Milk & cream (cow) use in soaps - the In's-N-Out's

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

RogueRose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2014
Messages
260
Reaction score
68
I'm really interested in making some moisturizing soaps and I know milk creams are notorious for it's moisturizing properties (some milks more than others).

For those that don't know, whole milk has about 3.5% milk fat and heavy cream varies by brand from 36-42% from what I have found.

I've read that milk can be used in place of water for the lye mix but by doing this it may lead to curdling of the milk and turning a gross orange (and maybe lumpy). To avoid this a neat trick is to freeze the milk and cream before hand. I do this in ice cube trays and I've found that what works best is using really small cube's or only filling the cavity to a certain level. I measure out 15ml with a syringe and fill each cavity. It doesn't take long with a 60ml syringe as one filling will do 4 cubes. One of the reasons to keep them small is when mixing the lye surface area is key in keeping the mixture cool.

I recently did this with 300g milk, 80g of cream & 147g of NaOH. I sprinkled 1/4 of the lye, mixed thoroughly coating all the cubes, added another 1/4, mixed, and continued until it was melted and dissolved. The liquid remained a nice white and stayed cool-ish until finally reaching the final temp of 84 degree F. The only thing is that it slowly turned a yellowish color with a slight tint of orange, which was not wanted. IDK if this can be avoided in the future and I have some ideas of how I might be able to avoid this.

I used a 1 qt pyrex measuring cup to mix and next time I think I will try a stainless steel bowl and have it in a water bath while mixing. I'll try cold water, maybe a few ice cubes, but nothing major. This alone should make a big difference compared to the pyrex cup/bowl.

What I need to hear from the community is how to factor in the values of milk (if it needs to) and the value of heavy cream (milk fat). I see on the Lye calculator that there is a section for milk fat but that doesn't say what exactly they mean as milk fat is and what concentration (%) it is.

Also, does anyone have any experience with powdered or evaporated milk and how does that work with the soap?

Finally if milk is used and let's say that it has a 10% milk fat % (some cream was added to the milk) and this liquid is used instead of water for the lye mix. Is the lye going to saponify while dissolving into the liquid and is that going to hurt anything?

Any important info regarding milk & cream is greatly appreciated especially if a specific type of animal milk or cream has better qualities. (ex, buffalo milk has roughly 8% fat while goat and bovine average around 3.8%.
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,694
Reaction score
9,179
Location
Texas
A few thoughts:

1. It is more important that your milk be divided by weight than volume. I do this by putting the ice cube tray on the scale, and hitting the tare button each time I hit the number I want.

2. Evaporated/powdered milks can be added to the oils with the remaining amount of water added to the lye.

3. If you are purchasing the milks in the US, each container should be marked with the amount of calories per serving and the amount of fat per serving. The percentage can be derived from that info, as fat is 9 calories/gram.

4. Every time I have used milks, I have had the same issue with the turning color. However, the soaps retained none of that color or odor once cured.

5. I have not found any true benefit using milks over my base recipes. However, YMMV.

HTH
 

seven

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
2,672
Reaction score
1,425
i love milk soaps! i don't know why, but i feel it gives a more creamy suds, and a nice overall feeling. my skin used to be severely dry, and after continuous use of goatmilk soap for close to a year, my skin condition has considerably improved.

i've used fresh and powdered milks, i think they're the same. i usually stickblended the powdered milk into my oils before the lye.
 

shunt2011

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,445
Reaction score
9,725
Location
Michigan
I too love making milk soaps. All my soaps have milk for the most part. I love buttermilk the best. I generally do 50/50 and use powdered to make it 100%. I prefer mixing my lye with water then add my milk to my melted oils. I've used 1/2 & 1/2, coconut, goats, cream and buttermilk.
 

RogueRose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2014
Messages
260
Reaction score
68
I too love making milk soaps. All my soaps have milk for the most part. I love buttermilk the best. I generally do 50/50 and use powdered to make it 100%. I prefer mixing my lye with water then add my milk to my melted oils. I've used 1/2 & 1/2, coconut, goats, cream and buttermilk.
Thanks to all who replied! That is some very helpful information. The above post is exactly what I was asking when calculating lye amount needed. If you mix the lye into the water and then the milk into the oils, how do you account for that in the soapcalculator (lye calc)? I've yet to find one that lists values for milk being used as an oil or in place of water.

Susie,

I understand the calorie information and such and that it shy I see that heavy creams range from 36-42% (I actually think I saw something go down to 31% and be listed as HEAVY!!:roll:). Also, when I said 15ml, that is just the amount I use as it is close enough to H20 in being 1g/ml and when I do my oils, water/milk and lye it is all done on a scale so that takes care of that! It's much faster to just squirt 15ml on the syringe and not have to worry about hitting 15g on the nose on a scale especially b/c some always sticks to the tray or other losses.

