Fun Embeds…

February 27, 2012

I have wanted to embed a round loaf into a rectangle loaf for a long time now…so this week I worked on doing that.  It didn’t start out too smoothly. I was pouring into two round tubes (as one wouldn’t be long enough to fill the whole mold.  Well as I was pouring the second tube the bottom split open on me! I was able to salvage most of it cause I had my pot right next to it so I dumped the cascading soap into it and then poured it into a silicon mold which I ended up cutting into squares and embedding…but it didn’t start out smoothly.  I might try to cut the round soap in half next time…well see.  All in all for something that I didn’t think would come out good it wasn’t half bad.

Pretty cool looking all in all!

I didn't get soap all the way around the round soap! I didn't pour a lot in the bottom to start and I think that would have really helped and I wouldn't have had the air pocket problems.

Oops! Missing soap. Though they still look cool.

This one was missing so much soap there was just a little piece on the edge so I just removed it for a fun looking soap shape!

These were the square embeds which I really like too!

The I wanted to create something from a MP project I’d seen with CP soap.  It worked well and I love the look of it. I just messed up on alternating my colors. Oops!  But it still looks neat.

These were the cubes I made to insert into a bigger loaf.

Pushed the top pink one down too far and lost the soap inbetween but still cool.

Used some of the left over pieces from the first batch in these as well.


Goat’s Milk: Experiment #5

February 24, 2012

Last test batch in this series.  I look back now and wonder if I should have just tested smaller batches (ha, guess it’s a little too late now).  I worry about the lye…but other than that I think they’ve been successful tests.  Once my PH strips arrive I’ll test them out, but visibly there doesn’t seem to be any lye concentrations in the soap so I’m hoping all is good.

Used the Mango and Shea Butter recipe again.  This time I put them in smaller molds and put one in the fridge so it wouldn’t go through the gel phase.  I want to be able to compare hardness to the one that went through the gel phase yesterday.  I’m really curious to see what caused two of my batches to be super hard within 12 hours. I swear it’s the gel phase since it happened with two different recipes and the only common factor was the mold and that they went through intense gel phases. Hopefully after today I’ll have a better idea.

Recipe:
8 oz. Mango Butter
8 oz. Shea Butter
16 oz. Olive Oil
10 oz. Coconut oil, 76 degree
5 oz. Palm oil
Lye: 7.75 oz.
Water/Milk by volume: 18.15 oz

Method:
Tried something new. I started  with 2 ounces of water and just 16 ounces of goat’s milk…hoping/thinking that the water would help my lye fully dissolve.  Though Amy (from Great Cakes Soap Works) suggested that what I might be seeing are just saponified milk fats, which makes me feel 100% better.  I’m still anxious to PH test the bars to be 100% sure the soap is okay.  I took my soap out of the ice bath this time and just added the lye to the frozen milk.   Since it was staying well below 80 degrees in my ice bath and I’m such a worry wort about the lye not fully dissolving.  I was hoping that the temps would get a little hotter to fully dissolve the lye, but that it wouldn’t get too hot and burn the milk.

Still go the ammonia smell, but I no longer am worried over that as it’s disappeared in four of four batches.

Mixing:
Once the lye was all mixed in with the milk I added it to the oils and stick blended it. Instead of using essential oils this time I used fragrance oils.  I split this batch into two.  In one I used Acai & Mangosteen.  This fragrance is naturally yellow and gave the soap a nice yellow color. (I think I might be falling in love with this fragrance.  It’s a new one I’ve never used before. Liked it in the bottle, liked it even more in the soap when I mixed it. Can’t wait to see what it’s like after curing!) I didn’t bother to add any color to this batch.  Get this! It got thick!  I’ve stick blended and stick blended and stick blend until I was afraid my poor motor would die on previous batches just to get a thin trace and I add some fragrance oil and wham…thick trace.  Ahhh gotta love fragrance oils. Never know what they’re going to throw at ya.

The second batch I used Cranberry Spice. I’m IN LOVE with this fragrance. I used it on a batch of soaps already and love it. I decided I was going to make a batch of goat’s milk that I’d use and I wanted whatever fragrance I decided on…it wasn’t very hard to decide on Cranberry Spice ha!  I debated adding color to this one. When I used it in the first batch a couple weeks ago it get very brown-dark yellow and I decided I’d add a color because I wasn’t overly thrilled with that color.  I went with just one color…nothing fancy.

Unmolding:
Hardness: I give up ha!  Both these batches the one in the fridge and the one not got hard. The one in the fridge didn’t go through a gel phase and was hard in a matter of hours (like hard enough I could cut it hard!).  The other one went through a gel phase even in the smaller mold and not insulated… I think in this case it’s the recipe. With 75% of it solid oils and butters that’s gotta be contributing to the hard bar.  Not that I’m complaining about a hard bar.  Hard is good as long as it’s conditioning and moisturizing and has all the great properties milk gives a bar of soap!

