Make Your Own Soap

For those brave souls who are willing to try it on their own . . . a little tutorial on making cold process goat's milk soap . . . it's really a lot easier than you would think. For those not so brave souls who don't want to try it on their own . . . there will be another soap making class next fall, Lord willing!

Terri's Goat's Milk Soap Recipe:

This recipe makes a great, hard bar of soap with lots of lather and bubbles!

20 Ounces Lard
12 Ounces Olive Oil
8 Ounces Coconut Oil
2 Ounces Castor Oil
5.7 Ounces Lye
15.2 Ounces Goat Milk (Previously frozen, and then thawed to slushy stage)
Scents (I prefer to use 2 ounces) or Additives of Choice

*Rendered Lard (your own or from the butcher) works best in this recipe.*

Another simple recipe that I use for laundry detergent (This tends to make a soft bar of hand soap, but it is great for shredding into laundry soap since it dissolves nicely in the washing machine.):

Laundry Bar:

20 ounces Canola Oil
8 ounces Coconut Oil
12 ounces Olive Oil
5.6~ounces Lye
14.4~ ounces Goat Milk (Previously frozen, and then thawed to slushy stage)
Scents (I prefer to use 2 ounces) or Additives of Choice

*Prepare your molds~ Spray plastic molds with cooking spray. Line other molds with plastic wrap.
*Measure the lye, set aside.
*Heat oils to 90 degrees in a stainless steel pan.
*Pour slushy goats milk into a stainless steel container, place in a sink with ice water. Slowly add the lye to the milk while continuously mixing with a wooden spoon. Cool to 90 degrees.
*Add the warm oil to the milk solution and mix with a stick blender (off and on) until light trace.
*At light trace add any scents, colors or exfoliates.
*Continue to mix. At trace pour into prepared molds.
*Wrap with plastic wrap, then cover the mold with a towel.
*After 24-48 hours cut the bars (wear plastic gloves as the lye can still burn your hands). Allow soap to cure 3-8 weeks before use.

Supplies needed: Stainless steel pail, stainless pan for the stove top, scale, thermometer, wooden spoon, spatula, electric wand mixer, soap mold, saran wrap or cooking spray, plastic gloves, safety glasses, newspaper, old bathroom towel, vinegar (None of the mixing items should be used for food use again).

Always wear plastic gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection when making soap.

A great website for ordering everything soapy:  Brambleberry.

To start with, prepare your work sight and everything you will need to make soap. I haven't had a problem creating soap in my kitchen, with the windows open for ventilation. FYI~ only use glass or stainless steel to mix your soap in, and don't plan on using them again as they could possibly retain some lye. I use stainless steel milk pails as they are high enough to prevent spills.

I lay out newspapers at each of my work stations (next to the stove top, next to the sink, and on the island where I will set my pail to mix) for easy clean up and to catch any spills.

Once you have all of your supplies out, start by preparing your soap molds. If you are using a wooden soap mold (like I am), you will line it with saran wrap, taping it down as needed. My molds measure 15" long, by 2 3/4" high, and 3 1/2" wide inside diameter. They are the perfect size for this recipe, and you end up with 13 nice sized bars of soap.

Spray your plastic molds lightly with cooking spray. Any plastic container, or even a cardboard box lined with saran wrap will work fine. Just be sure that you don't make your soap too thin, or else it will curl as it dries.
Measure your oils (using a scale), and pour into your stainless steel pan to go onto the stove top.
Pour your slushie goat's milk into your pail, and set in a sink with ice water. Pre-measure your lye and set aside. When everything is prepared, it's time to heat up your oils. You want to reach a temperature of 90 degrees. The oils heat up rather quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Once you reach temperature, shut the heat off and set the pan aside if you are using an electric stove to prevent overheating.

