At times, all of us wish that our lives were not so hectic. We check our phone messages… digital, landline and work. We answer a constant stream of e-mails from work, from home, from Facebook. We check our Black berry and by the time we are finished it appears, that rather than assisting us, technology has increased the continually growing number of tasks we perform just to get through the day. It is understandable to fondly think of a time before these advances began to rule our lives.
Before getting too wistful it is good to remember that life was not quite as simple as it may have seemed. One area where that is certainly true is soap making. The cold process of soap making is popular today just as it was in Grandma’ time. However the beautiful soaps you produce today don’t appear at all like the soaps made with considerable effort and time so many years ago.
The type of soap Grandma made is called “Cold Process” soap (commonly referred to as “CP” soap). Cold process soap making is a science as well as an artistic endeavor. Cold process soap is created by combining lye (sodium hydroxide) with fatty acids. Grandmother did not have the luxury of using the wide variety of fatty acids available to soap makers today which can be nearly any type of oil. She may have used hemp oil or beef tallow.
Basically the fatty acids and lye combine and cause a reaction that is called “saponification”. At times, this can be a very time consuming process because it can take up to five weeks to really “set” the cold process soap. Also, because the cold process method includes the use of lye, it is important to use gloves and protective eye gear to prevent an accident.
Despite the time involved and the potential for injury, cold process soap is famous for producing a hard and extremely long lasting soap. A great lathering soap can be produced by using coconut oil and a complexion loving mild soap by including olive oil. The addition of cocoa butter or, the old stand by, hemp oil can be very soothing and moisturizing.
Here is a wonderful cold soap recipe that is excellent for beginning soap makers: A few helpful guidelines before you begin:
* Always wear long sleeves, rubber gloves and protective eye wear.
* When adding the lye to water stir thoroughly and avoid inhaling the fumes. When the lye has been added set the mixture outside or in a well ventilated area and let it cool to 110F.
* In a separate container, add all the oils and heat to 110F.
* Combine the lye with the melted oils and stir until “trace “is attained. “Trace” is the word soap makers use to refer to the stage in the soap making process where the mixture becomes the consistency of a thin white sauce. This step can take a half an hour or more if you do not use a hand blender.
* Pour the “traced soap mixture into molds. After 5 days remove the soap from the molds and for best results allow the soap to cure for 4 weeks to completely finish saponification.(the continuous melding of oils and acids)
Just Like Grandma’s Soap for Beginners
* 6.9oz Lye
* 15.8oz Water
* 16oz Palm Oil
It is a very basic recipe but is it ever wonderful. Have fun!
About the Author
Sidney Lynn is a soap making enthusiast and provides a Free Soap Making Secrets Mini-Course that reveals the best information on how to make soap, recipes, and information on how you can even make money with your handmade soaps at http://SoapMakingInfo.com. For the best Cold Soap Recipes available, sign up for the Free Soap Making Secrets Mini-Course today.