Haunted by lard/tallow

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by John Harris, Oct 1, 2019.

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  1. Oct 1, 2019 #1

    John Harris

    John Harris

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    I belonged to a different soap forum way back when and they were definitely DOWN on lard/tallow. It was considered a low, trashy fat that produced only shameful, pore-clogging soap - certainly nothing you'd want to admit to on your label or among friends and customers. Despite the stories, I did give it a try a couple of times. I can't remember if I liked it or not.

    Now I see it is being talked about quite freely and without shame. I've seen many posts extolling its virtues. I want to try it again, but the thought of it makes me feel "dirty."

    Is there anyone else out there who looks down upon lard/tallow? (Strictly from a soap making perspective.)

    (Yes, I know all this sounds neurotic but I just can't shrug off the feeling.)
     
  2. Oct 1, 2019 #2

    shunt2011

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    Nope, I started with mostly palm recipes and heard all the praises about lard and gave it a try. I love my lard soap. They are not pore clogging. I've only had a couple people not like them but mostly because of religious beliefs. That's why I try to carry some Palm/Vegan and mostly Lard.
     
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  3. Oct 1, 2019 #3

    Dahila

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    Lard soaps are gentle, I use combination of lard/tallow in almost every soap
     
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  4. Oct 1, 2019 #4

    Mobjack Bay

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    Lard sounded icky to me at the beginning and then I tried it. I now love lard-based soap as do many of my testers. It's about as friendly a soaping base as you will find.
     
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  5. Oct 1, 2019 #5

    amd

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    Honestly... the first time I used lard in soap I was skeptical. But then after 6 weeks cure, and you use the soap for the first time you think to yourself "oh Mr. Piggy you make lovely soap - and bacon." and then you forget what's in it and just revel in the lovely soap that you just made.
     
  6. Oct 1, 2019 #6

    Deborah Long

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    :lol:
     
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  7. Oct 1, 2019 #7

    IrishLass

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    I know that there are some on the forum that for whatever personal or religious reason(s) either can't use lard, or can't get past the thought of using lard, or just don't like using lard, but I'm definitely not one of them! Lard makes awesome soap. I once did a 1:1 comparison between lard and palm in one of my recipes: everything else being equal, in one batch I used palm, and in the other batch I used lard instead of palm.....and lard version won hands down, no contest. The lard version was creamier, gentler, and the overall lather was just so much nicer. The best way I can describe it is that the lard version had more of a 3-dimensional lather while the palm version had more of a 1 or a 2-dimensional lather.


    IrishLass :)


    Edited to add: We at SMF don't frown down on folks over their personal choice to either use or eschew animal fats and/or palm oil in their soap......what we do frown down upon and moderate is when folks shame others for doing or not doing so.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
  8. Oct 1, 2019 #8

    DeeAnna

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    Lard soap has had and still has a bad rep in some circles. Some have an "ick" reaction to soap that contains animal fat. I don't think you're ever going to change those folk's minds.

    For others, it's because a lot of people of a certain age grew up with grandma's homemade soap and it was awfully harsh. I bet this is the reason why you got that perception about lard "way back when" you were first soaping.

    Lard was my grandmother's fat of choice for soap making because lard was cheap and easily available as a byproduct of Grandpa raised hogs. The soap would have been harsh no matter what fats were used, due to the recipes and tools many home makers had to use to soap back in the day. But things have changed.
     
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  9. Oct 1, 2019 #9

    TheGecko

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    Vegans look down on animal fats. Tree huggers look down on palm products. Naturalists look down on Micas and Fragrance Oils. Somebody the other day looked down on someone because they used Canola Oil in their soap...OMG, somebody call the soap police!

    Soap has been made for thousands of years. If you weren't lucky enough to live in a place where Olive Trees grew you used what was at hand, and for a lot of folks...that was animal fats. I haven't used them myself, but I have been researching them since I saw that the local store carries rendered Pig and Duck Fats. I've also been saving bacon grease in the freezer. We have a lot of hunters and fishermen and I thought it would be interesting to offer a product made from those areas. And who wouldn't want a soap make from BACON?!?

    It can sometimes be very difficult to let go of old biases, but if it help, the INCI name of Lard is Adeps Suillus.

    My great-grandmother made soap on the farm. Big black cast iron cauldron...same one she used to wash clothes in...over an open fire. Rendered animal fats and homemade lye. Definitely not the most skin friendly soap, but it washed the body and cleaned clothes and pots and pans.

    Today...we used food grade sodium hydroxide, our recipes are calculated and weighed with just the right amount of this and that, our ingredients, even those sold as organic/unrefined, have been processed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2019
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  10. Oct 1, 2019 #10

    DeeAnna

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    Honestly, the difference between food grade and tech grade alkali is the difference between a more extensive chem analysis vs a less extensive one. It all comes out of the same pipe. And my grandmother's lard was as lovely as any I've used -- clean, white, odorless.

