Friday, November 2, 2012

Revving Up The Soaping!

Goats Milk, Oatmeal, Cinnamon Soap.
CSA is finished, the Global Market is finished, the gardens are largely finished.  What's left?  Making soap!  I'm getting ready to participate in some craft fairs.  I was able to make small batches of soap thru the summer, which sold nicely at the Global Market, with great feedback from customers.  One needs volume to participate in a craft show, though, so I've been soaping up a storm!  I've been aiming for a batch a day...although that hasn't always happened!

Like everything we do, we're looking to make soap as simply and naturally as possible.  No swirling, twirling, no glittering or glamming!  We're making skin-nourishing goats milk soap with no artificial colours, no artificial fragrances, no preservatives, no chemical sudsers - just natural ingredients!  We're super-fatting with fresh, fluid goats milk - no dehydrated milk powder here!  It's harder than you might think to find info, so a certain amount of experimenting is going on in the kitchen!  Farmer Man and I, and a few friends, have been washing up with some odd-looking, but still very usable soaps!

Our 'mainstay' soap is a cold process soap which we're calling our 'Simple Soap': just coconut oil, olive oil and lots of goats milk.  All ingredients that are good for your skin, and coconut oil makes a nice lather.  We'd love to keep our soap ingredients 'local', but it's hard to make good soap with just what is available: canola oil, sunflower oil and hemp oil!  We could get into rendering lard, a classic soap ingredient but...we'd need a lot and I just don't really want to get into it!  We have also made a hemp soap - very popular at the Global Market and a good pairing with our hemp lotion bar!

To keep our soaps the lightest colour possible, we are freezing the mixes as soon as they go in the mold.  The common practice, in cold process soap making, is to insulate the soap in the mold and leave it 24 hours.  During this time the soap goes through a 'gel' phase, during which the chemical process involving the fats, oils and lye is completed.  A lot of heat is generated during this phase which can scorch milk fats and darken the colour of the bar.  We can keep more of the milk solids unscathed and the colour lighter by avoiding the gel phase.  Our soap will be a little softer, and may take longer to cure, but more benefits to the skin!  We're making most of our soaps in flat tray molds, so it freezes quicker and to avoid heat build-up.  The hemp soap I've been making in a loaf mold, and have had the centre darken, meaning it was warm enough for a short time for the gel phase to start.  Still great soap - maybe we'll call it 'Hemp Heart' soap or something!

So far, we've got a good stash of our Hemp Soap, Simple Soap Unscented (great for those working in hospitals and such where fragrance is frowned on, or for people who don't want their soap to interfere with their perfume choice), Simple Soap with ground Lavender and Lavender essential oil, Simple Soap with ground chamomile and chamomile infusion, a goat milk, oatmeal and honey soap (from a recipe on the Web), a shampoo bar and a shampoo bar with Rosemary essential oil (for scalp stimulation).  Today's experiment:  a goat milk, oatmeal and cinnamon soap which I am not going to put in the freezer.  I'm making it in a loaf mold and since the ground cinnamon is going to colour the bar anyway, I decided to see what would happen if I didn't freeze it, but insulated it instead!  I'll post some pictures on our Facebook page when I take it out of the mold in a day or two!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a rather complicated process. Neat to play around though and try different ways of making it. One of my favourite things to purchase at craft fairs is fancy soaps and skin creams - my treat for the season.