newbie confusion about feasibility of 100% olive oil soap

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kaybee

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hi--

Just getting started :) Oil availability (and/or affordability) of anything other than olive seems to be a problem both here in Italy (where I am studying) and also in Ireland where I normally live. Olive oil is (obviously ;) ) available and affordable here, but I have not been able to find coconut, palm etc anywhere. likewise in Ireland, olive oil is available and affordable, but otherwise only coconut is available and only from the health food shop and its prohibitively expensive. Mail-ordering coconut, palm, etc also is prohibitively expensive for me here. sunflower, canola, corn etc are cheap and available but im not really interested in using them as I've read (on this board) that they have a tendency to go rancid more quickly. I'm not interested in using lard or other animal fats/products (vegan). So, this leaves me pretty much with olive oil--though i may be able to get castor oil from a pharmacy, havent checked this yet.

Now, I know that castille is 100% olive oil and Ive learned from this site that it requires a longer curing time--like preferably up to 6 months or even a year--to be at its best. but I've also read in various places that soaps sometimes only have a "shelf life" of 6 months before they go rancid etc...so im confused about the actual life of a bar of castillle....if it has to cure for 6 months...does it go rancid by the time its cured...? i know this cant be the case but im just confused!

also, reading over the boards, it seems like people have more problems with castilles than others (?)

A friend and I run an herbs (etc.) stall/business in Ireland and we were hoping to add soaps to the offerings...we were hoping to have some soaps to offer as early as this summer, though I've now realized from research and reading the boards that its much more prudent and necessary to do a good deal of experimenting/testing/keeping soaps to determine shelf life, etc etc etc. before that would be possible (not to mention the liability insurance etc.), but anyhow, just trying to get my feet wet now.

So basically im wondering about the feasibility of doing a castille, or perhaps castille/castor if i can actually get the castor. there is one company that it looks like i can get small amounts of coconut oil from shipped from the US for fairly reasonably, but id rather work with whats available locally if possible. I saw the recent post regarding palm/coconut free recipes, but i cant seem to even find grapeseed or sweet almond here either. so im basically limited to olive or maybe olive/castor. ( i can get whole coconuts... but i really dont think thats any use!)

also wondering about the Room temperature cold process... have had a heck of a time finding a glass or stainless steel thermometer here... people have told me they just dont have/use cooking thermometers here. all i can find are wine thermometers which only go up to 40 or 50 celsius, or a generic metal (probably not stainless steel) deep fryer thermometer. bleh. so can i go it without a thermometer?

Thanks a million

kaybee
 

Zhuliya

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Hi there,
I live in Italy too and I mainly make castile soaps for the same reason you expressed. I love them and I think that, even if they take a little longer to reach trace or to cure, they're amazing for the skin.
But I have to tell you that you can easily find castor or sweet almond oil here, if you want to. I generally use a combination of these 3 oils, and my soaps take a long time to cure but become hard enough and very pleasant I think, plus they have a pretty good lather.

You can find these oils in any "erboristeria" or big supermarket like ipercoop or esselunga (or even conad), or you can try the natural food shop chain "naturasì", they generally store sweet almond and castor oil. They are indeed expensive, but I generally only use 5% castor and something like 10% almond, so the final result is not that expensive. Plus you can find grapeseed at any big enough supermarket.

I have made 100% OO castile, but only without lye discount as a laundry soap. I don't thing it would be good as a general body soap because it doesn't bubble much and it has a peculiar strong smell that I don't thing many people would find pleasant.
 

kaybee

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hi--thanks yes, i think it was your post that i saw that asked about coconut free, palm free. i was imagining that i could get castor at a pharmacy but hadnt checked yet. i havent had much luck with natura si... have only seen olive, flax, sunflower and sesame (sesame being kind of expensive as well)... didnt see any sweet almond at either of the 2 i was at... grapeseed i havent seen either but also dont have any of the really big conads or anything around me. i'll keep an eye out if i get to one. i live in santa marinella, 40 minutes north of rome...im in rome pretty often for school but am really exhausted at running around the city trying to find items that i end up not finding anyway ;)

thanks for the advice, and ill keep an eye out for the grapeseed and such. i didnt see castor at naturasi, but i guess it would be in the body care section and not with the edible oils (maybe thats where the sweet almond is too...?)

do you have a thermometer or do you do room temp cold process?

thanks again.

kaybee
 

ToniD

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I like castile soap. I make it room temp. Yes, it can get DOS, but I have castile that are over a yr old and are fine. One batch I had got DOS, but I am sure it is because I stored it poorly in a warm humid spot (under bathroom sink in the summer)

I make mine with buttermilk, cuz I think that adds something nice to the lather. I see you want vegan, and I used coconut milk for one that was nice.

