Monday, December 08, 2008

3 Batch Night

Yup, tonight I made 3 whole batches of soap! I know, I'm still behind, but considering how nice the Manana and Lemon Poppyseed are right now, after only a few weeks' cure, I think I'll still be okay so long as I get the rest of them finished as fast as possible and give a generous water discount.

The kiwi-seaweed, not so much with the nice. That seaweed smell really overpowers the kiwi, and while it's at it it overpowers the manana that's drying across the room, and gives the cat a run for his money. It smells like Galveston, and not in a really great way. I may give it out at work. I would never be asked to make soap for anybody else.

So yes - soap! Made tonight! 3 batches!

I started setting up for the first batch and realized that hey - I had all my basic ingredients, but I was missing some of the things to differentiate the batches. I had cocoa, but no peppermint. I had coconut powder, but no milk. Instant coffee and beans to grind, no espresso. That sort of thing. So I got what I had and went to town.

The first one went perfectly, and I'm really glad it was this one that did. I used my basic Bastille recipe (80% olive, 10% coconut, 5% each avocado butter and castor, 7% superfat, 50% water discount), and as my liquid I used rosewater from the mini-mini-mini mart, which is the best place in town to get indian groceries, let me tell you. The rosewater you get from the international section of the big grocery stores just does not compete. For scent, I used a few drops of some Rose Absolute that Mr. Sweetie's sister gave me a few years back - the real shit, that comes in 1/2 dram bottles for like $50.

I do not use this stuff lightly.

I tried something new with the rose soap, the first of which was that I put a liner (read: plastic bag) in the crockpot first, and poured my oils into that. It worked out really well! The cleanup was crazy easy, and I wished that I remembered to do that with the other two batches, but I didn't, so when I'm done with this it's time to clean the kitchen again. But for the future, I'll bear it in mind.

The second thing I tried new was dissolving some silk into the lyewater right after mixing it up. It took longer to dissolve than I'd thought it would, and it looks like nothing so much as when you kill your hair trying to bleach it*, which I guess makes sense. That's basically what you're doing.

This batch traced really fast, but I still got it into the mold easy, same one as I used for the lemon-poppyseed bars, which I like because it gives a very nice classic shape. It's the closest I've got to a loaf mold right now, and I appreciate that about it. I think it's going to turn out great.

So the next batch, right?

I wanted to do another shaving soap, so I fiddled with my bastille base a little. 75% olive oil, 10% coconut, 10% castor, 5% avocado butter (man I love me that avocado butter, and you know I still have a bunch of it left!). I used the rosewater again, because I had already opened the bottle, but I forgot to put a liner in the crock pot before I poured the oils so oh well. There's that. I also did the silk again.

That batch traced FAST. Like, less than a minute fast. Starting to set up in the crockpot fast. You don't have time to dig out a mold and shouldn't you have done that earlier anyways fast. I managed to spoon it into some old coffee mugs, which I guess I'm now giving as gifts! Comes with 6.4oz of soap per mug, if I divided them evenly, which I don't think I did. I'm not sure if the bentonite clay I added actually mixed in at all, or if it's in chalky streaks in the soap somewhere - my money's on the latter. Luckily, there will be other parts to these gifts.

So on to the third batch, right? I'm really proud of this one. So proud, I'm calling it my Holy Trinity Soap. That's right, bitches - strawberry, balsamic vinegar, black pepper soap! Depending on how nice this turns out, I may keep it all for myself. Because I love it. And the family won't know.

I went back to my basic bastille, this time with a 5% superfat because I wanted an ever-so-slightly harder bar, and because vinegar is basic. I added a cup of pureed strawberries, vinegar, and black pepper for the entire two pound batch, and it again traced VERY fast. Did I mention I used the rosewater again for this one? It was in a handy new container, right next to my other supplies. I didn't use silk, and this batch didn't seize. I'm thinking the rosewater may be what's speeding my trace up so much. I got this one into my original molds, which I was not as pleased with but again I forgot to grab molds before I mixed the oils and lye, so I took what was near to hand. It was at a really heavy trace when I poured it, so I scored the top of the soaps like they were peanut butter cookies - crosshatching forkmarks. It was really cute.

And now those 6 lbs are insulated and in the soap closet, hopefully going through a happy little gen phase while I prepare for bed. And oh, I will be happy to be there.

* Okay, so was I the only kid who tried to use straight bleach to color their hair when they were too young to buy a proper dyeing kit? Jeez, I'm glad I tested a little strand separately, or I'd have been one bald-ass chemically burned child.

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