Acai & Mangosteen: Definitely not putting this one in the fridge again. Did not cut well and I've got rings...hopefully they disappear as it cures...

Cranberry Spice: This went through the gel phase. Cut nicely, the FO morphed the blue, but I still like it.

I’ll see how these lather, how silky they are, and how I just like them overall, but my gut tells me that I’m going to probably stick with the sunflower recipe.  It’s a gentle one and I love the oils in it.  It is initially softer out of the mold but it seems to be hardening nicely (even the first batch where I have a bit more water than I should).

And there you have it. My thoughts and results.  Hope it was helpful.  If you have any tips or suggestions for me I’m all ears. I’m sure I’ll figure out new things as I continue to make goat’s milk soap. I can’t wait for the spring to come so I can try out some fresh local goat’s milk!


Goat’s Milk: Experiment #4

February 23, 2012

First off, Happy Birthday to my awesome little sis!

Now back to soap!  For batch four I tried a new recipe.  I took a recipe that I really liked the sound of and altered it slightly!  Big deal for me.  This is the first recipe I’ve “altered” ever.  I’m getting bolder ha!  All I did was add a little bit of palm oil. There was already a high percentage of coconut oil so I figured it would be a pretty hard bar (especially with all the butters), but I like palm oil and so I added just a little to this recipe.  Very interested to see how it is when I use it. I think it’ll be a very soothing and moisturizing bar.

Recipe:
8 oz. Mango Butter
8 oz. Shea Butter
16 oz. Olive Oil
10 oz. Coconut oil, 76 degree
5 oz. Palm oil
Lye: 7.75 oz.
Water/Milk by volume: 18.15 oz

Method:
For this batch I used goat’s milk I got from my local health food store again. I really like the lighter tone/color I get from it. I froze it before hand. Then slowly added lye to it.  I had it in an ice bath like the other batches and I didn’t let temps get above 80 degrees.

Yup, still go the ammonia smell.  Though it doesn’t really worry me much any more now.  Since it hasn’t affected any of my previous batches.

My biggest concern wit these is that not all the lye is dissolved.  I mix and mix and mix and it is all liquid, but there look like there are little grains of lye still in it.  I let it sit for a long time out of the ice bath and kept mixing it but it still looked like they weren’t dissolving…not sure if that will always be the case.  Initial tongue zap tests don’t give me a jolt but there was the slightly bit of a tingle. I bought some ph strips to test them…of all the things this is really the only thing that worries me about these batches.  There aren’t any visible “white” spots of lye showing… and the soaps feels smooth (not like there are any bit of lye in it…ahh guess we’ll see what happens. *fingers crossed*

Hard to tell in this picture, but it's really creamy...thick...I have a light yellow color.

Mixing:
Once the lye was all mixed in with the milk I added it to the oils and stick blended it. I stick blended for a fair amount of time and only ever reached a light trace, but it set up just fine. Now that I’m feeling more confident I decided it was time to introduce some color!

I decided to go with rose clay (for the majority) and a little bit of Woad Root which I swirled into it. We’ll see how this turns out. I went with fruity combination: orange, grapefruit, lime, tangerine and clementine with a touch of cinnamon…I’m hoping all these fruit EO hold up and have some staying power in the soap and that the cinnamon gives it a little kick. We’ll see what happens. All together it’s quite a fruity scent…which I really like. I’m think I might call this soap Citrus Burst.

I poured this batch into one of my 5lb molds. I didn’t not insulate it. I wasn’t sure if there’d be some gel action just because it was in the bigger mold, but I figured it wouldn’t be like batch 2’s gel phase when I did insulate it.

An hour after pouring (uncovered) and it's already going through a gel phase. The entire loaf heated up and had a big gel phase...

Unmolding:
Color Verdict: I’m going to stick to the natural creamy orange of non colored soap.  With all the “fruit” EO in this the rose turned to a more orange color and the blue and orange do look cool, but I love the creamy yellow and oranges I got with no color.

Also, the 5lb mold puts itself through a gel phase (even NOT covered).  I think when I make batches I’ll put them in two 2 1/2lb molds from now on.  They don’t go through a gel phase.  And while I normally love my soaps to go through the gel phase, for the goat’s milk I don’t want them to–at least not as fully as this batch and my second one did.

