Hand-milling or "rebatching" is a
good way to get the feel for soap-making without having to handle
any caustic ingredients. You can also use a double boiler, but we
recommend the crock pot method. The soap will take about 2 hours
Shredded Soap Base (click for recipe)
Crock pot, small or medium size
Glass measuring cup
Whole milk or 2%
Powdered milk (secret ingredient)
Any additives, such as herb, flowers, grains, cornmeal, oatmeal,
Colorant chips or liquid dye (optional)
Any fragrance oil or essential oil* (fragrance oils work great in
Optional: additional oils such as sweet almond, jojoba, vitamin E
Mold/s (lightly greased with Vaseline)
You may halve,
quarter or double this recipe as needed.
Start by measuring
out 4-6 cups of shredded base soap or as much as will fit into
your crock pot without going past the half-way mark. Measure out
about 1 cup of milk (you'll add this as needed, you may not use it
all or you may need to add a bit more). Add ½
cup of milk to the crock pot and the shredded soap, put the lid on
the pot and set it on the lowest temperature setting. Check the
mixture every 15 min. or so and gently stir with your wooden
spoon, but try not to make bubbles. If it looks very dry, add a
little more milk, and so on, until all the shredded soap is
After an hour or so, the mixture should have the consistency of
soft mashed potatoes. It also may look lumpy. Add about ½ cup of
powdered milk. The powdered milk will make the mixture very
smooth and easy to pour. Go ahead and add any additional
ingredients, such as Vitamin E or
grapefruit seed extract (which
act as a preservative).
You can also add additional oils ( ½ -1 tsp.) such as castor (for
shampoo like lather), almond oil or jojoba oil, etc. at this time.
When you're ready to add your colorant, herbs, and fragrance,
remove the amount of soap needed for your size mold from the crock
pot and place it into the measuring cup. Mix in your final
ingredients, amounts of color, herbs, fragrance will vary
depending on your liking, and pour into molds.
The soap should be easy to pour, but not too runny. Leave your
soaps in their molds overnight or until dry and remove the next
dry. If you're having difficulty removing soap from the mold,
place mold into the freezer for a few minutes for easier release.
Cure the soaps for 1 week on a drying rack. Wrap individual soaps
to preserve their scent.
As long as your crock pot is set at the lowest temperature, your
can leave your soap simmering until you're ready to mix and mold.
Just check it to be sure it doesn't get too dry.
24 oz. olive oil
24 oz. coconut oil
38 oz. vegetable shortening (Crisco)
12 oz. lye
32 oz. distilled water
3-4 oz. any essential or fragrance oil
Scale that weighs in pounds and
Large one gallon stainless steel or enamel pot (use this
exclusively for soap-making)
2 plastic pitchers, 2-3 quart size
Hand stick blender (optional, but makes tracing a breeze)
Plastic measuring cup 2-3 cup size
2 wooden spoons (one for the lye and one for the oils- use these
2 kitchen thermometers (one for the lye and one for the oils -
must read to over 100
Clear plastic container with snap-on lid 8" x 11" x 3" deep, or
wooden soap mold
lined with freezer paper
Large piece of cardboard the size of the plastic container - used
as a lid
Freezer paper or plastic garbage bags
to allow for the weight of the containers. Lye
(such as Red Devil), can be purchased at any hardware store.
ingredients should be weighed.
Begin by putting on your
goggles and rubber gloves and weigh out 12 oz. of lye into one of
the plastic containers. Weigh out 32 oz. of distilled water
into the other container. Slowly and in a steady stream pour the
lye into the water, stirring until dissolved. Do this in a well
ventilated area and try not to splash. Let the lye/water mixture
sit until the temperature reaches between 90-100 degrees. This
may take several hours, but if you're in a hurry you can place the
container in a cold water bath to bring down the temperature
In the meantime, get your oils ready by weighing out 24 oz. of
coconut oil and 38 oz. of vegetable shortening and placing them
into your pot. Heat them up just until they melt and then remove
from heat and add the 24 oz. of olive oil. Stir to incorporate
and put one of the thermometers into the pot to check the
temperature. The oils will also have to be between 90-100
degrees. Both the lye/water mixture and the oils will have to be
at the same temperature before incorporating them.
Prepare your additives. Start with just 3-4 oz. of essential oil
or a combination of essential oils (blend). (*Note-some essential
oil scents are stronger, so use less; some are lighter and you may
add more depending on your taste). Also, measure out 1/4 cup of
any dried herbs or flowers (optional). Its best to start simple
for your first batch. You can also measure out 1-3 tablespoons of
pigment (optional) for coloring.
Grease the clear plastic container that you're using as your mold
and place a piece of freezer paper on the bottom of the container
for easy release OR line the container with a plastic garbage bag.
Check the temperature of the
lye and oils. When they reach between 90-100 degrees, its time to
"make soap." Slowly pour the lye/water mixture into the oils,
stirring continuously. You may continue to stir using the wooden
spoon or switch to the stick blender. Stir or blend in all the
lye and you will begin to see the mixture thicken. Just as the
mixture thickens to the point where you see tracks or "trace" in
the soap, add essential oils and any dried ingredients or
colorants. Remove about 2 cups of the mixture and add the
colorant to the 2 cups. Then add that back into the pot.
Continue to stir or blend until you see designs on the top of the
soap (this is known as tracing and can happen in 10-40 minutes
depending on the temperature of your mixture). Quickly add the
mixture to the mold. Cover with the lid. *Note* if the soap
mixture does not fill the mold to the top, place the piece
cardboard on top of the soap and then put the lid on the
container. Wrap in blankets and place in an undisturbed area for
18 hours. Remove the blankets and lid and leave the soap in the
mold for another 12 hours.
You should have a nice hard block of fresh soap which you can now
remove from the mold. Let the block of soap sit for a day to firm
up or slice into bars or chunks immediately. Then place bars in an
open box or drying rack for 2 weeks or longer. The soap should be
cured completely after 2 weeks, but the longer it cures, the
milder and harder it will be.
These recipes are courtesy of the
Ponte Vedra Soap Shop.