Well, I finally dove in and buckled down to make my first batch of goat milk soap. It was not at all as scary as it seemed to be, but you do need to be cautious and don;t cut corners.
I have since made two more batches. Waiting to work on this project during the winter months turned out to be a real good idea. The kids were busy indoors, so I could focus on my soap without interruption (which is key!). They weren't running in and out of the door, which I needed to be free of humans and animals while I stepped outside to mix the milk with the lye.
I read/glanced at quite a few books which made it seem overly complicated. Then, I found a few websites so I could "see" what "trace" looked like! Upon my searches I found this one blog that went above and beyond explaining all the little details of making goat milk soap with pictures! I need pictures! I chose to go with the crock pot method because I had an extra crock pot that is older and I wasn't using. It was less expensive for me to use what I had than go out and purchase a stainless steel pot etc. to make the soap. You won't be using your soap making pots for anything other than soap making again. So, use what you have or buy used.
Here are the links to the posts from Chickens in the Road that I read on making goat milk soap. She explains everything in easy to follow steps, so that you will be well equipped to make it yourself. Please read, and re-read if necessary (I know I did!), Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Here is her post on Hot Process Soap in a Crock Pot. All of her post have lots of pictures which make it a lot less intimidating!
I modified the recipe to suit my needs, and changed the cook time on the hot process based on my own trial and error.
I used this soap calculator to make exact calculations when I was changing the recipe.
I snapped a few photos myself of the process, so I will share them here with you. PLEASE, do further reading on making goat milk soap other than just my post. It is very helpful and informative to get a good idea of different methods and steps involved. There are also some great recipes to experiment with.
Please be VERY CAUTIOUS as you are working with lye. SAFETY, safety, safety. This is why I highly recommend, no kids or animals in the area, goggles, rubber gloves, and long sleeves. Also when it comes time to mix the milk with the lye you want to be outdoors! Always add the lye to the milk! NOT the milk to the lye!
You are responsible for making sure that you read and understand the importance of following safety rules when making your own soap. Make sure your sites are reliable as well as your book(s) of choice.
This post is NOT meant to instruct you on the art of soap making. It is merely a documentation of my own soap making adventure.
Okay, on to the photos!
Here is the recipe I used:
Olive oil 9.6 oz.
Lard 16 oz.
Coconut oil 6.4
Goat milk frozen 12.16 (13oz)
100% Lye 4.46
Adding in the fun stuff!
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 of finely ground oatmeal
2 TBS. of honey
2Tbs. of ground cinnamon
about 10 drops of Thieves Essential Oil from Young Living
This will make about 2 pounds of soap.
I used a digital scale to measure all of my ingredients.
I melted all of the oils in a crock pot on low.
While the oils were melting I prepared my sugar and oatmeal by grinding it in a food processor.
When my oils were completely melted I turned of the crock pot. I then took out my FROZEN milk, weighed it, and then lightly broke it up into smaller chunks. You can use another stainless steel bowl or pot for this. NEVER use aluminum when working with lye! I used a glass/porcelain bowl that I am using only for soap making.
Put your goggles and gloves on! I measured out my lye. I stepped outside with my milk and lye. I added the lye to the milk by sprinkling it slowly over the top of the milk!! VERY important to do it in that order!!
I dissolved the milk with the lye by stirring it with a rubber spatula. It gets very hot! This is why you need to have your milk frozen. Otherwise it could burn the milk.
Now, I added the lye and milk mixture slowly to the oils back inside.
Then, I used a stick blender to mix it for about 10-15 minutes. Gloves and goggles are still on!
The middle picture below is what soap makers call "trace". This is what you are looking for! It's like the texture of pudding. Once it reaches this point I added all my sugar, oats, honey, spice, and essential oil.
I mixed it around with the same rubber spatula I used earlier.
Then, I scooped it into quart sized milk containers. They are the perfect size for making soap. The inside is already lined with wax. I topped each one of them off and set them on top of the refrigerator where they could set up and cool off.
The last picture in the photo below is when I continued to cook it on low in the crock pot for an hour after "trace". This is very hard to work with and hard to add your essential oils, sugar, and spice to. I included it in the photo line up so you could see what not to do!(smile) However, it is still soap, so don't throw it away if this happens to you.
I found that 8-10 hours after I made the batch of soap I was able to cut it into bars.
I simply peeled away the milk carton and cut. I love the ridges this cutter made in the soap. I have no idea what it is technically called, but it makes for a pretty soap!
Remember the yellow-y color when the soap was at trace? Well, it turned to a really nice brown sugar-y brown color.
Once all the soap was cut. I put it back on top of the refrigerator to "cure" for 3-4 weeks. The lye in the soap may be too strong to put on your skin before then. So, I chose to play it safe and wait.
It smells so good! It was very hard to wait the 3-4 weeks! Oh, let me say it did not smell good at first and it had me worried. As it "cured" the lye smell dissipated and it smelled better and better.
Soap making is a fun and educational adventure. I am so glad I did it! Good luck in your soap making adventures!
There is one draw back I forgot to mention about making your own soap....there is soooo many different scents and combinations to "play" with it's hard to make up your mind what to do first!!!
I have also made goat milk soap using herbal tea. It turned out great and smelled wonderful! I also made a lavender sugar soap I will share in another post.
Thanks for stopping by!