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  • Handmade Soap

    Two Delicacies Handmade Soap
    submitted by TJ Currey

    If you have a question or comment about this recipe, please post it in the Comments Section below!

    A fantastic handcrafted soap recipe that yields a very hard, long-lasting bar! I named this "Two Delicacies" because it includes two of my favorite butters - cocoa & shea. While the directions given are for hot-process soap, you can also use this recipe for cold-process soap-making.

    This recipe should be made only by experienced soapmakers. Lye is a very dangerous chemical and should not be used around children, pets or by adults who don't take precautions. In fact, I recommend that you try this recipe only after taking a soapmaking class, reading my soap-making book, or watching an experienced soapmaker make soap. In any case, read the recipe thoroughly before trying it, and if you have any questions beforehand, please ask me by sending me an email. (Click on my name above to open up an email message to me.)

    Yield: 1.5 pounds
    Prep Time: about an hour from start to finish
    Price Category: 3
    Difficulty Level: 3
    Shelf Life: This information will be added

    Rating: star star star star
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    8 ounces coconut oil (76 degree or virgin)
    5 ounces white deodorized cocoa butter. (If using a fragrance oil that goes well with a chocolate scent, you can use regular cocoa butter)
    5 ounces palm oil
    4 ounces sunflower oil
    2 ounces shea butter
    1 ounces castor oil
    1 teaspoon mica OR ultramarine OR clay
    1/2 teaspoon borax
    3.5 ounces sodium hydroxide
    9 ounces distilled or rain water
    1.2 ounces fragrance oil
     digital scale that weighs in 10ths of ounces
     stick blender
     white vinegar

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    Blending Procedure:

    1. I make hot-processed soap in a very large crockpot with a removable ceramic insert and a lid. Line up all of your ingredients so you don't have to dig around for something! Turn the crockpot on "high" and using a large Pyrex glass container, weigh the castor oil and sunflower oil into a large Pyrex glass container. Add the measured oils to the crockpot. Weigh all of your solid oils (coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, & shea butter) into the same Pyrex glass container. Place the bowl in the microwave for about 3 minutes on "high" to melt the solid oils. Add these melted oils to the crockpot. You may go ahead and add your color to the melted oils at this time.

    2. Prepare your lye water with a stainless steel bowl sitting on a trivet or in a stainless steel sink. (Lye water gets very hot!) After donning goggles and appropriate gloves, weigh the water and add 1/2 teaspoon of borax to the water, stirring until dissolved. Weigh your lye amount in a separate dry container. Slowly add the lye to the water while stirring the water with a long-handled, stainless steel spoon. You want to stir well but not to the point where the mixture splashes about in the bowl. Once the water starts looking clear and the lye is completely dissolved, carefully pour the lye water mixture into the crockpot with the oils. Take care not to splash. Once that is done, put the spoon you stirred the mixture with and the bowl you used into the sink and immediately douse with white vinegar - this will deactivate any remaining lye. If you think you''ve splashed the mixture anywhere on yourself, your gloves, or your goggles, douse with vinegar.

    3. Leaving your gloves on, plug in a stick blender and place it directly into the mixture all the way to the bottom - make sure the bottom of the stick blender is directly on the bottom of the crockpot. (NEVER pull the stick blender out while your finger is still on the "on" switch.) Turn on and with fluid motions, stir slowly moving in clockwise and counter-clockwise movements. After about 3 to 5 minutes, your mixture should start thickening up. This is called "trace." This means all the lye is mixing with all of the oil to begin the saponification (soap making) process. A trace is reached when you take the stick blender out and touch it to the top of the mixture and it leaves a very good indentation. Unplug your stick blender and place it directly into the lye-water bowl (which should be full of vinegar).

    4. Now it''s time to cover and cook the soap. Cook time varies from batch to batch - 30-50 minutes is a usual time, but I've seen it take longer than that. The soap will often rise up and start looking like ocean waves from the edge of the crockpot inward. It can sometimes rise high enough to hit the top of the lid - I usually grab a thick plastic spoon when this happens, take the lid off, and stir the soap around to pull it back down.

    5. While your soap is cooking, wash everything used earlier and prepare the molds. I use 1.5-lb. wooden molds with lids to help "squish" down the hot-processed soap when it has been poured into the molds. Line the molds with freezer paper, shiny side up. Weigh your fragrance oil and set it aside to add later.

    6. In time, the mixture will start looking almost see-through and yellowish, like a big pot of petroleum jelly. This gives you an indicator that it is pretty close to being done. To test this, perform what is known as the "tongue test." Grab a spoon and pick up a bit of the soap mixture, blowing on it several times to cool it down. Gently rub the tip of your tongue back and forth on the soap and wait to see if it tingles. You are not eating the mixture, and expect to feel some heat because the soap is hot! If there is no tingly feeling, the soap is done. If you feel a tingle against your tongue, replace the lid, cook for another 10 minutes, and try again. The tingle means that there is still some active lye in the soap, and you want to wait until you feel absolutely no tingle before moving on to the next step. When there is no tingle, the soap is done. There is no real substitute for the tongue test, so if you feel uncomfortable doing it, DO NOT DO IT. If you do it, you do it at your own risk.

    7. When your soap is done, turn off and unplug the crockpot and remove the lid. With pot holders, remove the ceramic insert and set it on the trivet. We need now to cool down the soap before we add fragrance. If the scent has a low flash-point (point of evaporation), adding it while the soap is too hot will cause the scent to "flash off" and you won''t smell it in the finished soap. Look for fragrance oils with a flash point of 170 degrees or higher - these work the best with hot-processed soap-making. After adding the scent, stir the mixture to incorporate it. Spoon the soap into the mold. I usually take a long piece of Saran wrap and place on the top of the soap and even it out a bit with my hand, before putting the lid on and squishing the soap down with the lid. Using pot holders, pick up the ceramic insert and place into the sink, filling it full of hot water. You don''t need to add detergent - it''s just soap in there! Allow to soak before rinsing.

      Wait until the soap has completely cooled (5-7 hours) before unmolding. Slice. Leave soap standing on a cookie sheet for at least 2 weeks before it's ready to wrap and give as gifts. You CAN use the soap immediately after cooling; however, the soap is better and lasts longer if left out a while to dry.


    "I'd never made soap before (except melt & pour) but found this really easy to make. I had to sub 3oz of vegetable oil, because I only had 5oz of coconut oil left, but it still worked really well. I scented it with vanilla extract and benzoin essential oil and took out a small bowlful, mixed it with melted chocolate and sweet orange essential oil, then stirred it back in to give it a marble effect. It's gorgeous, can't wait to put this in the gift sets I'm making!!"
    Submitted by: candybaps

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