Talllow based soaps, tallow users and where you get it..?

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RogueRose

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The one thing that I have found is that no two batches of tallow are created equal when I buy it from stores. It varies in color, texture and smell. I've also found that it can greatly change the quality of the soaps I make. This is very disturbing b/c I find it to be one of the best oils for various soaps. It got so bad that I decided to try to make my own to see if I could get a consistent quality.

Well, I was getting about 20-50lbs of fat trimmings from a butcher every week and went through many different processing procedures to see how these may effect the final product.

For the most part there was very little meat left on the trimmings. Most of the meats were cuts of prime rib or fillet so it had very nice fat.

If I meticulously trimmed every sliver of meat off (took hours for like 10 lbs of fat) then I would put it in the oven at 250-300 and i would get golden liquid that turned snow white when cooled.

If I trimmed 90% of the remaining meat off and did the same, the fat had a reddish tint (maybe blood/burnt blood?) and the solidified fat was a yellow/tan color.

If I didn't trim any of it then the liquid was brownish and when cooled it was a solid tan to very light brown, with slight yellow tint.

BTY, all of this was filtered through a coffee filter and then a special cotton filter I made from square cotton swabs lined up in a row then rolled up (VERY TIGHTLY) into a cylinder shape so it was a solid cylinder of rolled cotton 1.5" high and about .8-1" diameter and this would be put in the bottom of the funnel and plug it up and then the hot oil was put in the filter and passed through the cotton filter. I would guess it removes everything to almost the micron level, so it removed any burnt meat or blood.

Now since I did this for all three methods (and a few other methods I didn't mention) and I got different results, I can't explain the difference. I even tried passing the oils through a .44 micron polypropylene filter (about 50ml of each, each with own new filter) and the colors remained the same).

All the fats were from the same butcher, from the same cuts of beef so I am at a loss.

I can say that my first try with tallow was the best and it was the fat from the kidney and liver - called K&L fat). The fat was TOTALLY different in texture - it wasn't solid pieces like that one the meat. I can say that this is the best tallow by far.

Does anyone have a consistent way to render or a good source that doesn't charge like $15/lb!?
 
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If you have a Smart & Final or Restaurant nearby you can get Tallow Shortening that has no smell and is pure white. I love it. Mine comes from Smart & Final at $40 per 50#'s. I have seen it at some restaurant supply stores. Walmart also has GV Shortening that is also tallow, but it is not in bulk.
 
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The one thing that I have found is that no two batches of tallow are created equal when I buy it from stores. It varies in color, texture and smell. I've also found that it can greatly change the quality of the soaps I make. This is very disturbing b/c I find it to be one of the best oils for various soaps. It got so bad that I decided to try to make my own to see if I could get a consistent quality.

Well, I was getting about 20-50lbs of fat trimmings from a butcher every week and went through many different processing procedures to see how these may effect the final product.

For the most part there was very little meat left on the trimmings. Most of the meats were cuts of prime rib or fillet so it had very nice fat.

If I meticulously trimmed every sliver of meat off (took hours for like 10 lbs of fat) then I would put it in the oven at 250-300 and i would get golden liquid that turned snow white when cooled.

If I trimmed 90% of the remaining meat off and did the same, the fat had a reddish tint (maybe blood/burnt blood?) and the solidified fat was a yellow/tan color.

If I didn't trim any of it then the liquid was brownish and when cooled it was a solid tan to very light brown, with slight yellow tint.

BTY, all of this was filtered through a coffee filter and then a special cotton filter I made from square cotton swabs lined up in a row then rolled up (VERY TIGHTLY) into a cylinder shape so it was a solid cylinder of rolled cotton 1.5" high and about .8-1" diameter and this would be put in the bottom of the funnel and plug it up and then the hot oil was put in the filter and passed through the cotton filter. I would guess it removes everything to almost the micron level, so it removed any burnt meat or blood.

Now since I did this for all three methods (and a few other methods I didn't mention) and I got different results, I can't explain the difference. I even tried passing the oils through a .44 micron polypropylene filter (about 50ml of each, each with own new filter) and the colors remained the same).

All the fats were from the same butcher, from the same cuts of beef so I am at a loss.

