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This Year’s Soap

This year’s soap is made and maturing in the cupboard, hopefully safe from the mice who think it is literally good enough to eat. It will go whiter as it matures, and by Christmas it will be hard, white, fine grained soap with a nice clean smell and good bubbles.  So nice to have so much of my Christmas shopping done already!

I make my macadamia, olive and coconut oil soap once a year, in time for it to mature by Christmas.  Usually a few of us get together to make it. It means we can bulk buy the ingredients, and it takes about an hour of stirring to reach trace, and that bit is much more fun taking turns stirring and chatting meanwhile. We each take home a bucket full of soap at custard stage, to thicken a bit more, add final ingredients, and mold up.

The ones that turn out well I give away – they make lovely Christmas presents, and I so love not having to engage with the consumer hype. The ones that don’t cut neatly I keep. I actually still have a dozen bars of last year’s soap left still.  The 4 kg batch of the recipe is usually enough for giving and keeping. The last scraps I put in a pump bottle, cover with water, and use as liquid soap in the bathroom handbasin.

This year I used cut down plastic soft drink bottles as molds – cut the top and bottom off to leave just the cylinder, and used packing tape to tape a circle of plastic cut from a yoghurt container to the bottom.  It sliced into nice sized round bars of soap. It was hot and dry so they set really fast – just one day in the mold and they were ready to slice into bars.

This year I had some luffas to play with, so I made some luffa soap as an experiment, and it turned out wonderfully. I just put luffas in the mold and covered with soap, then sliced right through the luffa into bars.  I wasn’t sure about them so I only made about a third with luffas, so I have a nice batch of luffas to add to the Christmas gift packages as well. The others I made some with my usual lemon rind and rolled oats added just before pouring into the molds, and some with a mixture of herbs given to me by a friend, including mashmallow and calendula.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Tanya October 19, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Great tip for the nice round soap shape. Looks very “designer”.

  • Jessie - Rabid Little Hippy October 19, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Great idea making it in bulk. I am looking forward to soap making, maybe in Autumn when our gardens are harvested and hunkering down for the winter (I’m in Australia so it’s Spring now and getting busy). I have a friend who is keen to learn to make goats milk soap from their own goats milk – I think I will present the idea to her of a girls afternoon making up a big batch together. 🙂

    And I agree, the round soaps look lovely and posh!

  • Louise October 19, 2012, 9:26 pm

    Love the idea of making a year’s worth of soap in one go, and love a little bit of luffa in my soap – I little bit of scratchy in the scented wash.

  • Frogdancer October 20, 2012, 5:26 am

    Lemon rind, eh?

  • Lucy October 20, 2012, 9:08 am

    I made soap years ago and have been really wanting to try it again, so I will. I’ve got loofas that I didn’t know what to do with and now I do. A couple of questions – have you made it with milk and have you ever used lard or suet instead of the supa fry. I have some lovely white goat fat that I rendered, which I don’t like to cook with as much as pork fat, which I also have some of. Thanks for the post.

  • Linda October 20, 2012, 10:35 am

    Hi Lucy, I’m not really a soap expert! I have one recipe that I developed about 25 years ago and I just use it every year. I don’t always use supafry – I think any saturated fat that is solid at room temperature would work in its place. So I’d be willing to give lard or suet or goat fat a go in place of it. But I gave up trying to keep goats inside a fence about the same time I first made soap, so though I’ve heard lots of people say that milk in soap is gorgeous, I’ve never tried it.

  • Linda October 20, 2012, 10:36 am

    Hi frogdancer, it works. Doesn’t give much of a fragrance – the chemistry of soap seems to eat up most volatiles. But there’s a subtle hint of lemon there.

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