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I finished my first batch of soap!

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goldendaddie

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I did it - I made soap! My first batch (on June 7th) was a beer soap recipe from Kelly Cable’s book: The Natural Soapmaking Book for Beginners”. The recipe contained:


INGREDIENTS:
▪ 6.2 ounces water
▪ 6 ounces flat beer (I used Gold Coast IPA from Kona Brewing)
▪ 13 ounces olive oil
▪ 8 ounces babassu oil
▪ 6 ounces cocoa butter
▪ 5 ounces shea butter
▪ 4.4 ounces lye
▪ 0.5 ounce lemongrass essential oil
▪ 0.5 ounce cedarwood essential oil


BEER PREP: I had to prep the beer in advance - pour beer into container and let sit for 24hrs, then bring to boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes. What I learned during this part of the process was to USE A LID. Why? Because I poured an entire 12oz can into the sauce pan for the (I’m guessing) pasteurization process, and by the time the simmering was complete I had a little over 4oz remaining instead of the 6oz that I needed for the recipe. I replaced the missing amount of beer with water to ensure I had 12.2 oz of fluid for the lye mixture, but I imagine it cut into the beer benefits of the finished product. Maybe not a ton, but I’ll know better next time, and there will definitely be a next time. Also, before adding the lye, I froze the beer/water to slushy consistency (not entirely frozen).



COMBINING THE OILS: The oils heat up extremely quickly, much quicker than I anticipated. In almost no time flat, the oil was well above 230 degrees F and I was scrambling for ice to bring it down to match with the lye mixture. Thankfully the stainless steel pot that I got specifically for making soap worked very well to transfer the heat to the ice.



MIXING THE LYE: Pretty straightforward here, all went as planned and both the lye mixture and oils were at-or-around 90 degrees F when they were mixed.



STICK BLENDER: Using the stick blender was easy, but I learned something at this point as well - for a (roughly) 3lbs batch of soap I have to tilt my pan a bit so that the blender portion is more submerged, otherwise the liquid is fairly shallow and the stick blender doesn’t submerge to my comfort level. Meaning, that I believe my awesome pot may be a tad wider than I thought I needed. Not a huge deal breaker, really. I was still able to mix it with general ease. I might have actually mixed it TOO well, to be honest. It didn’t take all that long for trace to arrive. (See, Mom? I can learn)



ESSENTIAL OILS: I got some essential oil samplers early on that had some masculine scents that I wanted to experiment with one day. It contained Bay Rum, Sandalwood, Teakwood, Sweet Tobacco, Leather, and Cedar. BUT, each one only contained about .33oz each. This came up short of what I needed for this recipe, so I ordered larger bottles of the Lemongrass (top note) and Cedarwood (base note). I mixed those two together at the beginning of this soap session, so that I could just add them at trace. The lemongrass was definitely the stronger of the two scents, and kind of overpowered the cedarwood... but I’m hoping that during the curing phase that this lemongrass evaporates off a bit. Still a good smell, in my opinion, but I was aiming for more woodsy. In the future I may half the lemongrass and add another middle or base note such as one of the other woods (teak or sandal). The wife and daughter helped with smelling different combinations of oils beforehand, both individually and blended (bottles held next to each other and wafted back and forth), and this helped. But we only sniffed the sampler packet + lemongrass, not the larger bottle of cedarwood which came from a different company later. (There I am, learning)



INSULATE PHASE: The specific recipe called for me to cover, but NOT insulate for the 24hr period. It felt fine the next day, so I took it out of the mold. I used a wooden mold that came with a silicon liner (and soap cutters, yay!). The silicon liner worked well, but even after washing it I can still smell the lemongrass/cedar pretty well, so unless I’m making that (mostly) exact batch again I will most likely use parchment paper to line the wooden mold in the future. I’ll give it some sniffs as time goes on to see if it fades, just in case.



CUTTING: Once I started cutting the bars, I noticed that it was still kind of soft-ish near the middle. But at this point I figured that I would keep going, which I did, using the straight soap cutter. They weren’t perfect, which is fine with me because I’m more concerned with getting the soap recipe & process down at this point. But in hindsight, I probably could have let the loaf sit for another 12-24 hours without consequence. (So much learning going on).