Just a note, add less water for castile. I use 37% lye solution, but have used a 29% solution that comes out OK too. It is just soft for a much longer time.

Yes, they take a while to cure :)

Hope it goes well as you find your ingredients.
 

calico21

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In the U.S. castor oil is found in the laxitive section of most pharmacies and grocery stores. It is a natural laxitive (not cooking oil)so I would think you might have to look there also. Hope you find it, i love it for my soaps.
 

hervor

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I made a 100% olive oil soap a couple of days ago. It was my first o/o only soap and it came out quite a lot firmer than the lard o/o combinations I have been making. It is smooth and silky to the touch too and I'm looking forward to trying it out. I think it will be the nicest one yet.
It doesn't smell odd though, but I used the mild and light o/o that comes after the first few pressings. It has no flavour and is good for everyday cooking so I use it for everything.
How can you tell when it is cured please? I'm new to this so I thought it was behaving exactly the same as the other soaps, it looks the same and feels the same.
 

Zhuliya

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kaybee said:
I didnt see castor at naturasi, but i guess it would be in the body care section and not with the edible oils (maybe thats where the sweet almond is too...?)

Do you have a thermometer or do you do room temp cold process?
Yes, the almond and castor oils are on the skin care section, if you can find a big supermarket in Rome I'm sure they have them both (I live in Bologna and in the small coop nearby I can easily find grapeseed oil!), and if not try any "erboristeria" or pharmacy, sweet almond is very easy to find, whereas not all pharmacies store castor. There you can also easily find wheat germ, coconut (very expensive there though), shea butter and so on.

And yes, I use a thermometer for my soaps, I prefer to be precise with temp. I got the thermometers for about 7€ each at a specialized shop that sells wine and spirits-related supplies, but you can get it at any shop that sells kitchen products since it is apparently used to control temperature while melting chocolate.

Good luck!
 

jennikate

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Sorry i cant help with oils where you are but i can say I have never used a thermometer in my soap makiing. I have been soaping for just over a year now and when doing cold process i mix when outside of containers are warm to touch . It works for me Good luck welcome to the forum
 

sira

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Sorry, but I'm going to write in Italian because is easier for me ...maybe I don't be able to say that in english. Scusme.
Ciao dalla spagna....allora ti dico quello che so. puoi comprerare tanti oli in germania, loro fanno dei saponji troppo belli. Se vuoi puoi guardare questa web, ha delle buonissimi prezzi, e imagino che il trasporto sará più economico cha dalla America: guarda qua gisellamanske.com, se non capisci cerca il tradutore di google.
Spero averti aiutato.
 

krissy

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just incase there are others who could benefit from the website Sira shared, i used google translator to translate...


Hello from spain .... then I tell you what I know. you will buy so many oils in Germany, they make too good of saponji. If you want you can look at this web site has some very good prices, and pictures that transport will be cheaper by cha America: gisellamanske.com check it out if you do not understand the translator of google search.
I hope to have you helped
 

coco cooks

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Re: newbie confusion about feasibility of 100% olive oil soa

kaybee said:
hi--

Just getting started :) Oil availability (and/or affordability) of anything other than olive seems to be a problem both here in Italy (where I am studying) and also in Ireland where I normally live. Olive oil is (obviously ;) ) available and affordable here, but I have not been able to find coconut, palm etc anywhere. likewise in Ireland, olive oil is available and affordable, but otherwise only coconut is available and only from the health food shop and its prohibitively expensive. Mail-ordering coconut, palm, etc also is prohibitively expensive for me here. sunflower, canola, corn etc are cheap and available but im not really interested in using them as I've read (on this board) that they have a tendency to go rancid more quickly. I'm not interested in using lard or other animal fats/products (vegan). So, this leaves me pretty much with olive oil--though i may be able to get castor oil from a pharmacy, havent checked this yet.

Now, I know that castille is 100% olive oil and Ive learned from this site that it requires a longer curing time--like preferably up to 6 months or even a year--to be at its best. but I've also read in various places that soaps sometimes only have a "shelf life" of 6 months before they go rancid etc...so im confused about the actual life of a bar of castillle....if it has to cure for 6 months...does it go rancid by the time its cured...? i know this cant be the case but im just confused!

also, reading over the boards, it seems like people have more problems with castilles than others (?)

