Making bar soap requires lots of attention and care because of the chemicals involved. Meanwhile, I hope you do not forget to keep children and pets away from your area when making bar soap. In the same vein, you should make sure you have the entire necessary safety guide with you and also doing the bar soap in a well-ventilated area.
I think I need to also mention this again; always pour you lye into water and not water into lye. This is to avoid volcanic eruptions. In addition; always pour the lye-water into the oils over a spoon or spatula, or along the shaft of the stick-blender. This reduces splashing and the possibility of introducing air bubbles into the mixture. Once you’ve poured, tap the stick-blender against the bottom of the bowl to release any trapped air.
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- Make the lye-water. Put on your safety gear (gloves and goggles), then weigh out the water in a heatproof container. Weigh out the lye in another container. Slowly pour the lye into the water (doing it the other way can cause a volcanic reaction), stirring gently. Add lye to water and stir. Water will be cloudy at first but will become clear.
- Set the lye-water aside to cool down. You’ll know it’s ready to use when it has gone from cloudy to clear.
- Melt the palm oil in its original container, mix it thoroughly, and measure into a bowl large enough to hold all the oils and the lye-water with room for mixing. Melt and measure the coconut oil and add it to the bowl. Add the olive oil and stir to combine.
- Take the temperature of the lye-water and the oils. Generally, you want them to both be at 140°F or below. Many soap makers like to keep their soap within a certain temperature range to ensure a certain final texture. My personal preference is around 120°F, but soap makers have differing opinions on the perfect temperature range.
- Slowly pour the lye-water into the oils. You’ll notice a distinct separation between the two liquids.
- Put the stick blender to the bottom of the bowl and tap it to release any air bubbles trapped in the blades. Do not turn on the stick blender until it is fully immersed. With the stick blender on the bottom of the bowl, pulse it at high speed, mixing the lye-water and the oils (6a) until you reach thin trace; at this point the batter will have the consistency of a melted milkshake, and a line of the batter that is drizzled onto the surface will stick around for a few seconds (6b). This should take just 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the power of your stick blender, how aggressively you’re blending, and the temperature you started soaping it. If you over-blend, the soap will thicken so much that it will be difficult to pour into the molds. Once you’ve reached thin- to medium pudding trace, you have 2 to 3 minutes to pour the soap into the mold before it fully sets up.
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- Pour the fully traced soap into the milk container.
8. Set the mold in a quiet spot and stabilize it with a couple of large books or other heavy items so that the sides don’t bulge. Cover the top of the container with a piece of either cardboard or plastic wrap (the wrap will leave little markings on the surface), and then insulate the soap by wrapping the entire mold with a towel and leaving it to go through the final stages of saponification.
- You can unmold the soap when it is fully cooled and is hard to the touch. Depending on the temperature of the lye-water and oils when you combined them, the texture of the trace, and the temperature in your home, the soap may be ready for unmolding in as little as 24 hours or as much as a few days. If you peek and find the soap is still warm or soft, wrap it back up and check on it the next day. After the first 24 hours, the towel is not necessary. When the soap is hard enough to unmold, gently pull the mold away from the sides of the soap to release the entire block of soap. Since the carton is disposable, you can cut or tear it away from the soap.
- Using a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut the soap into approximately 8 bars. If the soap releases successfully from the mold but is sticking to the knife or dragging, let it sit out on the counter or on a rack for 2 to 3 days before trying to cut it again.