CURING: For this phase I stacked the bars on a tray lined with parchment paper (going to try and add a picture for this part), and then placed another piece of parchment paper gently on top of the bars for great air flow and protection from dust & cat hair. And the tray is parked on top of the kitchen cupboards making that part of the kitchen smell intermittently lemongrassy and fresh. I’m turning the bars every week or so and they seem to be doing fine. I had a very small soap shaving which was left over during the cutting, just to even up one of the bars, which I randomly placed on the tray between the other bars. I have cut small pieces off of this to use for washing my hands in the bathroom. Kind of my way of testing the soap before it’s done. I figure that the smaller piece would dry quicker and give me an idea of what it will feel and smell like when it’s done. :)



Since my 50th (ugh) birthday is coming up in July, I figured that would be a great time to try my first real bar in the shower. That would be at just at 4 weeks cured. I’ll probably cut one of the “less pretty” bars in half to try out. Thanks for the help, input, and discussions. I feel pretty accomplished and self-sufficient. Once I post this I’m going to check on the cheese I have in the smoker outside (another first for me). :)D584370D-D5FE-4CB0-AC14-47E00E0915FC.jpegimage.jpg
 
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shunt2011

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Congratulations. You leave the beer out to go flat. I simmer mime to burn off the aLcohoL but have used it just flat. I’ve also cooked it to a syrup

Also some of your scents are FO’s not EO’s. Just be sure they are safe for soap and body use or you could have issues.

Did you rim the recipe through a soap calculator? It’s wise to always do so as errors in print happen.

your soap turned out nice looking.
 

Vina Marquez

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I did it - I made soap! My first batch (on June 7th) was a beer soap recipe from Kelly Cable’s book: The Natural Soapmaking Book for Beginners”. The recipe contained:


INGREDIENTS:
▪ 6.2 ounces water
▪ 6 ounces flat beer (I used Gold Coast IPA from Kona Brewing)
▪ 13 ounces olive oil
▪ 8 ounces babassu oil
▪ 6 ounces cocoa butter
▪ 5 ounces shea butter
▪ 4.4 ounces lye
▪ 0.5 ounce lemongrass essential oil
▪ 0.5 ounce cedarwood essential oil


BEER PREP: I had to prep the beer in advance - pour beer into container and let sit for 24hrs, then bring to boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes. What I learned during this part of the process was to USE A LID. Why? Because I poured an entire 12oz can into the sauce pan for the (I’m guessing) pasteurization process, and by the time the simmering was complete I had a little over 4oz remaining instead of the 6oz that I needed for the recipe. I replaced the missing amount of beer with water to ensure I had 12.2 oz of fluid for the lye mixture, but I imagine it cut into the beer benefits of the finished product. Maybe not a ton, but I’ll know better next time, and there will definitely be a next time. Also, before adding the lye, I froze the beer/water to slushy consistency (not entirely frozen).



COMBINING THE OILS: The oils heat up extremely quickly, much quicker than I anticipated. In almost no time flat, the oil was well above 230 degrees F and I was scrambling for ice to bring it down to match with the lye mixture. Thankfully the stainless steel pot that I got specifically for making soap worked very well to transfer the heat to the ice.



MIXING THE LYE: Pretty straightforward here, all went as planned and both the lye mixture and oils were at-or-around 90 degrees F when they were mixed.



