I’ve been meaning to make some more soap for a while, and after a couple of people mentioned it in response to my face scrub post, I figured I should probably get on with it.
I’ve made soap before – you can see some of the results here. Gosh, I love blogging – apparently I first made soap nearly three years ago! And that the batch I made in April 2011 has lasted almost a year – and there’s still a couple of bars left.
Anyway, if you clicked on that link, you might notice that my previous soap looks, er, rather less like mashed potato than this version…
What happened? Well, I don’t know whether you know anything about soap making (everything I know I learned from here). Basically, you mix hot oil with caustic soda, and then stir it til it gets a bit thicker (there’s a bit more to it than that…). Usually I stir with a wooden spoon. For a long time. A very long time. On and off for a good four hours, in fact.
It does make soap making seem like rather a chore.
I read somewhere that you could use a stick blender, and it would mix in about 5 minutes. I tried it when I made soap with Fay, and it worked a treat.
So yesterday, I heated up my oils – and threw an extra type of oil in with my usual mix, without measuring it, of course. I got the caustic soda ready, and when they both seemed round about the right temperature (of course I’ve broken the thermometer, so was guessing), I poured the caustic soda into the oil.
Normally, not much happens. Last night, however, it started to fizz and froth and foam… I left it for a bit, thinking maybe the oil was a bit hot, but it was still frothy, so I mixed it anyway. It mixed in about 30 seconds flat.
Things were either going astonishingly well, or ominously strange – time will tell.
I dolloped it into the moulds (and it was definitely a dollop, rather than a pour…), and I turned my back to grab a tea towel, and when I looked again, the whole thing was rising and frothing and bubbling like lava.
Still, it seems to have set, and is just a little bit lumpy round the edges in places, so I’m going to leave it for a few weeks and see what happens. I’m imagining it might just be a little more brittle than my normal soap (because it’s full of air pockets), or maybe it’ll disintegrate more quickly, who knows.
If I can make soap in 15 minutes flat though, there’ll be no stopping me – even if it does look like mash…