    It's more about the ability nowadays for the average person to weigh accurately -- Grandma used a kitchen platform scale like the one below and I use a digital scale -- and more about our ability to calculate recipes rather than blindly follow a generic recipe from the Extension Service and hope it's good enough. If Grandma had owned a better scale and could have calculated her lard soap recipe more accurately, she could have made soap the equal of any I make.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Oct 1, 2019 #11

    Marilyn Norgart

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    I love lard soap. I have had a lot of people comment that they love lard soap also. I have also had people that are vegans that wont touch it but I have also had people say they wont use palm or other types of oils--I came to the conclusion that you cant please everybody. so I make what I like and try to make it the best I can--and that is my goal. I have had people that I have talked to for a long time only to find out they wont use lard soap/it is what it is and I always tell them its a personal choice that people make and I say it in a way that they walk away feeling good about our conversation. I do try to tell people right away now what my base oils are and still find a lot of people stick around and talk about soap with me.
     
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  12. Oct 1, 2019 #12

    Relle

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    I don't use either, it's more of a cost issue.
     
  13. Oct 2, 2019 #13

    lenarenee

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    There are soaping books, and even suppliers like Brambleberry that eschew animal fat for soaps. I don’t know why. One book claimed that they weren’t processed cleanly enough for soaping, so maybe finding a food grade supply of animal fat 20 years ago was too difficult.

    Cocoa butter is more pore clogging than lard. But once these are transformed into soap, they become a salt of fatty acids. I don’t know if there is a comedogenic chart for soap, like there is for oils.

    Did you know the fatty acid profile of lard is very similar to that of human skin? It’s possible to get organic animals fats too, from animals that were properly raised.

    I don’t know how to help you get over the negative connotations you have of animal fat in soap. I love them. Recently tried to make some all veggie recipes and while good recipes, they just don’t compare to lard soap.
     
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  14. Oct 2, 2019 #14

    Michele50

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    :lol: @amd, loved your comment with "Mr. Piggy."

    I LOVE my soaps that include lard!!!

    I agree that the lather Lard creates is WONDERFUL; you did well in explaining it.

    Sadly, you are correct; they don't know what they're missing. I've happened across sites that (still) state that lard clogs pores but I don't remember any scientific evidence being offered to support their position. I've used lard (and only lard) on my face and hands and my face never broke out.

    Yup, my sister in law warned me I shouldn't make soap because it's harsh and will harm my skin and then proceeded to tell me how soap was back in her day as a kid....my husband remembers how harsh it was as well. He, however, had already used soap I made and told me that the stuff from the store can't compare with the handmade soap. I tried to explain that they "back then" just didn't have the knowledge that we now have at our disposal (understanding and knowing the SAP values of various oils and lye that is consistent). Back then they made their own lye solution and had to check the strength with a chicken feather or floating an egg. Often the soap was made lye heavy because soap that didn't contain enough lye wouldn't make soap and the batch was ruined--they opted for stronger than a ruined batch. If I'm understanding it correctly from what has been told to me by older folk and from my own research.[/QUOTE]


    Absolutely right, it'd be harsh no matter what fat was used. In times past, and actually still in respect to African black soap, people used (and still use) what is available to them. Pioneers and our grandparents/great-grandparent used lard because it was readily available and it was a way to use all of the animal--waste not/want not. I respect those who are opposed to animal products being used in soap, cosmetics, etc but if an animal is going to be consumed, the least we can do (those who don't mind it in our soap) is not waste any part of the animal so using it in soap is a great way not to waste. I'm guessing there are other places, other than Africa, where villages make soap with what they have at hand.

    Well put, each and every point! Your 1st paragraph sums it up quite well. Monkies are trained to pick coconuts so I'm sure some are apposed to coconut oil. There are issues with palm as well; people are even against the kind that's responsibly sourced. Options would be quite short if we allowed others to dictate what fats to use rather than using what we personally like to use.

    I respect others who choose to stay away from animal fats but also like the same respect for what I choose. I actually tried my hand at making a lye solution from our wood ash from our wood heating stove. It was fun and I was shocked that I was able to float an egg to the right 'crowning' upon my first attempt. Even was able to make a really crude soap that washed a pan of mine--bubbled and everything. I am SOOOO glad that we have soap calculators nowadays and that I can buy consistent lye; I would hate to have to make soap this way. It was actually a liquid type soap that was made and I used it right away. I only made a very small amount and had no idea how much lard to put into my lye solution. I had to keep going back and forth with .....more lard.....more lye and so on so forth. It was cool that it worked though.

    @lenarenee I'm glad you mentioned that lard is very similar to that of human skin. I did extensive search into lard a couple of years ago (because I love reading) and came across that. I found sites where it was stated that those who work with processing animals for food consumption found that their hands were so soft and supple. Also, sites where people used lard on their face and hands to combat very dry skin. I found info about old-time products that used lard and these were sold as 'treatment for' and 'cures for' severely dry skin.

    Often things aren't liked for one reason or another and then that item ends up being held in a bad light to keep others from using it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2019
  15. Oct 2, 2019 #15

    Arimara

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    Before soaping, I would have looked at you sideways before trying a lard soap. Once I learned what sodium tallowate is, I relented and tried lard in my soap. Yes, I love how that soap feels but unfortunately, I can always smell the pig in the soap and I make soap on the cooler side when I use lard.