Hardness: I think the gel phase is making the loaf much harder.  Going to try the same recipe tomorrow but in two separate molds with no gel phase and compare the hardness. After less than 12 hours this batch was HARD. I mean HARD. I tried to put my finger into it and it wouldn’t budge. I wanted to unmold and cut it but I could see it was still in the gel phase and the middle probably wasn’t like the outside yet.  I ended up just cutting this one by hand.  Again, I’ll try the same recipe (which I expected to make a hard bar because of all the solid oils in it, just not as hard as I’ve been getting) and put them in separate molds and see what I get. I might even put one in the fridge again…

The nice rose morphed to a deep orange. I think I like this soap natural. No colorants being added from now on.

Stay Tuned for my thoughts on Batch 5 tomorrow.  This will be my last “test” batch.  I’m going to be using FO instead of EO.  And I’m going to try some micas…at least for one of the batches (I think). I’ve been known to change my mind at the last minute :D


Goat’s Milk: Experiment #3

February 22, 2012

So I went back to the sunflower recipe for this batch (using the correct amount of water this time!)  A qucik side note.  Batch 2 is super hard (after a week of curing!). I’ve never had a soap bar be so hard so quick (not even my coconut oil-cocoa butter bars).  Now I’m really interested to see how the next couple batches turn out to see if they get hard too.  I can’t really use the first batch to judge by since I had extra water in it which would make it softer.

Recipe:
15 oz. sunflower seed oil, high oleic
15 oz. sweet almond oil
10 oz. avocado oil
10 oz. coconut oil, 76 degree
5 oz. palm oil
Lye: 7.5 oz.
Water/Milk by volume: 18.15 oz

Method:
For this batch I used goat’s milk I got from my local health food store.  I froze it before hand.  Then slowly added lye to it (this process took over an hour!)  I had it in an ice bath like the last two batches and I didn’t let temps get above 80 degrees.

1. The milk was much “whiter” than the evaporated milk so I had a much whiter mix.  It was a really light orange after I had all the lye mixed.

2. I think this is a product of keeping my mixture temps so low but each time after I’ve mixed in the lye my mix has been thick and creamy not liquidy (like the milk is before you freeze it).  I’ve still added it as is to the oils.  It takes some stick blending (my pour stick blend gets hot and I have to give it breaks…it works hard) but I haven’t had any problems getting it to eventually reach trace.

One thing I’ve noticed in all these batches is I still get the ammonia smell.  It wasn’t nearly as bad when I added the lye slowly, but it was still there and it still over powers the EO when I first add it. That said by the time I unmold the cured soap it’s been gone, so I think it’s just a “side effect” that I won’t be able to avoid, but won’t affect the soap in anyway.

Mixing:
Once the lye was all mixed in with the milk I added it to the oils and stick blended it. I stick blended for a fair amount of time and only ever reached a light trace, but it set up just fine. This go around I used an Eucalyptus & Spearmint Essential Oil blend, per the request of my friend.  I used my 2 1/2lb silicon molds for this.  I poured half the batch into one mold which I left out lightly insulated (just some newspaper on top) and the other I put in the fridge to prevent gel phase.

Unmolding:
The batch I put in the fridge I left in there for 12 hours then removed it.  It was well and truly cool and it didn’t go through the gel phase at all.  It set up fine.  The other one did heat up but it didn’t really go through a gel phase.

The fridge soap ended up coming out darker than the one left out. Go figure. I figured it would be the reverse since when all my soaps go through the gel phase they get darker in color.

I unmolded and cut both of these after 24 hours.  This batch was harder at this point than the first one I did with this recipe, but it was still soft.  I think next time I might leave it 36 hours before cutting.  With the low percentage of coconut oil and palm oil in this recipe I think it’s going to be a softer batch no mater what.

As with the last two batches all I have is a lovely eucalyptus and spearmint scented soap. No ammonia!  I actually like this fragrance 100 time more in the soap than in the bottle.  So I was surprised and pleased by that.  I think this will be a really nice and soothing scented soap.  And it feels silky smooth like the first batch I tried. So excited to use these soaps!

Stay Tuned for my thoughts on Batch 4 tomorrow.


Goat’s Milk: Experiment #2

February 21, 2012

This second batch I used a recipe I love from my standard soaps.

BATCH TWO:
Recipe:
Meadowfoam – 1.7 oz
Coconut Oil (76 Degrees) – 13.7 oz
Palm Oil – 13.7 oz
Olive Oil – 19 oz
Palm Kernel Flakes – 3 oz
Shea Butter – 1.7 oz
Sweet Almond Oil – 2.25 oz
5% Lye – 7.8 oz
Water- 18.14 oz

Method:
I used evaporated milk again.  With this batch I froze the water too ahead of time (remember to use distilled water).  After I measured out my milk and water and lye I put my milk in an bucket and filled it with ice. Then I dumped the all the lye right into the mixture (I wanted to test this and see how it reacted as I’ve read of people adding lye this way).  The mixture very quickly got that distinct ammonia smell and had the bright orange burnt look.  I also had a really really really hard time getting all the lye to eventually dissolve.  You’ll see in the picture below I still have some dark spots which I think might have been lye, but I’m not sure. The zap test comes back neutral…so I think the soap is okay.  I should mention that even though I added the lye all at once, my temps still didn’t go above 80 degrees in the ice bath.