Now, let me put the fear of God into you about lye. Lye is caustic: it will burn, it will blow up your kitchen, and you have the potential to lose your eyesight and will never be able to gaze upon the love of your life or your sweet little dumplings ever again if you are not careful. Be warned! And then just be cautious. NEVER, NEVER pour your liquids into your lye. Always pour the lye into your liquid~ slowly.

If you happen to get lye splashed on you, or even start to feel any tingling while making your soap, pour vinegar over the affected skin. Eyes would need to be rinsed out with water, and then seek immediate medical attention (but of course you're wearing your protective glasses). Don't hover over your pail! Don't ask me why . . . Turtle necks are great to wear while making soap.

Slowly, pour your lye into your slushie milk in the sink of water and ice. Your milk will start out white, but you will soon see it turning yellow. If you pour the lye too fast, it will actually burn and even curdle your milk. The slower you pour your lye, the lighter your soap will be. The quicker you pour, the darker your soap will be.

The lye is going to heat up the milk: sometimes very fast, sometimes slow, depending on how cold your milk and your sink is, and how fast you are pouring. You are trying to achieve a nice, steady increase in temperature. If the colors stay a pretty yellow it is a good indicator that you're milk is not too hot and not too cold~ orange means "too hot" and add you need to add more ice to your sink.

Keep stirring as you are pouring the lye. Watch your temperature closely~ you are trying to achieve 90 degrees. Add more ice to the sink as needed, or take the pail out of the sink if necessary. You will want to tip your pail to get a good temperature measurement so that you get a true reading.

Once you are at 90 degrees, take your pail out of the sink and put it on your newspaper lined work station. Slowly add your warm oils while mixing with your wooden spoon. Now it's time to start blending. A stick blender works great for this (but remember, you can't use it again for food use). It is possible to mix by hand with a wooden spoon, but it will take about 2-3 hours of constant mixing.

The mixture will start out pretty thin, but within 10-15 minutes you will begin to have a pudding consistency. This is called "trace." You are looking for a light trace so that you can add your scents or additives. When your mixture starts to get thicker, take your wand and drizzle the soap across the top of the mixture~ if it holds itself up, you are at trace.

At a light trace you can add your scents and additives. Watch your soap carefully at this point. This is prime time for seizing (when additives make your soap instantly become rock hard). I have personally never had any soap seize, but there's always a first time. More often I find that the soap thins out as you have added more liquids. Mix until you get back to a thicker trace, keeping in mind that your blender is warm by now, too, and adding to the heat of your soap mixture. It is fine to let the soap sit quietly for a couple/few minutes rather than burn out your blender or overheat your soap.

At this point, since I am layering this batch of soap, I will pour part of my batch back into my oil pot.

Next I added my colorant and mixed again.

When my mixture is back to a nice trace again, it's time to pour it all into the prepared soap molds.I scrape off every last little bit with the spatula.And then pour.
Next, I pour my light color on top.
Because I used Hazelnut Coffee scent, I sprinkled the top with coffee grounds to look pretty.

Then I cover the soap with saran wrap, and wrap it all up in an old bathroom towel to incubate over night. To prevent soda ash you will want to gently press down the saran wrap to reduce any air getting to your soap. *After having some recent batches of soap overheat I have been experimenting with not insulating, and even popping the soap mold in the freezer, and have had great results. The benefits of a gel phase or no gel phase is another post for another day.*

After 24-48 hours it's time to cut your soap. I use a cheese cutter to get perfect sized bars, but you can also use fishing line, knives, or fancy crinkle potato slicers (just remember, don't use them for food again). The lye can still burn you at this point, so always wear gloves while cutting your fresh soap.

Find a spot to let your soap cure. I have a drying rack, lined with newspaper, in an out of the way closet. Basements are too damp to allow proper curing, and warm spots will dry out your soap too quick. After 3-8 weeks your soap will be fully cured and ready to use. Soap never goes bad, and only gets better with age.

Enjoy the benefits of your very own homemade goats milk soap! 

Soap is great, but have you found eternal life?