Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bear soap follow up

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Follow up to the soap making adventure we went on last week.
We made a little over 5 pounds of soap.



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Bear Soap


 Here is the recipe we used.
Even though my mom and I have been making soap for a few years now we are still very amateur.
It's important to point out that each fat and oil out there have different qualities and all react differently with the lye.  Each recipe is specific to the oils used in it.  There are calculators that can figure out a recipe for you.  Right now I find it easiest to find a ready made recipe.




Tallow Blend Soap (Kathy Miller)


44 oz. beef tallow
20 oz. olive oil
20 oz. coconut oil
12 oz. lye crystals
32 oz. cold water



 Like I said this recipe made a little over five pounds.  Since we just could not decide what scent to use we divided the batch up.  Into five batches to be exact.  Would NOT recommend this, it is just too much.  In the past we have divided a batch into two.  That was doable.  Five was too many, but now we know.  We also know what varieties we liked.  Which was all of them : )  Good thing this recipe barely made a dent in my bear fat supply!

We poured (x) amount of the soap into a bowl, added our additives, poured into mold and went back and did again.  Five times.


This first batch was scented with woodsy scents.  We used cederwood, scotch pine, bergamot, and a little benzoin.  We are calling it our "up north" soap.  While I was trying to come up with a blend guys would like, I can say with confidence this is gender neutral.  It's a smell anyone who loves the fresh scents of the woods will enjoy.


I cut the bars so they are smaller, 1.5-2 ounces.  Perfect so I can give a variety as gift.


Second batch was lavender.  You just can't go wrong with lavender.


I ended up rebatching this batch so I could try molding in little tins I have.  This process isn't recommended because the soap doesn't get very pour able again and ends up kind of lumpy.  But I was just experimenting.
Normally one would rebatch their soap right away if the soap didn't turn out.
After normal soap has cured people will melt down the soap again and that is called hand milled soap.  This is where one can make varieties of soap with out having to deal with caustic soap.
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Third batch is eucalyptus.  Again I tried rebatching and this time adding some dried ground eucalyptus.


It gave a green color.  As far as my soaps go you won't see me putting unnatural dye in it.  I really could care less if my lavender soap is purple.  To me it kind of defeats the purpose of trying to put natural stuff on my skin, but that is me.



However, some natural additives to give a little twist, I will try.
The batch already had the eucalyptus essential oil added.  I re-melted added the ground herb and re molded.



You can see some white chunks, that's from the soap not totally remelting.  The reason it's not ideal to re batch soap if you don't have to.  It's not horrible, I kind of like the ruggedness of it.  Just not the nice solid chunks you would see for sale.


Fourth batch, lavender-eucalyptus.  I just have a thing for those two smells.



I left this one as is and in small bars.


Fifth and last batch, a gardeners soap.  This one we had thought out ahead of time so everything was done before placing into the molds.
It is scented with rosemary and lemongrass.


Dried rosemary, caraway seeds, psyllium husks seeds, and poppy seeds were added so give some exfoliant when you wash your hands.

Right out of the mold about 24 hours later.


The soap is still soft enough to cut.


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All this soap is still a bit soft.  As it cures over the weeks it will get harder.  I have it all cut up in paper bags, my cupboard smells like heaven!

Little bit about my soap background.
How my fascination for homemade beauty started was from a gift of homemade bear fat soap.  I personally felt such a difference and was HOOKED.
It has led to more than just soap, but also to lotion, lip balm, perfume, and so much more.

Below are a couple books I had picked up at the library to help me learn more.  There were lots of books but these two I liked.  I think because of the pretty pictures.  A lot of the older books are very informative but lack in pictures(Soap: Making It, Enjoying it by Ann Bramson is a good one).  While the older books shouldn't be tossed aside, I do LOVE pictures.

Handmade Soap: A Practical Guide to Making Natural Soaps

She had a couple vegetable base soap recipes as well as numerous hand milled varieties.





The Complete Soapmaker by Norma Coney

In this book this author gives you quite a few base soap recipes.  A lot using tallow, which is actually hard to find.  She also has a lot of hand milled recipes.

Of course we also have the wonderful Internet to guide us!

Happy soap making my friends!

~Emily




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1 comment:

  1. I have several gallon jars of rendered bear fat that I need to use up. I've been told it makes awesome soap, but no one in my area has made soap from it (only bought it.) I'm so glad I found your helpful website for a recipe! Could you also tell me what amounts of oils you used for your "up north" soap, as I live in "man country". (I prefer a cinnamon spice scent as a woman, like comes off my rock rose bushes when the sun heats up their resinous leaves. Never seen Cistus essential oil (that's the Latin name), is there a work around for a cinnamon scent do you know?)

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