I can say that my first try with tallow was the best and it was the fat from the kidney and liver - called K&L fat). The fat was TOTALLY different in texture - it wasn't solid pieces like that one the meat. I can say that this is the best tallow by far.

Does anyone have a consistent way to render or a good source that doesn't charge like $15/lb!?

If you are looking for smaller amounts of tallow, Fannie and Flo on Etsy has beautiful pure white tallow. I don't remember the price. They process it in an inspected food production kitchen, their lard and tallow are food grade. When I order, I explain I use it for soap making and ask for their "less than perfect" product which comes at a smaller charge.
 

DeeAnna

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"... put it in the oven at 250-300..."

And if you render tallow again, trim less and crank the temp DOWN. That's awfully warm -- small wonder you didn't get white tallow from that. I use a crock pot on the low setting, grind the solid fat so it melts quickly, and remove the liquid fat as fast as it accumulates so the time spent at at higher temps is as short as possible.
 
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I can say that my first try with tallow was the best and it was the fat from the kidney and liver - called K&L fat). The fat was TOTALLY different in texture - it wasn't solid pieces like that one the meat. I can say that this is the best tallow by far.

That fat off the organs is called "leaf lard" if it is from a hog, and highly prized for baking. I wonder if it is called "leaf tallow" in this situation.
 

jcandleattic

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I'm lucky, even though I don't typically use tallow, but I get mine locally. Every year my husband and I buy a steer from the local county fair and have it processed by the sponsoring butcher. We usually ask that the tallow be rendered for cooking for us. They do a great job. Most of it goes to my dad and husband though for the elk they get while hunting, and they mix the beef tallow with the elk meat to make it a bit "fatter" because elk meat is so lean. It also helps with the 'gamey' taste of the elk (which actually isn't bad on it's own though)

Anyway, that was a long explanation to say, you can go to a local butcher and see if they have any. However, with the different diets different cows have, the tallow batches may not be consistent from them either.
 

SudsanSoaps

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Best tallow I've had was what I drained off 80/20 hamburger. (I work at a bakery and the grease just gets tossed) I wash it about 3 times and used a coffee filter on it. Never did heat it without water so probly never over 212 degrees. Basically pure white and smells a little beefy when it's warm. Can't smell it in soap though. Worst I've had was from some fat I bought from the local butcher for $2/lb. expensive and it stank.
 

neonstudy

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I've bought the tallow shortening from Cash and Carry which is the same chain as Smart and Final. cmzaha, does yours say it's just tallow? Mine is tallow and soybean oil. I tried to find the % mix from the manufacturer, but no luck.
 

MorpheusPA

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It's not quite pure tallow, but Valu-Time Animal Shortening is about 94% tallow, 6% partially hydrogenated soybean oil, with some preservatives thrown in. You do have to poke a bit to find the ingredients list, and I've never been quite sure it's perfect, so I wouldn't imagine selling this soap (if I sold soap, which I don't).

I count it as 94% tallow, 6% soy, and it's more than close enough that I've never had a lye issue.
 

zolveria

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TALLOW from kidney fat

I Render my own from adams markert.. grass fed cows. the fat is pulled from the kidney area. and it nice and white. when rendered. It smell like milk. fat from other parts of the body smell different.

I love tallow soap.. it my favorite..
 

mychicknpi

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The one thing that I have found is that no two batches of tallow are created equal when I buy it from stores. It varies in color, texture and smell. I've also found that it can greatly change the quality of the soaps I make. This is very disturbing b/c I find it to be one of the best oils for various soaps. It got so bad that I decided to try to make my own to see if I could get a consistent quality.

Well, I was getting about 20-50lbs of fat trimmings from a butcher every week and went through many different processing procedures to see how these may effect the final product.

For the most part there was very little meat left on the trimmings. Most of the meats were cuts of prime rib or fillet so it had very nice fat.

If I meticulously trimmed every sliver of meat off (took hours for like 10 lbs of fat) then I would put it in the oven at 250-300 and i would get golden liquid that turned snow white when cooled.

If I trimmed 90% of the remaining meat off and did the same, the fat had a reddish tint (maybe blood/burnt blood?) and the solidified fat was a yellow/tan color.

If I didn't trim any of it then the liquid was brownish and when cooled it was a solid tan to very light brown, with slight yellow tint.

