We made our first batch of soap here 3 weeks ago, and now we are waiting for it to be ready. And waiting. And waiting…you get the picture. We are waiting for our cold process soap to cure, which takes about 4-6 weeks.
This first batch was a pretty basic recipe, using coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, lye water, and a little grapeseed oil for preservative. To me, the whole process is more like a chemistry experiment than it is cooking. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it, since I always liked chemistry in school. Accurate measurements are essential, so we used a digital kitchen scale to read the weight of ingredients to the nearest gram.
After the soap was all mixed up we blended it with an old immersion blender until it reached “trace”, which is the point at which the mixture starts to thicken. At this point, the ingredients will not separate back into their original state (lye water and oils). Fortunately my wife served as Head Researcher on this project, something she worked on for months before we ever actually made our first batch. That made it easy for me!
As soon as the soap reached trace, we hurried to pour it in our soap mold. We bought this mold, which is sized to hold our small batch recipe that makes 10 bars of soap. We lined it with some waxed paper before pouring the soup, then covered with some plastic wrap.
We wrapped the mold in a towel to retain heat, and let it sit for 24 hours. While we waited. Then it was time to unmold it and cut it into bars.
After cutting the soap into bars, we put it on a paper sack and left it to cure. During the curing process the ph stabilizes, and some of the water evaporates, which makes for a harder, longer lasting soap. This is the hard part – the waiting!
They say patience is a virtue, but it’s never been one of my strong suits. Neither is restraint – so we decided to make our second batch last week, this time adding a few more ingredients (shea butter and oatmeal) plus some peppermint oil for scent. Yes, we made a second batch before we really know how the first batch did!
The anticipation is getting to me – I had to take a peek at how the first batch was doing.
Looks like we have another week or two to wait. And wait. Prompting me to ask my wife, Is it soap yet?!?!?