Posted by Bonnie
Note: Soap making is an adult task and for safety reasons, children should NEVER be involved. Sodium hydroxide should be kept in an area inaccessible to children and pets in order to ensure that they do not come in to contact with it. Pets should be removed from the area while soap making is in progress. If you are looking for a fun project to get kids involved with, check out this bath bomb tutorial.
Yes! I LOVE making cold process soap. Hopefully you love it too – Today I am sharing with you my recipe for a totally delicious Goat Milk and Charcoal soap. Charcoal is so in right now and besides, it looks super cool.
If you are new to cold process soap this is a great recipe for you to roll your sleeves up with because it is pretty basic in that a) you don’t HAVE to use a colorant and b) there is no added fragrance – the goat’s milk speaks for itself in this one (although you can add some if you like, I recommend at the rate of 2 oz – Keep in mind fragrances can often accelerate trace and you need enough time to make your charcoal layers!).
I will say this though: Soap making from scratch is no joke. Cold process soap requires the use of Sodium Hydroxide aka lye. What is lye? It is nasty, nasty stuff that is required for the saponification process. And when I say it is nasty stuff, I’m talking chemical burn unit level nasty if not handled properly. The use of proper personal protective equipment is 100% required 100% of the time when using lye. What does my gear look like? Glad you asked…
Ignore the fact that I am wearing short sleeves in my model shot. When I am soaping I always wear long sleeves, an apron, rubber gloves, goggles, and a respirator type mask. I wear the gloves, apron and goggles throughout the process but usually remove the mask after mixing the lye / water solution (once any fumes have dissipated).
But seriously though – If you have never made soap before I highly recommend checking out this site. It is a fantastic resource for beginners and the woman who runs the site has about 15 years experience and can go into way more detail in a way more coherent way than I can. This recipe is great for beginners, but there is some foundation with terminology required before you can successfully make your own soap. Plus, there are some really great tutorials for various more advanced techniques as well as a lot of really inspirational photos!
Anyway… let’s get down to business here.
*This is NOT a vegan recipe, as it uses lard. Lard is a traditional fat used to make soap – it conditions, has a nice creamy lather and contributes to the hardness of the bar making it last longer. A common misconception I have found is that many people believe handmade soap is vegan, which is not always the case. If you would prefer a vegan bar, substitute the lard with another fat like palm or coconut oil. Just make sure to run your fats through a lye calculator as your ratios will change. Do NOT attempt to use they lye amount below with any other fats – you must calculate your new lye amount to be able to safely use the soap.
- Safety gear
- Ingredients (below)
- Stick / immersion blender
- Stainless steel utensils (Do not use aluminum!)
- Measuring spoons
- Pot (for heating oils)
- Whisk (or milk frother)
- Mixing spoon (just a large kitchen spoon will do)
- Small plastic or glass containers for small quantities of ingredients
- At least two large glass bowls / measuring cups
- 2 silicone spatulas
- Soap mold (could even be a 2L milk carton with the side removed, a cereal box lined with freezer paper etc)
- Kitchen scale
- Small sugar duster or tea infuser ball
- Infrared thermometer like this one (or this one for my friends in the USA)
- Canola oil (29.4%) 10 oz
- Castor oil (11.8%) 4 oz
- Lard (29.4%) 10 oz
- Soybean oil (29.4%) 10 oz
- Total oils & fats: 34.00 oz
- Lye & Liquid
- Sodium hydroxide lye 4.31 oz
- Water 11.22 os
- Total lye & liquid: 15.53 oz
- 3 tbs powdered goat milk (dispersed in a few oz of the canola oil)
- If you have access to fresh goats milk, measure out the same volume as water used and freeze it. Use in place of water and mix with lye in an ice bath so it does not scorch.
- 2 tsp sodium lactate (optional – helps release the soap from the mold and create a harder finished bar)
- 3 tsp titanium dioxide (optional – gives the soap a brighter white appearance)
- 3 tbs activated charcoal
- Isopropyl alcohol in a spritz bottle
- 3 tbs powdered goat milk (dispersed in a few oz of the canola oil)
Total yield: 49.53 oz (fits perfectly in a 50 oz / 10″ silicone loaf mold, which is what I used)
- Gather your supplies and put on your safety gear!
- Mix your lye/water solution by slowly adding your lye to your water a little bit at a time, stirring continuously with a stainless steel spoon until the liquid is clear.
- Measure your oils and add them all to a stainless steel pot. Heat on a low/medium low setting, stirring with a spatula, until the oils have all melted together – remove from heat and carefully pour into a large glass container.
- Monitor the temperatures of your lye water and oils using your thermometer. For this recipe I use a pretty low soaping temperature of around 110F to maintain the integrity of the goat milk powder.
- Once your desired temperature is reached, immerse the stick blender into the oils. Tap the side of the container lightly with the blender to remove excess trapped air – Start blending on a low setting. Gently pour the lye / water solution into the oils. Aim to pour directly onto the shaft of the stick blender to avoid splashes.
- At a thin trace I add my titanium dioxide (dispersed in oil), sodium lactate and goat milk powder. Some people like to add the sodium lactate to their lye / water before blending, I don’t find it makes a difference. Sodium lactate is a type of salt that aids in easier release of the soap from the mold and helps structure a harder bar. You can skip it if you don’t have any. Titanium dioxide gives your soap batter a whiter color when it dries. Titanium dioxide comes in both water and oil dispersable – Make sure you know which one you have and mix appropriately. If you prefer not to use colorant, leave it out… Your soap will remain it’s natural creamy color.
- Continue stick blending until your mixture reaches a medium trace. You want the soap batter to be able to support the weight of the charcoal without absorbing it into the mixture.
- Using a spatula, spread 1/3 of your soap batter into the bottom of your mold. Dust a thin layer of charcoal over the batter. Don’t use too much or the bottom soap layer will not adhere to the next layer. Layer it one more time and top the mold off with the remaining 1/3 of batter.
- I placed my soap directly into the fridge to keep it cool because I didn’t want to risk it gelling in case it had a negative effect on the goat milk. Spritz some isopropyl alcohol on top a couple of times with about 10 minutes in between to prevent soda ash (unsightly white layer) from forming. I then blew gently on the excess charcoal on the mold to give the soap top and ombre charcoal look.
- I left the soap in the fridge for about 24 hours, and unmolded it after 3 days. Slice it up and wait 4-6 weeks for it to finish curing.
- Enjoy your fabulous homemade soap!