BTY, all of this was filtered through a coffee filter and then a special cotton filter I made from square cotton swabs lined up in a row then rolled up (VERY TIGHTLY) into a cylinder shape so it was a solid cylinder of rolled cotton 1.5" high and about .8-1" diameter and this would be put in the bottom of the funnel and plug it up and then the hot oil was put in the filter and passed through the cotton filter. I would guess it removes everything to almost the micron level, so it removed any burnt meat or blood.

Now since I did this for all three methods (and a few other methods I didn't mention) and I got different results, I can't explain the difference. I even tried passing the oils through a .44 micron polypropylene filter (about 50ml of each, each with own new filter) and the colors remained the same).

All the fats were from the same butcher, from the same cuts of beef so I am at a loss.

I can say that my first try with tallow was the best and it was the fat from the kidney and liver - called K&L fat). The fat was TOTALLY different in texture - it wasn't solid pieces like that one the meat. I can say that this is the best tallow by far.

Does anyone have a consistent way to render or a good source that doesn't charge like $15/lb!?

The kidney and liver fat is called suet. It is a harder, waxier fat then fat from other parts of the cow. It was, and can still be, used in baking for things like pie crusts. It's not traditionally rendered for use in baking, it's just kind of shaved off and incorporated into the recipe. When it's shaved like that the connective tissue and other tissue separate easily from it.

The crock pot is a lovely, low hassle way of rendering tallow. It gives a consistent result.

Having said that, not all fat is created equal. Though your fat is coming from the same place on the cow, it's not all coming from the same cow and how it behaves during rendering can be different. Temperature can affect it adversely, too. But, if the only change in your process is the fat, it's possible that the fat is the source of the change.

Jersey and Guernsey cows and their crosses (and possibly others, I am only familiar with those two) don't fully process Vitamin A and store the excess betacarotine in their milk and fat. Often times this fat has a yellow cast to is when you get it. If this is the case, that is why your tallow is not white. There is nothing you can do about this. It should not affect how it soaps, but if the color is off-putting you may want to be more selective when getting the fat.

We are fortunate to have a small farm and we source our lard and tallow right here. I have not soaped my mutton tallow, but I can say from just rendering it is the hardest waxiest tallow I have seen. It is also snow white. I soap with Jersey/Guernsey tallow and know that it's going to have a golden cast to it. Soaping the mutton tallow will be interesting!

The only other hint I might give is that I use Schwartz Filter Clean milk filters to strain my lard, or tightly woven muslin from the fabric store. Because they are pretty dense, the milk filters do a great job and last better if the liquid is pre-strained through a fine mesh strainer prior to going through the milk filter. Any residual solids in the fat will clog them up. I use them if the batch I am rendering is not too large. I tend to use the muslin for lard, since I know it will be a pretty big batch and there will be solids in it from crackling making. The nice thing about the muslin is that it's inexpensive and the pieces make nifty fire starters when you are done. I cut it into roughly 4 inch by 4 inch squares and use it trapped between 2 canning funnels since we store our fats in jars. Using either of these reduces the inputs for rendering over what you mentioned, I think.

Good luck with your future rendering!
 

Skatergirl46

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"... put it in the oven at 250-300..."

And if you render tallow again, trim less and crank the temp DOWN. That's awfully warm -- small wonder you didn't get white tallow from that. I use a crock pot on the low setting, grind the solid fat so it melts quickly, and remove the liquid fat as fast as it accumulates so the time spent at at higher temps is as short as possible.

This is how I do it also. My son’s friend works at a local butcher shop and brought me about five pounds of nice white beef fat. Tomorrow it will become soap.
 

Saponificarian

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Why SunRiseArts? Whether we use the tallow or not, the animal will still be dead. I think people should use more animal fat and less Palm unless you are using Palm from Nigeria :) (We are not endangering any animal and our economy frankly needs the money plus we need to go back to diversifying our economy)

I understand if you are a vegetarian but really we are doing the responsible thing. Imagine all that fat that Soapers use are just dumped in the sea or in a land mass? I believe that would be worse.
 

dibbles

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I can promise you that no animal is being killed for its tallow or lard. Using the animal fats is using a product that would otherwise go to waste.
 

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