Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tallow based soap - take 2

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.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Soap making fail

Well not exactly a fail, but close..

Melting the tallowate

Mixing the soap

The result

A few days ago I made up a batch of cold pressed soap, tried out using beef fat (tallowate), with coconut oil and olive oil. All was going well until I added my essential oil then we got into trouble with the soap seizing.... For those that don't know, this means it went thick really fast and I then had to press it into the molds instead of pouring. I could melt it and remold which I might try for some of it. The texture is wrong, but at the end of the day it is still a usable soap. You can see from the photo of the finished soap, how they look from me pressing the mixture into the molds!

The next step for me is I have to remake the same recipe, omitting the essential oil to see if I had the recipe right since I tweeked it a bit to suit the amount of coconut oil I had on hand. Hopefully it shouldn't seize again if I omit the essential oil. I'm picking from my research that it would have been the essential oil that upset things, especially as it was a different oil to the one I've previously used..(English as opposed to French lavender). Unfortunately I didn't remember that until I'd poured it in! One suggestion was to add the essential oil in some of the melted and warmed fats prior to adding in the lye. Or maybe I should just buy some more of the French lavender oil for future use!

In any case, it hasn't put me off making soap, I will just have to keep practising.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Update on those almonds

OK so we harvested the first of our almonds a couple of weeks back. Been waiting patiently for them to dry, occasionally picking up random nuts and shaking them to see if they rattle. They seemed to be taking their time to do this, and being impatient to try them we cracked one open and.....they are ready! Not sure why they didn't get to 'rattle stage', maybe because the tree is so young? (anyone have any idea?). In any case, I have to report that the almonds are EXTREMELY TASTY! There is really no comparison between the shop-bought variety and those fresh of the tree. But then isn't that the case for all home grown produce? While our almonds were a little on the small side (perhaps I should have put a shop-bought one in the photo to compare sizes), they were definitely full of flavour. Roll on future harvests!