I have wanted to make tallow soap since I first read about animal fats in soap. I wish I could remember the book I read about them in (it was one of the many I devoured when I first started making soap and was requesting every soap book my library had.)
When I started making soap to sell I’d formulated a recipe that was free of animal products and was a really nice bar. I love it. My customers love it and at this point I wouldn’t change it, but I have still had this burning desire to play with tallow and formulate a new recipe…maybe an additional or specialty line of soaps one day. Either way I knew I’d love using them and my family and friends would too.
I set to work creating different recipes. The first one I did was a straight up sub of palm oil for beef tallow (run through a lye calculator of course). Then from there I started playing. I had six different recipes by the time I got done. And I realized some were a little too similar and so I managed to narrow it down to three recipes (so I was left with four total).
The biggest differences in these recipes was mainly the percentage of tallow I used. I’d done a lot of reading and research and come up with a wide range of percentages to use in a recipe: from 25% up to 75% (in fact I think one person even told me they use 80%). That’s a huge range and so I decided to do testing. At first I didn’t go above 50% in my four test batches, but I decided a couple weeks later that I would do one more test batch with 70% tallow, mostly because I was really curious how a bar with 70% tallow would turn out.
Recipe 1: 19.4% Tallow
This recipe was kind of my control recipe in the sense it was the exact same as my normal bars, but I subbed tallow for palm oil. I wanted to see if there were any differences people picked up.
Recipe 2: 50% Tallow / 20% Olive
Recipe 3: 50% Tallow / 15% Olive
Recipe 4: 25% Tallow
Recipe 5: 70% Tallow
All recipes used a water discount of about 15%.
Initial reports from the five recipes is that each created a fairly hard bar (to the touch after a four week cure time), though Recipe 5 was definitely the hardest (even after just 48 hours! Seeing that it was made with 70% tallow I wasn’t surprised with those results.