Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hot Process Soap Making Saves the Day

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we've been making soap for many years using the cold process method of saponification.  You mix up your oils and lye and then pour it into a mold and let it cool slowly over a couple of days, then it finishes saponifying over the next few weeks.

I had heard about hot process soap making but never tried it before, so when I found Delores Boone's book Handcrafted Soap, which is all about hot process soap, I was excited to try it out.

It's easy.

EASY.

You make soap the regular way, then there are three options for heating for the final cooking:
1. Crock pot on LOW.
2. Stove top double boiler.  Temp should be high enough to maintain a slow boil of the surrounding water.
3. Oven on 180-200 degrees.

Decide what method you're going to use to heat the soap to cook it [above].    If you decide on methods 2. or 3. then use stainless steel or enamel pots.   Stainless steel is best.   Soap making is very hard on enamel pots. 

You can mix your lye and oils right in the pot you'll use to cook it in.  So nice!

Mix the oils and lye to trace [thick as gravy], add your color or botanicals.   Wait to add your scents until the end of cooking.   Put the soap in the heat source and check it every 15 minutes or so.  

1.  Crockpot: LOW.  1 hr. A large wave will start at the side and curl up toward the center.   When the wave has completely submerged the center 'island', the soap is done.   Shiny wet areas are glycerine.  You can stir it in.

2.  Double boiler:  Temp should be high enough to maintain a slow boil of the surrounding water.  45 minutes or so.  Stir every 15 minutes.   The outsides will start to curl in toward the center. When it looks translucent, but not wet after you stir it, it's done.   To make sure, carefully touch some of the soap on the spatula or spoon [It's HOT!] and rub it between your fingers.  It should not be gritty.  Keep cooking until it's smooth.

3.  Oven:  180-200 degrees.  30-40 minutes.  Check it every 20 minutes or so.   When the soap is translucent and wet looking on top [that's glycerine], the soap is done.

Once your soap is done cooking, you add the scents and stir and stir and stir to cool it down slowly.   Boone says to use a spatula and fold the soap over and over and over.   When everything is mixed up well, it will have the consistency of mashed potatoes and you can put it into molds to shape and to finish cooling.   

Once the soap is cool, you can use it right away.  

I had a bad batch of shortening that was making my soap do funny things and I used the hot process method as a way to save a batch of what had been going to be [past perfect future infinitive verb tense, in case you wondered] a simple cold process batch.   When the mix grained and went very thick immediately, I poured the whole batch into my slow cooker, turned it on LOW and used a hand blender to blend it until it looked smooth.  It was slow careful work.   Blend for a slow count of ten, then stir with the blender off for a bit so the motor didn't overheat.   As soon as the mixture looked smooth, I covered the crockpot and waited.   

Saved!  It totally worked!   The mix curled just like she said it would.   After an hour, it was done and we put in the scents and stirred and stirred.   When it was thick enough to spoon out like mashed potatoes, we put spoonfuls on freezer paper [shiny side up] like cookie dough and let it cool some.   When it was cool enough to handle, we put two of those 'cookies' together back to back and formed them into balls as well as we could. [Photo above!]  They're not beautiful, but they're fun and it saved the batch of soap.  K2 used the soap that night.   It's wonderful.  

This was a very fun way of making soap.  Perfect for last minute soap projects.  Instead of waiting weeks, you'll only need to wait a day to finish it.  We'll definitely do hot process soap again.

1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely great to know! Not that I've even started making CP soaps yet, but I love gathering trouble-shooting stories for those "just in case" occasions. :) I have an old crock pot with a chipped lid that we don't want to risk for food, so I'm going to try HP soaping with it.

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