A friend and I run an herbs (etc.) stall/business in Ireland and we were hoping to add soaps to the offerings...we were hoping to have some soaps to offer as early as this summer, though I've now realized from research and reading the boards that its much more prudent and necessary to do a good deal of experimenting/testing/keeping soaps to determine shelf life, etc etc etc. before that would be possible (not to mention the liability insurance etc.), but anyhow, just trying to get my feet wet now.

So basically im wondering about the feasibility of doing a castille, or perhaps castille/castor if i can actually get the castor. there is one company that it looks like i can get small amounts of coconut oil from shipped from the US for fairly reasonably, but id rather work with whats available locally if possible. I saw the recent post regarding palm/coconut free recipes, but i cant seem to even find grapeseed or sweet almond here either. so im basically limited to olive or maybe olive/castor. ( i can get whole coconuts... but i really dont think thats any use!)

also wondering about the Room temperature cold process... have had a heck of a time finding a glass or stainless steel thermometer here... people have told me they just dont have/use cooking thermometers here. all i can find are wine thermometers which only go up to 40 or 50 celsius, or a generic metal (probably not stainless steel) deep fryer thermometer. bleh. so can i go it without a thermometer?

Thanks a million

kaybee

Ireland and Italy have large African communities in the main cities(Rome especially). Have you checked their ethnic food stores? I buy palm and coconut oils there cheap.Also Indian/Asian Stores sell coconut and almond oils cheap
 

sira

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krissy said:
just incase there are others who could benefit from the website Sira shared, i used google translator to translate...


Hello from spain .... then I tell you what I know. you will buy so many oils in Germany, they make too good of saponji. If you want you can look at this web site has some very good prices, and pictures that transport will be cheaper by cha America: gisellamanske.com check it out if you do not understand the translator of google search.
I hope to have you helped
 

kaybee

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hi--thanks so much to everyone for their responses; im sorry i havent replied, my internet has been down for a week. :roll:

ok, since it looks like i should be able to get castor somewhere i think i will try olive with a small amount of castor. and maybe some pure olive too. then i can compare and see. i think i will steer clear of the sweet almond right now, as im a low-on-cash student and would rather use less expensive ingredients particularly as a newbie, taking into the account the strong possibility for potential FAIL batches ;) hopefully the olive/castor without the sweet almond will work. ive yet to search for the castor but i expect it can be found.

Zhuliya (and others in a similar situation) -- if you are looking for coconut, it looks like iherb in the US has really reasonable shipping rates, also have cheap essential oils and reasonable shipping rates.

still no luck on oils such as grapeseed :( (several conads, a superstore etc...every supermarket i have come across lately but still no luck)...but i have come across rice bran oil fairly frequently. i think its about 5 euro a liter or 5 euro for 750 ml...does anyone have experience with this? also, what about sesame, although it is rather expensive? i would like to use oils that wont go rancid quickly; ie that the soap will (hopefully) have a longer shelf life

coco cooks--thanks for the suggestion. im only aware of one asian store in rome and had no luck finding cheap coconut oil there. not aware of african stores there (things are SO hard for me to discover here) but maybe in the outlying areas of ladispoli, which tend to have larger immigrant populations, if i can get up the energy to go exploring there. i didnt have much luck with this in ireland either, but i was living on the west coast, not near dublin or cork. perhaps there is an asian wholesaler in cork i can check out when i get back. everything just seems so much more expensive than the suppliers available in the states though :(

ToniD--the coconut milk sounds nice. i will have to do more research and ask more questions on a new thread on how you include it and what you include it as as im still a bit unclear about some of the soapmaking processes (does it count as fat or just liquid? i dont understand gelling etc, not totally clear on superfatting etc...but ill do more research then ask these in another thread if necess). do you use a can of coconut milk? could you use blended fresh coconut? curious. Did you do a 100% olive oil soap and then sub coconut milk for the liquid then?

also thanks for the german company, it looks like they have alot of unique butters and stuff

i think i will give the room temp processing a go to start with because as ridiculous as it sounds, i CANNOT find a thermometer. the only ones that i have found are the wine ones that only go up to 50 %. im sure they can be gotten somewhere in rome, but finding things in rome is so exhausting and time consuming.

ok again, thanks for all the advice

kaybee
 

Zhuliya

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I use rice bran and I LOVE it! It's great for making both soap and shampoo, and it has a lot of good qualities too. I suggest you give it a try, and anyway if you don't like it you can still use it for cooking. ;)
 

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