Friday, March 11, 2011

Soap Making 101

Here on the Lazy W Diamond Ranch in which I call home,  we have a herd on Nubian Dairy Goats.   I have owned this herd for the better part of 16 years.  Though the goats may not be the same as 16 years ago they are still part of the original herd.    I started milking goats to supply our family with fresh milk, cheese, yogurt and kefir.    Well as time moved on and I increased the size of the herd,  one thing became clear, "We have more milk than we know what to do with"  So my good friend Lori being a great partner in crime took to milking and relieved me of a few goats.   Well not only did I have a surplus of milk but Lori did as well.  So what do you do with all that surplus?  You make soap and open a business together. 

Many people ask what goes into making soap.  Here is a very simple version of the process we use in making our hand crafted soap. 
This is the oils that we use.  Coconut, palm, and olive oil ready to be heated to 80 degrees and melted.


Mixture at Trace
 In this photo the oils have melted and reached 80 degrees.  The lye has cooled to 80 degrees and the milk has been added to the lye water.   The lye milk mixture is then added to the melted oil and blended with a stick blender for several minutes until the mixture reaches "trace", meaning everything is blended so well it thickens like pudding.


Once the mixture reaches trace it is heated and cooked at 195 degree.  During that time the soap mixture changes several times.  At the beginning of the heating process the soap becomes very thick and almost solid again.   Then after that is becomes very runny and looks like applesauce, as seen in the photo to the right. 



                                                                                                                            


 
After about an hour and a half of cooking at 195 degrees and many changes the consistency and color, the lye cooks out of the soap and the mixture once again becomes creamy and smooth.   To the left you can see it is now time to add any of our special nutrients, coloring and essential oils.  This has to been done quickly, as the soap at this point will continue to thicken and becomes very hard to mold.



Lavender Soap just poured in the mold.
Now it is time to  put the soap mixture into the molds.  Once the soap is in the molds we let it cool about 12 hours before we remove  batch from the mold.   




To make un-molding easier we usually chill the soap at 0 degrees for about a half an hour.  Once chilled the soap usually comes out of the mold fairly easily.   Below is a batch of Lavender and our new scent Vanilla Bean after just being taken out of the molds.    As you can see the molds leave hatch marks on the bottom of the soap batch.  It makes it easier to cut even sized bars. 




 
Now that the batch is unmolded it is ready to be cut into individual bars.

Although at this point the soap is safe to use we allow it to cure for two weeks. During the curing process the soap which is very soft in the beginning, continues to dry and harden.


From the start of the soap making process to the point of molding the soap takes about 5 hours.  Each batch is handmade from the beginning to the end and because of this there is differences in each individual batch and bar.  I hope that you enjoyed this little snap shot of what goes goes into making soap here at Double L Goat Dairy.  Double L Country Store.









1 comment:

  1. Yahoo! So glad you are doing a blog and look forward to more posts!

    ReplyDelete