Mixing:
Once the lye was all mixed in with the milk I added it to the oils and stick blended it. I stick blended for a fair amount of time and only ever reached a light trace again, so I’m figuring that this is just a property of using goat’s milk.

I used a blend of essential oils this time.  Cinnamon (the predominant EO), Clove Bud, Lemon, and Orange x10.  The orange EO is super dark…so when I added it to the already dark orange mixture it got even darker.

I poured this batch into my 5lb mold and insulated it making it go through an intense gel phase.  Not sure if the heat affected the milk.

You can see how much darker the soap is getting here in the gel phase. It ended up a orange-red color.

Unmolding:
Completely unlike my first batch this batch was super hard after less than 24 hours.  I cut it by hand.  Wasn’t even going to TRY and use my wire cutter on this it was that firm.  It wasn’t brittle though.  It too has a soft feel to it, but not as soft as the first batch.  I think in part some of that might be the difference between the recipes. Though I do wonder if some of silkiness difference is caused by the gel phase.

I also wonder now if the next batch will be hard or soft.  I’m going to use the same recipe I used for the first batch (with the correct amount of water this time) and see how it sets up.  I’m probably not going to let it go through an intense gel phase.  I won’t refrigerate this batch but I won’t insulate it either.

One thing I know I won’t do from now on is add the lye all at once.  I don’t like the burnt orange it got.  I will add it slowly and take the creamy orange from now on.  I think that is the better way…and I was able to get the lye to all dissolve doing it that way.

Stay Tuned for my thoughts on Batch 3 tomorrow.


My Experimenting with Goat’s Milk

February 20, 2012

For a long time I was afraid to go anywhere near dealing with milk and lye together. But as time has passed I’ve gotten much more confident in myself and I’ve done lots and lots of reading on how to use milk in soap. From chat boards, to soap pages, to blogs…you name it…

Basically what I gathered from all these sites was lots of contradicting information. So I decided to do a series of test batches trying out the different things I’ve read and then decide what I liked best and what results where the best. So here begins the first test.

BATCH ONE:
Recipe:
15 oz. sunflower seed oil, high oleic
15 oz. sweet almond oil
10 oz. avocado oil
10 oz. coconut oil, 76 degree
5 oz. palm oil
Lye: 7.5 oz.
Water/Milk by volume: 18.15 oz

Note:
This recipe actually called for 20 fluid ounces and I didn’t realize then when I was copying the recipe (didn’t read carefully enough) so I used 20 oz in weight. I have since run the recipe through the lye calculator (4% superfat) which gives the above recipe. My batch was soft…but not overly so. I didn’t cut it till 48 hours later…but it has been getting harder…so I don’t think the extra water affected it too much. Also, the lack of a significant amount of palm oil probably isn’t helping with the lack of hardness. I was worried at first about this, but loved the other oils in this recipe so decided to go with it.

Method:
First I used Evaporated Goat’s Milk for my first batch. If you’re using evaporated milk it’s condensed so you need to use half and half of milk and distilled water. I froze the goat’s milk but not the water. I then measured out my milk and water and lye. Put my milk in an bucket and filled it with ice. Then over the next hour I slowly added lye…It did turn a creamy orange. And at the end it got a distinct ammonia smell, which I think resulted because I got a little two impatient at the end and added the lye to fast.

Mixing:
Once the lye was all mixed in with the milk I added it to the oils and stick blended it. I stick blended for a fair amount of time and only ever reached a light trace, but it set up just fine. I used Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil and no colorant. The Grapefruit is light int he soap (which I expected and usually happens with fruit EO).

Unmolding:
I didn’t refrigerate this batch. I did split it and put it in two of my silicon molds (each mold produces 8 bars). I covered it with a light blanket, but didn’t insulate it like I normally do with my other soaps. This went through a very very light gel phase. As it cured it stayed the creamy orange it originally started as. I love the feel of this bar. It is silky smooth and I can’t wait to test it. Despite the lack of palm oil and my extra water I think this bar will harden. It’ll probably be softer than some of my others, but hopefully with the correct water amount int he next batch that will change.

Stay Tuned for my thoughts on Batch 2 tomorrow.

These were two sites I used (among many)
Site 1: http://www.pvsoap.com/recipe_goats_milk_soap.htm
Site 2: http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/form_goatsmilksoap.html


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