OK so I finally got around to trying another batch of the tallow based soap that seized on me last time. This time I omitted the essential oil in case that had been the cause of the seizing. However, I couldn't clearly see when I'd reached trace so did mix it for considerably longer than I have with my other recipe (olive oil Castille soap). This also happened with my first batch but I didn't think much of it, since the seizing seemed to occur just after adding the essential oil. Now I'm not so sure it was the oil that did it - maybe I just overmixed it and took too long to pour the soap! So I guess I will have to try a 3rd batch to know for sure!
In any case, this time round, it was a much better result, I could pour the soap into my silicone cupcake molds, and it only started to seize up for the last 4 oval molds. I can see the benefit in using a loaf mold, much quicker than individual molds and less chance of the soap firming up in the process of pouring!
You can see from the photo, the soap is a much better texture than the 1st batch, nice and smooth. I think we can live without the lavender scent, although I do prefer this as the tallow does give a faint 'meaty' smell! Guess we can get used to that, might just be destined for hand soap though.
I've also bought some natural herbal dyes so am looking forward to experimenting with colour in soap for the first time. Will keep you posted.