Monday, April 20, 2015

Soap Class

The local garden center offered a class in beginning soap making a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd go and learn more. A few years ago I made a block of soap at a friend's house, but I was mostly just watching her do it and have long since forgotten what to do. I do remember that the mixing up of the lye scared me a little so I've been hesitant to try it since. A young couple who own My Dearest Danae taught the class and provided all the tools and ingredients.

The class was on a Saturday afternoon and cost $30 and lasted about 2 hours. The process took less time than usual because the teacher had made up a lye solution in advance. The chemical reaction with lye and water heats the mixture which has to cool before making the soap. I didn't realize making soap was all about formulas and chemistry.

We used this recipe (all ingredients were weighed on scales):
3.9 oz. lye
8.3 oz. water
12 oz. olive oil
6 oz. coconut oil
7 oz. palm oil
1 oz. essential oil

I have also learned that you must be very precise with your ingredients when making soap. We measured within 0.1 oz. with each ingredient. This is something I have to remind myself because I'm a "it's close enough" kind of cook. I am still surprised when things don't turn out properly when I have made a few substitutions and adjustments.

When we were finished, we took our block of soap home to dry. After a day, I took the soap out of the mold and cut it into 11 bars. The bars need to dry further for another 3-4 weeks.

The class was held in the owner's house next door.

The soap recipe is very precise.

Here are all the oils melted and mixed together.

After adding the lye, which looks like cloudy water, you blend it quickly with a hand mixer.

I added lavender essential oil and dried lavender to my soap mixture.

We used simple cardboard juice cartons as our mold.

I sprinkled more lavender on top of mine.

Here are the ladies from the class.

Here are my bars set out to dry for a few weeks. It makes the spare room smell lovely.

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