The very first batch of soap I ever made was an Oatmeal, Milk and Honey batch. Not the easiest to start with since you’re dealing with the sugars in the honey and the fatty properties of the milk. Combine those with lye and you could possibly have a superheated soap volcano on your hands. I was lucky though, I soaped at a super low temp and followed a great recipe.
I’m going to share some tips with you that have helped from that very first batch to present day batches. I used to make a 100% Goats Milk soap using the ice cube method of milk soap making. You simply freeze your milk and slowly add your lye to the milk to melt it. I always ended up with an almost sulfur like smell and occasionally would burn the milk resulting in bright orange soap batter.
After attending the Soap Makers Conference in North Carolina this past May, I learned a new technique from the lovely Joanna owner of Absolute Soap. Seriously, when you have a moment, buy her soaps and scrubs!!! They are amazing.
Anywho….she taught us a new technique that I’ve been using in place of the ice cube technique. NO MORE STINKY SOAP!
Take you’re water amount from your recipe and split it in half. Half will be the water plus the lye and the other half will be your milk. For example: if your recipe calls for a total of 12oz of water…6oz plus your lye amount will be your lye water and the remaining 6oz will be your goats milk.
Prepare your super intense lye water and let cool. Add your milk to your oils. See the pic below…
Another tip I have concerns adding honey to your soap. I premix my honey with equal amounts of warm, distilled water. Meaning, if my recipe calls for 2oz of honey, I mix in 2oz of warm to hot distilled water. This prevents any clumping that can occur with the honey. The pic below shows (from left to right) my essential oils, my ground oatmeal and my honey water mixture.
Have you ever noticed the cool as school honeycomb pattern on handcrafted soaps? The trick…bubble wrap. Secrets revealed!!
Ok…now I’m ready to make some soap!
So, I’ve cooled my lye water mixture down to 75 degrees and keep my oils & milk within 10 degrees of my lye water. I soap at such a low temp because I know that the honey and the milk will superheat in the mold. To prevent seizing, I add my honey mixture and my essential oils to my oils & milk. Then I add the lye water.
I mix to light trace then add in my oatmeal. Mix well until all of the oatmeal is incorporated and there are no funky oatmeal lumps. Then I pour it into my mold.
I top my soap with an extra layer of bubble wrap to achieve that honeycomb look.
TIP: If the soap gets too hot, chuck it in the refrigerator to cool it down. Wait 24 hours to unmold and you’re all set! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!