I'm really interested in goat and buffalo milk and would like to try that out.
 

lsg

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
14,462
Reaction score
5,872
I don't worry about figuring in the fat content of either milk or cream. I have substituted frozen milk for the water with good results. I have also substituted cream for about half the liquid and added the cream at thin trace. When using frozen milk be sure to add the lye a little at a time, stirring constantly, then strain the lye/milk solution to make sure there are no undissolved lye particles. I always put my mold full of soap right in the freezer and leave it there for about 24 hours. This prevents gel which in turn keeps the soap from turning dark. Aloe/Cream soap is one of my favorites.
 

OliveOil2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
856
Reaction score
349
I also love milk soaps and like shunt2011 I use the 50/50 method, or if I am making a soap that I want to use lots of colors and have time to swirl I will use less milk. I don't change my numbers for goat milk or regular buttermilk. I do a math equation for heavy cream or Bulgarian Buttermilk. I found the math equation on an article from David Fisher, and used the equation with SoapCalc.
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,694
Reaction score
9,179
Location
Texas
Thanks to all who replied! That is some very helpful information. The above post is exactly what I was asking when calculating lye amount needed. If you mix the lye into the water and then the milk into the oils, how do you account for that in the soapcalculator (lye calc)? I've yet to find one that lists values for milk being used as an oil or in place of water.

Susie,

I understand the calorie information and such and that it shy I see that heavy creams range from 36-42% (I actually think I saw something go down to 31% and be listed as HEAVY!!:roll:). Also, when I said 15ml, that is just the amount I use as it is close enough to H20 in being 1g/ml and when I do my oils, water/milk and lye it is all done on a scale so that takes care of that! It's much faster to just squirt 15ml on the syringe and not have to worry about hitting 15g on the nose on a scale especially b/c some always sticks to the tray or other losses.

I'm really interested in goat and buffalo milk and would like to try that out.
There are no lye calculators that provide additive information that I have found. And I have looked for over 2 years. Hence my providing how you go about figuring how much fat you are actually adding to any given recipe.

My milk does not stick to my ice tray once it is frozen. Can't imagine why you might have that issue...or other losses.

There are things in soaping that I don't mind being a little "loose" about, and things I do mind. The lye/oil ratio is not something I play with. I need to KNOW that soap is safe for me and my family, so I need to know those numbers. Sorry to have assumed the same about you. My bad.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,449
Reaction score
19,276
Location
USA
I am also a stickler for being accurate about my fats and lye weights, but I don't weigh out my liquids accurately before freezing. Perhaps the difference between your method, Susie, and the OPs method is less about accuracy and more about when the accuracy comes into play.

I don't get too precise about weighing out the liquid (milk, beer) I want to freeze. For example, I often reduce my beer and freeze it well in advance of soaping. I'm also never quite sure what recipe I'm going to end up making, so there's no point in weighing it out in advance -- the weight will probably be wrong! :) I am precise, however, when I weigh the frozen liquid before adding it to the lye. I let some of the frozen stuff get slushy, so I can adjust the amount for an accurate weight.

I think in either case, the issue about being accurate with the lye-oil ratio is taken care of, whether it's done before freezing or afterwards.

Maybe this explanation will help to clarify matters?

Although it's entirely possible I'm just missing the point altogether.... :-D
 
Last edited:

RogueRose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2014
Messages
260
Reaction score
68
Beer? Wow! Learn something new all the time! Never knew people would make soap with beer. Does it add something special?

As for me mentioning the weight difference, milk and cream are lighter than water so 15ml of milk is a little under 15g and 15ml of cream is even less than milk. I just measure it out b/c I make them about 1/2 the size of what the tray holds and this way I know about how many I need for a recipe. As I said, with milk & lye, surface area seems key as it allows for more cooling, so that is why smaller cubes.
 

verotxu

Active Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2012
Messages
39
Reaction score
5
Hello!!

I have started making milk soap with honey. Yesterday I did several batches and used cream or dissolved powdered milk for babies. I usually have a 50% NaOH solution stored in order to safe time when making soap so I calculated the amount of water needed to prepare a 30% lye solution and considered the needed extra water as milk and added at thin trace. Now that I read this post and I believe it is way easier to use powdered milk and dissolve it in the oils!!! . I will certainly give it a try and I was wondering if you could please give me an advice about the amount of powdered milk to use.

Cheers

Verotxu
 

Latest posts

Top