Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Did We Do???

Last week I hinted about something the girls and I were doing - we made soap!

This picture is of homemade lye. It was a long process with buckets and hay and rocks and filtering and ashes...whew! We finally got a strong mixture of lye and tested it by floating an egg in it - hence the mystery picture!

BUT...Once I had the lye and the oils all ready I could not find a recipe for making soap using homemade lye. I guess what we made was potassium hydroxide (fancy eh?!) but commercial lye is sodium hydroxide. The two are not interchangeable and we quite possibly have blown up our kitchen had we tried. :)

So, a quick trip to Ace Hardware to get the commercial stuff was in order and we were off on our soap making adventure!

I had made it years ago and took a class at the time so a quick refresher for me and I was able to teach the girls. They were so excited and delighted to see it all come together.

We mixed our lye and water...
Melted our oils...
And let them both cool to 110 degrees.
We combined the two...
and mixed...
and mixed...
In fact we got so tired of mixing until we reached the "trace" stage that I ended up putting the whole thing in the kitchenaid mixer and let it do the work. Two hours later we reached the consistency we were looking for (I was beginning to lose hope!).

The prepared 'mold'...
At the last minute we mixed in our lavender and lemon essential oil and some pulverized oats for grit and poured it into the mold...
A couple of days later we cut it into bars. We were thrilled with the results and are all hooked.

The hardest part? Waiting the 4 weeks for it to cure before we can use it!

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