STICK BLENDER: Using the stick blender was easy, but I learned something at this point as well - for a (roughly) 3lbs batch of soap I have to tilt my pan a bit so that the blender portion is more submerged, otherwise the liquid is fairly shallow and the stick blender doesn’t submerge to my comfort level. Meaning, that I believe my awesome pot may be a tad wider than I thought I needed. Not a huge deal breaker, really. I was still able to mix it with general ease. I might have actually mixed it TOO well, to be honest. It didn’t take all that long for trace to arrive. (See, Mom? I can learn)



ESSENTIAL OILS: I got some essential oil samplers early on that had some masculine scents that I wanted to experiment with one day. It contained Bay Rum, Sandalwood, Teakwood, Sweet Tobacco, Leather, and Cedar. BUT, each one only contained about .33oz each. This came up short of what I needed for this recipe, so I ordered larger bottles of the Lemongrass (top note) and Cedarwood (base note). I mixed those two together at the beginning of this soap session, so that I could just add them at trace. The lemongrass was definitely the stronger of the two scents, and kind of overpowered the cedarwood... but I’m hoping that during the curing phase that this lemongrass evaporates off a bit. Still a good smell, in my opinion, but I was aiming for more woodsy. In the future I may half the lemongrass and add another middle or base note such as one of the other woods (teak or sandal). The wife and daughter helped with smelling different combinations of oils beforehand, both individually and blended (bottles held next to each other and wafted back and forth), and this helped. But we only sniffed the sampler packet + lemongrass, not the larger bottle of cedarwood which came from a different company later. (There I am, learning)



INSULATE PHASE: The specific recipe called for me to cover, but NOT insulate for the 24hr period. It felt fine the next day, so I took it out of the mold. I used a wooden mold that came with a silicon liner (and soap cutters, yay!). The silicon liner worked well, but even after washing it I can still smell the lemongrass/cedar pretty well, so unless I’m making that (mostly) exact batch again I will most likely use parchment paper to line the wooden mold in the future. I’ll give it some sniffs as time goes on to see if it fades, just in case.



CUTTING: Once I started cutting the bars, I noticed that it was still kind of soft-ish near the middle. But at this point I figured that I would keep going, which I did, using the straight soap cutter. They weren’t perfect, which is fine with me because I’m more concerned with getting the soap recipe & process down at this point. But in hindsight, I probably could have let the loaf sit for another 12-24 hours without consequence. (So much learning going on).



CURING: For this phase I stacked the bars on a tray lined with parchment paper (going to try and add a picture for this part), and then placed another piece of parchment paper gently on top of the bars for great air flow and protection from dust & cat hair. And the tray is parked on top of the kitchen cupboards making that part of the kitchen smell intermittently lemongrassy and fresh. I’m turning the bars every week or so and they seem to be doing fine. I had a very small soap shaving which was left over during the cutting, just to even up one of the bars, which I randomly placed on the tray between the other bars. I have cut small pieces off of this to use for washing my hands in the bathroom. Kind of my way of testing the soap before it’s done. I figure that the smaller piece would dry quicker and give me an idea of what it will feel and smell like when it’s done. :)



Since my 50th (ugh) birthday is coming up in July, I figured that would be a great time to try my first real bar in the shower. That would be at just at 4 weeks cured. I’ll probably cut one of the “less pretty” bars in half to try out. Thanks for the help, input, and discussions. I feel pretty accomplished and self-sufficient. Once I post this I’m going to check on the cheese I have in the smoker outside (another first for me). :)View attachment 47123View attachment 47124
Congrats
 

dibbles

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Congrats on your first soap - it turned out nicely. Even if your silicone liner retains some scent from a previous batch, I don't find that it transfers to a new, differently scented batch. Enjoy using your own soap for the first time 😁
 

linne1gi

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I did it - I made soap! My first batch (on June 7th) was a beer soap recipe from Kelly Cable’s book: The Natural Soapmaking Book for Beginners”. The recipe contained:


INGREDIENTS:
▪ 6.2 ounces water
▪ 6 ounces flat beer (I used Gold Coast IPA from Kona Brewing)
▪ 13 ounces olive oil
▪ 8 ounces babassu oil
▪ 6 ounces cocoa butter
▪ 5 ounces shea butter
▪ 4.4 ounces lye
▪ 0.5 ounce lemongrass essential oil
▪ 0.5 ounce cedarwood essential oil


BEER PREP: I had to prep the beer in advance - pour beer into container and let sit for 24hrs, then bring to boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes. What I learned during this part of the process was to USE A LID. Why? Because I poured an entire 12oz can into the sauce pan for the (I’m guessing) pasteurization process, and by the time the simmering was complete I had a little over 4oz remaining instead of the 6oz that I needed for the recipe. I replaced the missing amount of beer with water to ensure I had 12.2 oz of fluid for the lye mixture, but I imagine it cut into the beer benefits of the finished product. Maybe not a ton, but I’ll know better next time, and there will definitely be a next time. Also, before adding the lye, I froze the beer/water to slushy consistency (not entirely frozen).



