Hot processed colour swirl soap

I do love cold processed soap, however, I was interested to learn about hot processed as well. Hot processed is simply the process of cooking the soap.

When we make soap, there is a chemical reaction that takes place between the lye (caustic soda) and the oils, called saponification. When we make cold processed soap, it has to be left 4-6 weeks so that the lye can finish doing its thing. This is called curing. If you make hot processed soap, you help the process along and cook off the lye. This means that if you make hot processed soap, it can be used straight away, as soon as its popped or cut from the moulds.

You might ask, well why don’t we always make hot processed soap then, it’s really hard to sit back and make a lovely soap and then wait for 6 weeks to use it. Well the answer is that, when you hot process it, the soap is more difficult to make elaborate patterns and designs, and it also comes out looking a bit more rustic. It doesn’t have that beautiful finish to the soap. Although I kind of like the look of hot processed soap too.

Anyway, today I decided to make another batch of hot processed soap, and make a swirl pattern to show you how that is done.

essentially you can use any cold processed recipe, you just have to do the extra step of cooking it. I use an old crockpot. Actually this is the one I also use for melting down my wax from the honeycomb. Might as well use it as much as possible. This crockpot sees more use now than it ever did when I was actually cooking in it.

The recipe I used for this one is

Hot Processed Colour swirl soap

500g Tallow

500g Coconut Oil

425g Olive Oil

425g Rice Bran Oil

150g Cocoa Butter

65g Castor Oil

285g Lye

750ml distilled water

I used Blue, Red and Pink soap making colours

The fragrance for this one is Brambleberry’s ‘Energy’

Again, please look at the beginners soaping blog if you are making soap for the first time where I have links to lots of great videos and advice on soaping. The link is here –Beginning soaping

I made the lye and the oil mixture, mixed to medium trace with a stick blender then put the crock pot on high and left it alone to cook the soap. This forces the chemical reaction to happen faster and cooks the lye out of the soap.

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The soap starting to cook around the edges

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Starting to cook from the outside in

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I gave it a stir and this is what it looked like. It took about an hour for the soap to all be cooked. One way of testing to see whether the lye has been processed is to take a small amount of the soap and touch it to your tongue (after it is cooled a little). If you get a zap – it means there is still lye in the soap that needs to cook out. If so, let it cook further for 5 minutes or so and try again. Don’t leave it to long however or it will really start to dry out.

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After that I added the fragrance then split the soap into 4 batches. I left one batch in the cooker as I was leaving the soap colour as one of the colours, then I mixed in the red, blue and pink into the other batches.

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Tipped them back into the crockpot and folded the colours lightly. After all, I don’t want them mixed, just swirled.

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Spooned them into the moulds. To me they look rather funky compared to the cold processed soaps.

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And a day later – Voila – Hot processed soaps. They look more rustic than the cold processed variety and I have seen some videos of people doing amazing things with these in regards to patterns etc as well. Would take me a bit more trial and error to get used to though. However, these soaps can be used straight away. I’ll leave them a week or two just so the moisture evaporated and they get a little harder before use, but they do smell fantastic!

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Teardrop soap challenge

Well here we are again for he second soap challenge.

This soap is a teardrop soap from Amy Warden’s soap challenge club. This is the May challenge and I have to admit when I first saw the videos she Posted on her website, I thought – OK, that looks pretty easy. Ha ha – well, I’m anxiously waiting for the first soap I tried with this method to harden up so I can see how it looks, however, I suspect it looks nothing like it should!

I used a slow moving recipe like suggested on the soap challenge club – made with Coconut oil, Olive oil, Lard and Avocado Oil and I also used  the Brambleberry fragrance, Energy – which I really like.

Colours and fragrance all ready to go
Colours and fragrance all ready to go

 

First layer done and colours mixed
First layer done and colours mixed

I used a pink clay colour for the base – I haven’t used it before so I’m not sure what it’ll look like in the end. I have my fingers crossed.

I also mixed up White, Titanium blue, as well as two different strengths of ultramarine pink as I thought the pinks, blues and whites would look nice together. I made the blue quite a strong colour, so it would stand out against the light colours.