    In short, just make some lard soap. I have no idea how expensive it may be for you (a pound of lard is under $3 at all my local grocery stores) but unless you're willing to buy a bar from someone who is selling lardy soap, it may be time to rev up the good ole stab mixer and combat your fears. :D It can also be an excuse to cook up some bacon if you wanna do it that way...
     
  16. Oct 2, 2019 #16

    Gryphonisle

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    Dark bread was once looked down upon, and Wonder Bread was seen as progress, so was polyester. Freeways were also seen as good, mass transit bad. Shooting bison you had no intention to eat from the back of a train, a legitimate past time, till most of them were killed... Making soap at home? How perfectly backward, in 1957!

    Lard hit hard times when Science told us Butter was bad for us. Now we find out that Lard is not as bad for you as butter, and both are better than margarine, and a study making waves today says that red meat probably isn’t bad for you either!

    I started making lard soap last year, to avoid palm oil. Sourcing organic lard was difficult, even in San Francisco, although I could get the fat and render it myself—-but that is an arduous process, and even with a Kitchen Aid grinder, I nearly ruined my machine grinding one batch of it. I too smell the pig in it—-not a heavy smell, but it is there. If I could get larger batches of organic lard, or could find a way to grind up pork fat (it renders faster) I’d use lard. I also remember a friend back in my Coast Guard days who sent his mother a bouquet of anthuriums—we were stationed in Honolulu. Rather than being pleased she read him the riot act for sending her those, “vulgar, filthy flowers”. What’s dirty, the lard, the anthuriums, or the mind that finds them dirty?
     
  17. Oct 2, 2019 #17

    Dawni

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    I love my lard soaps! Surprising since I can't stomach pork lol I don't like the smell of the kitchen when they make any dish with pork meat and that stays in my mind so having it in front of me in food form makes me gag..... but I managed to find lard that has almost no piggy nor meaty smell at all. They use it for pastries and French fries according to the supplier.

    It's very cost effective for me. Before I found lard, and I looked for it for months, I used cocoa and shea to up my longevity and hardness. Cocoa is 600 pesos a kilo and shea is 900. A kilo of lard costs me 90 pesos. Ginormous difference.

    I still use the butters together with my lard, but not as much since lard makes pretty hard soap itself, and it's awesome soap but my mom particularly likes my 60% lard soap, which I make with only coconut, olive n castor.

    The other reason I like lard is even after cooking it (I HP 90% of the time) I still get a nice, creamy, fluid batter. In fact I've used my lard recipe to make soap for two forum challenges which turned out quite well considering they're meant more for CP designs.

    Also, I notice my soaps with a higher lard content don't sweat as much as my other soaps, and I'm in constant heat and humidity where I'm from.

    Lastly, I scent only with EOs but even if I don't, that faint lard smell isn't noticeable at all, unless you have a very sensitive nose I guess, considering I cook in medium to high temperatures.

    So lard hits all the points for me.. Cost, hardness and longevity, the sweat thing, and fluidity.
     
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  18. Oct 2, 2019 #18

    Adobehead

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    All this interesting talk about lard soaps, what about tallow? I have only used it once, and I rendered it myself. What nice soap. I used lard once, too I need to try that again.

    I live in a location where I pay extra shipping and they charge by the pound. A 50# bucket of sustainably grown palm is very pricey. I can get fat from the butcher for free, but rendering is a chore.......... still, considering tallow instead of palm. What do you think?
     
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  19. Oct 2, 2019 #19

    amd

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    I switched to tallow early last year (2018) because I can very strongly smell the "pig factor" in soap, although none of my customers seemed to notice. The soap is a bit more cleansing, but soap itself is harder and the bars last a bit longer, lather seems to be very comparable. And I don't notice an animal smell to it.
     
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  20. Oct 2, 2019 #20

    sirtim100

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    I'm very new to all this soapmaking business but one thing I discovered is that one soap I made from tallow is very, very nice. I got the tallow either free from one butcher's or at a knockdown price from another, and in both cases it was going to be thrown away, so I feel that at least I'm recycling part of the animal. I made a batch with lard two days ago, so the jury's out on that one, but for 2 euros a pound of food grade lard, in comparison to the small fortune I have to pay to get hold of palm oil, I know what I'll be buying in future.

    The whole religious/cultural/political/nutritional issue normally consists of there being two sides to every coin. Palm oil doesn't involve killing animals, but from what I can make out in Wikipedia, a good chunk of South East Asia is slowly suffocating under an immense haze, caused in part by illegal forest burning to clear space for palms to make oil. And I imagine one or two orang utans have some pretty strong opinions about the rights and wrongs of using palm oil, in whatever...

    The tough fact is that now in a globalised world, whatever you do or buy or watch or eat has consequences, and some are nasty ones, others not so much. I have to look after me and mine while trying to ensure that how I do it doesn't cause too much harm to others, and making soap with lard or tallow doesn't strike me as doing too much harm.

    They also make very nice soap.

    Happy soaping everyone
     
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