There are some of you are asking me the standard procedures for making a bar soap: which is what I will be talking about in this post. Mind you, this does not mean that all bar soap must follow these procedure stereotypically; rather, it’s just a standard that shows your bar soap procedures must follow some of these steps.
Depending on the recipe you’re making, the steps might be a little different. But for simple recipes you can consider these as standard soap making procedures:
Step 1: Start by weighting all your ingredients. Don’t forget to allow for the weight of the containers by using the tare function on your digital scale;
Step 2: To prepare your lye solution, put the weighted water into a bowl or pot, preferably stainless steel. Then slowly and carefully add the lye, stirring constantly. A reaction will occur, heating up the water. Do not let the water boil and don’t breathe the fumes. Set aside to cool.
Step 3: While the lye solution cools down, add your weighted oils to a stainless-steel pan. Heat gently until the oils are melted.
Step 4: Take the temperatures of your oils and the lye solution. When both are within 10 degrees of each other (ideally in the 100 to 125 F range), slowly add the lye solution to the oils.
Step 5: Mix gently at first, until the mixture takes a smooth texture and color. Then turn on your immersion blender and mix thoroughly, in short bursts of 20 seconds so as not to burn your blender.
Step 6: At some point, your mixture will reach trace. Remember, trace is when the surface of the solution starts to show ripples from your mixing and the ripples tend to stay on the surface. It should look almost like very thick custard.
Step 7: If you’re adding essential oils, fragrances, colorants or other additives, this is usually the time to do it — unless noted otherwise.
Step 8: Pour this into the molds and place them in the setting area, then cover them with the blanket.
Step 9: Let the molds sit for about 24 hours, then remove the blankets and lid and let the soap air in the mold for another few hours.
Step 10: You should have a nice hard block of fresh soap, which you can now remove from the mold. If it’s still a bit soft, let the block of soap sit for a day to firm up before unmolding.
Step 11: When the soap is firm enough, unmold and cut it into small bars.
Step 12: Place the bars in an open box or drying rack for 4 to 6 weeks. Make sure the bars don’t touch one another, and remember to turn them every once in a while, so all sides can dry equally.
While you should be able to test the soap after 2 weeks, it could still be a bit harsh on your skin. So, resist the urge and wait a few more weeks. The longer the soap cures, the milder it will be.