my experimental batch) was very lye-heavy. I was not very careful with my measurements, and I don’t think my scale was accurate. No sweat, I shaved it fine and added it to my homemade laundry soap. Works just fine.
Back to my first batch. It didn’t trace the way I expected. I was very certain my measurements were correct, since I got a new scale, and was extremely careful checking and double checking my weights. But, it was not getting to the trace point the way I expected. I stirred and stirred with a wooden spoon for over an hour, with no trace. So, I poured it into the plastic-bag lined pan and set it aside. I went to work, and I didn’t want to even look at it until my next day off.
The fourth day, i was surprised it was set up enough to cut into bars. The test for lye was negative, which is positive. (Touch the soap to the tongue. If you feel a sharp zing, it needs to cure some more) I use it in the bath, and it is wonderful. No scent, no colour, all natural.
Now, my second batch. I tried to hot-process it, using the technique I found on Youtube … with one exception. I did not have a stick blender. After a while, I used the beater I had on hand, and after a while, I let the slow cooker do it’s thing. BUT, I was unprepared for how quickly it boiled over. That lye solution was all over my counter, eating the outer part of my slow cooker. When making soap, the thing to remember is that lye is a base, and the antidote is an acid. An easy acid is vinegar in a spray bottle. I sprayed vineger all over everything (except the soap). I poured it into a glass 9×13 pan and let it set up.
Except, it didn’t set up. When I turned it upside down, I didn’t check to make sure the soap had all saponified. It has separated into a fat layer and a lye layer. Lye solution again spilled out all over my counter. Again, the vinegar, and again the soap was sent into isolation until I could figure out how to make this work.
After more than a week, I decided to rebatch the soap. I cut it fairly fine, added a cup of water and put everything — fat layer, what was left of the lye layer and water — into the slow cooker, and melted everything down. This time, I have a stick blender, and blended the snot out of it. Then I poured it into the glass 9×13 pan.
Twenty-four hours later, it is set up, but very soft. BUT, it won’t come out of the pan! I for got to line the pan, darn it. I cut it into chunks, and let it sit a spell. If all else failed, i could always dig it out and re-rebatch it. But, I was able to get the chunks out in fairly chunky shape.
As it dries, the soap looks better. It will shrink quite a bit because of the water content, but it is still an acceptable — if ugly — cleansing bar.