Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I love crock pot soaping!

I pour over soapmaking forums and blogs and youtube videos pretty much every day, trying to soak up information, tips and tricks. I've learned from making mistakes, that a little research beforehand pays off in the end. I hate wasting supplies!

Anyway, I've read a lot about hot process soaping. I say read, at first it was more like looking at pictures and moving on, because I just wasn't crazy about the clumpy, rustic look some HP soaps tend to have. (Hot process soapmaking is basically cooking a mixed cold process (lye) soap batch, like the one illustrated through pictures in my previous post here, into a full gelled state and to a safe ph before putting it into a mold.)

But a few weeks ago, I brought a book to work one morning hoping for a slow day. I got one thankfully. The book was "The Everything Soapmaking Book" by ____. (My mom apparently ninja purchased it who-knows-when, and I happened to spy it shoved in a pile under an endtable.) I never buy these kinds of books because, well....the internet is free knowledge. (If you don't count that bill we get in the mail from Suddenlink every month....) Granted, there were no pretty color pictures for me to oogle aimlessly, so I ended up actually reading most of the book throughout the day, flipping from section to section as they interested me. Finally I came to the Hot Process chapter. I wasn't doing anything else but keeping my desk chair warm, so I might as well read it. Oh, well this looks easy! I must know more!!!

Learn more about Hot Process Soapmaking in this great tutorial sort of blog post from Amanda at Lovin' Soap.

And so with a brand new 7 qt crock pot gifted to me, I hit up ye olde trusty internet. First I decided to shred and "rebatch" a lovely green swirled shampoo soap (sadface) batch I'd made a couple of nights before and forgot to add essentials oils to. (Was in a hurry, Game of Thrones was about to come on!!) That went pretty smoothly, even added a bit of nourishing avocado oil to it a little along as it cooked.

It was so pretty :(

Then several tutorials and recipe browsing sessions later, I decided to give a lard recipe a try, from the real paper book I was holding in my hands. (And with some inspiration from this recipe over at Chickens in the Road blog!) I'd bought a bucket of lard when I first started making cold process soap, but hadn't even opened it before then. I think I was a little afraid of the idea of it, that maybe it would gross people out or turn vegans away from my soaps. Then I thought....wait, I don't even know any vegans. Who cares, I'm tryin' it!! (I've also tried this same recipe in CP and like it pretty well, very smooth.) Lard soaps tend to be very mild, moisturizing and are economical to make. And, no, it's not a pore clogger!

After I finished that first batch of HP soap in my shiney new crock pot, I think I was instantly hooked! No, I know I was.

Things to love about HOT PROCESS soapmaking:
  1. Only a one week cure time for the finished soap, versus four-six weeks with cold process.
  2. I don't have to worry about the temperatures of my lye solution and melted oils. Just throw em in there!
  3. No need to worry about fragrance oils accelerating trace. I add those at the end.
  4. No ash forming on the surfaces of the soap.
  5. Flippin' easy cleanup!
  6. I get to use my shiney new crock pot.
On the other hand though, hot processed soaps tend to turn out a bit less smooth than CP (just call it rustic!), fragrances can be lost to the hot temperatures (check flashpoints of your fragrance oils or do small test batches), and it can be a bit more difficult to color evenly. All easily fixed. You can trim your finished soap bars, or embrace their rusticness with love.

Here are a few photos of some of the hot process soaps I've made over the last couple of weeks, and some of the process itself.

Swirled with real melted chocolate, scented lightly with
peppermint essential oil. This is a lard recipe. :)

Spearmint- Wish I could say I planned those lovely color variations,
but it was actually a pretty accident!
Herbalicious kitchen soap- my essential oil fragrance wasn't quite
what I wanted it to be, but it's still nice, and a great gentle scrubby
and odor eliminator for the kitchen. It includes Moroccan red clay
and dried spearmint leaves, bergamot, patchouli, and eucalyptus
essential oils.

"The Lime in the Coconut:" Mmm, this one smells so good! Lime
essential oil, as well as toasted coconut and ginger lime fragrance
oils, with speckles of crushed walnut shells. Made this for my
sweetie, who loves coconut!

Oatmeal & Honey- I think this one might be a new favorite, such
a rich and creamy sort of lather. This batch is actually unfragranced,
and includes real Louisiana honey (from Colfax) and ground oatmeal.
It still smells really good and oatmeally. I made this for a very
sweet coworker who asked for an oatmeal soap. Hope she likes it!

Cooking the chocolate swirl soap

This is the crock pot in the sink after the chocolate
swirl batch. All I did was run some water in it! Major suds!

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