Teardrop part finished
Teardrop part finished

I probably could have taken photos as I went, however, I was concentrating on pouring gently and forgot. Plus there were a couple of slips where I suspect breakthrough. However, I went on to finish it off. Looking forward to seeing how it goes and maybe trying another one.

Decoration along the top
Decoration along the top
Final product - teardrop soap
Final product – teardrop soap

As I finished this one quite early, I decided to have another go as well. This is what the second attempt turned out like. Actually even less like a teardrop, but I think I like the colours better. The clay pink of the first one came out a bit brown for my liking!

White blue and pink sort of teardrop.
White blue and pink sort of teardrop.

 

Mead making – Methaglen

After I made my first couple of batches of traditional mead, I was ready for the next step.

Methaglen is simply any honey mead made with fruit as well as honey.

I am really lucky and have a close friend who has peach and plum trees on her property which happened to be bursting with fruit at the time I was thinking of branching out. I happened to be at her place at a time when she was sick to death of picking them, so I was able to take quite a few kilograms of fruit off her trees.

I ended up making three different batches of Methaglen. The first was a berry mixture. There were a heap of berries in season, so I made a Methaglen out of a variety of strawberries, cherries, raspberries and blackberries. I decided to add fruit at both ends of the fermentation process. There are some meadmakers who suggest that you should only add fruit after the fermentation process, after racking for the first time. This has something to do with bacteria getting in and ruining the mead. I guess I haven’t made enough mead to know how much of a problem this is likely to be, but I’m going to add fruit straight at the start and then again at racking. The recipe I used to make all three of the Methaglens was

Standard Methaglen recipe

3.7 litres Spring water

1.3 kg of honey

1 kg fruit

Yeast – either mead yeast or wine yeast. I used a variety of different yeasts

Yeast energiser

Again, I pitched the yeast in warm water, and let it sit for 15 minutes before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, into a sterilised demijohn. Then shook it like crazy to aerate it and left it to begin the process of fermenting

 

Mixed berry Methaglen
Mixed berry Methaglen
Peach and Plum Methaglen
Peach and Plum Methaglen

I did the same for the peach and plum Methaglens, and left them to do their work.

Both the peach Methaglen and the berry mixture, after racking (putting it into a new sterilised container) for the first time (after a month), I added another lot of fruit to the mixture (approximately another kg). I didn’t with the peach one as I didn’t have any fruit left to add.

Peach and plum mead about a week after
Peach and plum mead about a week after

This is the colour the peach and plum Methaglens went about a week after they were racked. They went beautiful colours.

They have been sitting now for about 3 months and they will be ready to bottle soon. I’m just leaving them another month or so to allow them to clear a little more.

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They are looking pretty colours too. The one on the left is the plum, middle is peach and the end is the berry. I have tasted them all and so far the plum one is my favourite. They need to sit and age for another couple of months before they will be really drinkable and I was talking to the guy at the home brew shop who also has an interest in mead who said he thinks they keep on getting better for a year or two. Not sure I can wait that long.

 

If you want to sell your soap

As those who watch this site know, I have been making soap for a little while now, and it takes practice to become good at something, so I have ended up with quite a haul of soap in my spare room.  This left me thinking, this is a great hobby, but I have made way to much soap to just be giving away on birthdays and at Christmas. So I decided it might be a good idea to go to a local market and try to sell some.

So I found some local markets who would be happy for me to attend and started doing a little research on what I needed to do to sell my soap.

Well it turns out that it is all a bit more involved than I first thought. Firstly, soap is classified in Australia as a cosmetic, which on reflection I understand. After all, soap is something that you use on your skin. However, this means there are lots of labelling laws which apply to soap that I never knew about. Australian competition and consumer commission – product safety page. It isn’t difficult to do, it basically says that if I’m going to sell a cosmetic, I need to list anything in the ingredients consisting of over 1% of the total amount. So all of the oils, the caustic soda and any fragrances and colours I add. I guess it’s pretty important that people know what is in their soap, in case they have an allergy.