COMBINING THE OILS: The oils heat up extremely quickly, much quicker than I anticipated. In almost no time flat, the oil was well above 230 degrees F and I was scrambling for ice to bring it down to match with the lye mixture. Thankfully the stainless steel pot that I got specifically for making soap worked very well to transfer the heat to the ice.



MIXING THE LYE: Pretty straightforward here, all went as planned and both the lye mixture and oils were at-or-around 90 degrees F when they were mixed.



STICK BLENDER: Using the stick blender was easy, but I learned something at this point as well - for a (roughly) 3lbs batch of soap I have to tilt my pan a bit so that the blender portion is more submerged, otherwise the liquid is fairly shallow and the stick blender doesn’t submerge to my comfort level. Meaning, that I believe my awesome pot may be a tad wider than I thought I needed. Not a huge deal breaker, really. I was still able to mix it with general ease. I might have actually mixed it TOO well, to be honest. It didn’t take all that long for trace to arrive. (See, Mom? I can learn)



ESSENTIAL OILS: I got some essential oil samplers early on that had some masculine scents that I wanted to experiment with one day. It contained Bay Rum, Sandalwood, Teakwood, Sweet Tobacco, Leather, and Cedar. BUT, each one only contained about .33oz each. This came up short of what I needed for this recipe, so I ordered larger bottles of the Lemongrass (top note) and Cedarwood (base note). I mixed those two together at the beginning of this soap session, so that I could just add them at trace. The lemongrass was definitely the stronger of the two scents, and kind of overpowered the cedarwood... but I’m hoping that during the curing phase that this lemongrass evaporates off a bit. Still a good smell, in my opinion, but I was aiming for more woodsy. In the future I may half the lemongrass and add another middle or base note such as one of the other woods (teak or sandal). The wife and daughter helped with smelling different combinations of oils beforehand, both individually and blended (bottles held next to each other and wafted back and forth), and this helped. But we only sniffed the sampler packet + lemongrass, not the larger bottle of cedarwood which came from a different company later. (There I am, learning)



INSULATE PHASE: The specific recipe called for me to cover, but NOT insulate for the 24hr period. It felt fine the next day, so I took it out of the mold. I used a wooden mold that came with a silicon liner (and soap cutters, yay!). The silicon liner worked well, but even after washing it I can still smell the lemongrass/cedar pretty well, so unless I’m making that (mostly) exact batch again I will most likely use parchment paper to line the wooden mold in the future. I’ll give it some sniffs as time goes on to see if it fades, just in case.



CUTTING: Once I started cutting the bars, I noticed that it was still kind of soft-ish near the middle. But at this point I figured that I would keep going, which I did, using the straight soap cutter. They weren’t perfect, which is fine with me because I’m more concerned with getting the soap recipe & process down at this point. But in hindsight, I probably could have let the loaf sit for another 12-24 hours without consequence. (So much learning going on).



CURING: For this phase I stacked the bars on a tray lined with parchment paper (going to try and add a picture for this part), and then placed another piece of parchment paper gently on top of the bars for great air flow and protection from dust & cat hair. And the tray is parked on top of the kitchen cupboards making that part of the kitchen smell intermittently lemongrassy and fresh. I’m turning the bars every week or so and they seem to be doing fine. I had a very small soap shaving which was left over during the cutting, just to even up one of the bars, which I randomly placed on the tray between the other bars. I have cut small pieces off of this to use for washing my hands in the bathroom. Kind of my way of testing the soap before it’s done. I figure that the smaller piece would dry quicker and give me an idea of what it will feel and smell like when it’s done. :)



