Ok, so it’s been forever since I last posted. Christmas was crazy as usual, then January came and like always I need a break so I closed up shop for 2 weeks for some R&R. And when I’m away from the store I’m AWAY from the store. I don’t read my emails, facebook, nothing. It’s like for 2 weeks the store doesn’t exist, and it just so happens that during that time off I have a birthday. Funny how that works eh? I know that’s no excuse but I need the break. Anyway now I have some big news… well I think it’s big news anyway.
Some of you may know that I am a soaper, my soap line is called Parson House Soap & Candle Co. (I make Soy Wax Candles too) I make Goat’s Milk M&P soap and Cold Processed Olive Oil soap. Now my Goat’s Milk Soap is fairly quick and simple to make, but the Cold Process soap took me FOREVER to make. You see, I’m a make do kinda girl. I make do with what I have and if I don’t have it I do without and just suck it up. Anyway for me to make a batch of Cold Process soap, it would take a minimum of 3 hours of just stirring (any of you who make soap already know this) and that didn’t include the time assembling, measuring and weighting the oils etc. Well this year I told my husband Brian that all I’d like for Christmas and or my birthday was a laser thermometer and a stick blender. Well our anniversary is the 1st of December and Brian gave me a Kobo Vox E-reader and a Laser Thermometer! This thing is fantastic!! Before I’d use candy thermometers to measure the temp of my lye and oils. They took a while to get an accurate reading, they have to be cleaned and they break way too easily and too often. Don’t get me wrong, they work but…
For my Birthday I got a beautiful Sterling Silver Bracelet and a Stick Blender!!!
So while my mom was here for a visit during my staycation we went down to my lab (mwuahahaha) and made a batch of Castile soap. I figured if my regular Olive Oil soap took at least 3 hours of stirring to reach trace, then I knew that Castile soap would take even longer to hand stir with 80% Olive Oil, so lets test this puppy out.
Here are the results. I’m armed with my brand new tools of the trade and my mom is armed with my camera.
I’ve already donned my rubber gloves and goggles and weighed out all my water, lye and oils. Here we go!
Lye Solution: lye mixed with water creates a lot of heat, almost to the boiling point, so here it is all mixed and cooling in the jug.
Oils:Here are the oils. I used 80% Olive Oil and add a small amount of Coconut and Palm Oils to give the bars hardness and a stable lather.
Adding the Lye:Both the Lye and the Oils have reached about the same temperature, around 100 degrees. The laser thermometer makes this part soooooo much easier, just point and click! So now it’s time to add the lye to the oils, you can already see the transformation to soap, but we’ve got a ways to go yet.
Stick Blending:The stick blender is like buttah!!! I just love this thing!!! I know all you other soapers out there are saying “Duh” but who knew!?!
Light Trace:Look how quickly this is going!!! Woo hoo!
Trace Lines:Here’s a better picture of the trace lines. This means we are starting to get soap!! With this spatula, I would have been standing at the pot for about three hours or so a this point.
Thick Trace:Here we are at a thick trace, you can see the colour change before your eyes using this wonderful gadget! Time to pour!
Lined Mold:My husband made me these wooden log molds and it’s ready to go, lined with freezer paper.
Pouring the Soap:
Scraping the last bits:We gotta get every last bit of the soap out of the pot, it’s just too good to waste and it makes the clean up go much easier later
Now at this point I would smooth it all out, cover the top with plastic wrap then wrap it up in towels to let the soap go through a gell stage. I much prefer the look of a textured top, so I don’t do that anymore.
Texturizing the Top:I use the back of a spoon and add some texture to the top making it lumpy With other soaps I’ve added a bit of glitter to the top just for a bit of fun, but since this is Castile soap, I didn’t want to add anything else, you’ll notice that I didn’t and any fragrance to this soap either.
All Done:Here it is! From start to finish, and I mean the very beginning, where I first put on my rubber gloves to this point, taking this picture it was less than one hour!!! Oh how I LOVE my stick blender!!!!!
24 Hours Later:Here’s our Castile soap 24 hours later! Time to take it out of the mold and cut it
All Unwrapped:Isn’t that a pretty sight
Time to Cut:Here’s the first cut. These end cuts are for Brian and I to use. I always, always use the first bar of soap before I sell it. The first use is on my hands. If that is good then it’s into the shower I go and I use it head to toe. I want to be sure that I’m putting a fantastic product on my shelves. I’m my worst critic so if it doesn’t get past me, it won’t get to you.
Cutting the first Bar:Here’s our first full size bar. I sell my soap as 100 gm bars, but since I hand cut them, they usually run anywhere from 110 – 130 gms. They are always over, never under weight.
14 Bars Curing:And here they all are, beautifully creamy bars of Castile soap! You may notice that the cut edges are a little rough. In hindsight I should have left the log another 24 hours before cutting it. At this point the soap was firm but soft and since I use a blade soap cutter the soap slices kinda stuck to the blade. You know what it’s like cutting a soft cheese that sticks, well, kinda like that. It doesn’t affect the soap, it’s just not quite as aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
After curing for 4 to 6 weeks these Castile soap bars can be used, but so that they will be at their best and mildest they will be curing for 4 to 6 months!
On Sunday I made a batch of my Olive Oil and Shea Butter soap with a Rose Garden Fragrance. I’ll be cutting it tomorrow and it should be ready for sale around March 2nd. I’ll be cutting it tonight and I’ll post pictures tomorrow.
This is the soap I made at the end of November before I was given my wonderful new gadgets. It’s Lavender Olive and Shea. Just for fun I stamped on some butterflies. They are available in the store now!Well this has been a long drawn out post, but I’m just so excited I couldn’t make it any shorter. I have so many great ideas swirling through my head with what I can do now and so much quicker too. So I’ll stop babbling now and let you get on with your lives. See ya tomorrow!