The next thing is that, if you are actually making soap from scratch (like I am), you are required to get a licence with the NICNAS. This is the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme. If you are making cold pressed or hot pressed soap, which requires a chemical process (saponification caused by lye (or caustic soda)) then you need to be licensed to do so. It’s a bit weird because it only appears to come into play if you decide to sell. However other blogs on the subject have said they go after people pretty regularly if they sell at a market without having this licence. The licence costs $135.00 dollars a year for my level of soap making (hobbyist), however is more expensive as you make more soap. The only other issue with this is that you require an ABN to get a licence.

Lastly, to be able to sell at a market, you require insurance. I guess in this day and age, people can be pretty litigious. So I suppose it isn’t a bad idea. There are some companies who won’t insure soap makers at all. I called a few companies and got some quotes. So far I know GIO will insure and they will cover for all selling in Australia, so will NRMA, RelyOn and QBE. The quotes I got ranged from $650 – $1100 per year, so it’s worth shopping around.

So far I have applied for my ABN, and have to wait for that before I can then apply for my NICNAS licence. They told me it takes about a week to come through, and then I can get my insurance happening before I go to the markets. I’m thinking of heading to Picton markets to try them out first.  At that point I can think about putting some of my soaps online. Sorry to all my friends in Canada and other places overseas, I’m not allowed to export out of Australia apparently.

Now I understand why soap appears to be more expensive than I thought it would be at markets.

Anyway, I’m still looking forward to seeing how things go at the markets online.

English rose swirl soap

 

Hearts and thorn soap

I tried to make a soap the other day using these pvc pipes and it was a terrible disaster. I thought I could wait until the soap hardened and then pull the pipes out and fill the holes up with colour. But when I went to pull the pipes out, the soap just broke up. Didn’t work – so more soap to be rebatched!

So I decided to see what happened if I poured soap around pipes, filled them with colour and then pulled the pipes out before anything has set.

First things first, I decided I wanted a bigger tray than the little flat loaf I have, so I went to Bunnings and picked up a plastic one and then lined it with grease proof paper. I guess I’ll be unhappy if it doesn’t work out, but I don’t see why it won’t.

Plastic tray
Plastic tray

I used the previously mentioned PVC pipes I used in the other soaping disaster and stuck them to the bottom of the tray with cocoa oil, thinking that this would also seal the bottom from soap leaking back up the pipes when I poured the first layer of soap around them. I had to put the tray in the fridge for the cocoa butter to harden.

I was originally going to use beeswax, but then I remembered how hard it gets and thought the last thing I needed was to have a huge struggle getting PVC pipes off the bottom of a tray. I could envisage another disaster of a different kind, so I used the hardest other kind of oil/butter I have, which happens to be cocoa butter.

PVC pipe from Bunnings
PVC pipe from Bunnings

Then I made the soap, using a slow recipe which I also used for the teardrop soap I currently have hardening now. This recipe I got from Amy Wardens Soap challenge club, that she suggested for the teardrop soap challenge. This recipe is good because it’s a slow moving recipe which will allow you to spend a bit of time with colours before the soap hardens to much.

Slow moving soap recipe

150g Avocado Oil

360g Coconut Oil

520g Olive Oil

450g Lard

Using the soap calculator I worked out 206g Lye and 500 ml of fluid.

Remeber if you have never made soap before, please go to the beginners soaping blog which gives some links to help you learn. http://www.handcraftedbydallas.com/if-you-want-to-learn-about-soaping/

So after making the above recipe, I poured 3 lots of soap into cups to make up the red colours (I made three different shades of red), and the other soap I split in half of which I mixed one black and the other white soap. Then I poured the black and white around the pipes, alternating black and white so I got the pretty ones, sort of like doing a column pour down the sides. Next I poured the red colours into the pipes. I poured those from fairly high so the colours would mix a bit.

White and Black poured around the pipes
White and Black poured around the pipes

After I’d finished pouring the Reds, I pulled the pipes out. You can see I dropped one in the middle (where it looks a bit mucky).

Pipes out
Pipes out

Next I got my chopstick out and made some circular patterns around and through the red and black to make the pattern more interesting.

Chopstick pattern
Chopstick pattern

I left it to sit for a couple of days, and this is it tipped out – the plastic container worked really well I’m happy to say and only cost me $4.00

The underside after tipping it out
The underside after tipping it out
Cut soap
Cut soap

I’m pretty pleased with how it worked out – except I forgot to add any scent to it. Oh well another unscented soap!