Since my 50th (ugh) birthday is coming up in July, I figured that would be a great time to try my first real bar in the shower. That would be at just at 4 weeks cured. I’ll probably cut one of the “less pretty” bars in half to try out. Thanks for the help, input, and discussions. I feel pretty accomplished and self-sufficient. Once I post this I’m going to check on the cheese I have in the smoker outside (another first for me). :)View attachment 47123View attachment 47124
Congratulations, and welcome to the addiction. Your soap looks pretty good for a first try. In the future, if I were you, I would lower your water amount - you have almost a 3:1 ratio of water to lye and that's pretty high. Bring it down to a 2:1 ratio and you will like it better. When you stick blend, keep it at very short bursts. Stick blend for 5 seconds, hand stir, stick blend for 5 seconds, hand stir, etc. The more you stick blend the thicker your trace - you can do less, but you can't take it away - so be very conservative with your stick blending. Some of the scents you mention: Sweet Tobacco and Leather for example are definitely not essential oils. They are fragrance oils. It's not possible to get essential oils from those substances. Your silicone liner may continue to retain a fragrance odor (mine does for sure) but I have never had this transfer to a new soap. All in all, a job well done. I like your curing set up.
 

goldendaddie

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Congratulations, and welcome to the addiction. Your soap looks pretty good for a first try. In the future, if I were you, I would lower your water amount - you have almost a 3:1 ratio of water to lye and that's pretty high. Bring it down to a 2:1 ratio and you will like it better. When you stick blend, keep it at very short bursts. Stick blend for 5 seconds, hand stir, stick blend for 5 seconds, hand stir, etc. The more you stick blend the thicker your trace - you can do less, but you can't take it away - so be very conservative with your stick blending. Some of the scents you mention: Sweet Tobacco and Leather for example are definitely not essential oils. They are fragrance oils. It's not possible to get essential oils from those substances. Your silicone liner may continue to retain a fragrance odor (mine does for sure) but I have never had this transfer to a new soap. All in all, a job well done. I like your curing set up.
Thank you for the feedback!

Stick blending: YES, definitely going to slow down the blending and add some stirring to the process.

Fragance Oils vs. Essential Oils: Great input here, thank you! When I was trying to research if “Leather” was a base note, I learned that leather fragrance could mean so many things as far as ingredients and/or perception goes - but this was a fragrance, not an essential oil. I’m also just now learning that there is a difference between Fragrance Oil and Essential Oil. The oils I ended up using for this recipe were:
- Cedarwood ESSENTIAL Oil by Artizen
- Lemongrass FRAGRANCE Oil by P&J Trading. This would probably explain why this oil was so formidably strong smelling and overpowering, since I used an entire 1/2 ounce. Oy. It has since lessened quite a bit, but I will be looking for essential oils in the future. It does say on the label that it’s for soaps, lotions, body butters, etc.. so I don’t imagine that it’ll cause too many issues. I’ll let you know.

Question: What will I like better about changing the ratio of water-to-lye?
 

linne1gi

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Thank you for the feedback!

Stick blending: YES, definitely going to slow down the blending and add some stirring to the process.

Fragance Oils vs. Essential Oils: Great input here, thank you! When I was trying to research if “Leather” was a base note, I learned that leather fragrance could mean so many things as far as ingredients and/or perception goes - but this was a fragrance, not an essential oil. I’m also just now learning that there is a difference between Fragrance Oil and Essential Oil. The oils I ended up using for this recipe were:
- Cedarwood ESSENTIAL Oil by Artizen
- Lemongrass FRAGRANCE Oil by P&J Trading. This would probably explain why this oil was so formidably strong smelling and overpowering, since I used an entire 1/2 ounce. Oy. It has since lessened quite a bit, but I will be looking for essential oils in the future. It does say on the label that it’s for soaps, lotions, body butters, etc.. so I don’t imagine that it’ll cause too many issues. I’ll let you know.

Question: What will I like better about changing the ratio of water-to-lye?
Less water means less overheating of your soap, less chance of glycerin rivers, easier unmolding and less chance of the soap warping.
 
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