I had the most wonderful time taking a two-day soap making course. ~
My friend, Wendy's, husband gifted her with the course for herself and a friend for her birthday. I was the lucky friend!
I'm glad we had someone as knowledgeable as Kerry Turcotte, from Lyer Lyer Soapcraft to guide us through the process. It is chemistry and a whole lot can go wrong (really, really wrong!) we discovered. When things go wrong in soapmaking someone gets burned, something blows up or the plumbing gets destroyed. Kerry made sure none of that happened to us.
We're the kind of gals who want to know how to do everything from scratch, pioneer woman style.
The first day we rendered tallow from beef fat. That involved cleaning off any meat bits, chopping the fat into pieces and boiling it for hours and hours. ~
Watching beef boil down to separate fat is a tich on the boring side. We felt a nice bottle of wine was most helpful in whiling away the hours. We call this the Tipsy Tallow soapmaking technique.
After chilling the liquid in the fridge overnight, we had pure tallow solidified on top of the buckets. A bit of a scrape to get rid of the gunk clinging to the bottom of the tallow and we were ready to go. ~
When I feel I've done the whole thing by myself often enough to feel sure of what I'm doing, I'll do a step by step tutorial for you. Dealing with the chemical reaction of the lye heating up and mixing this hot mixture with a hand blender was, shall we say, a bit of a scary experience. Or, maybe I'm just a chicken about thermal burns.
Here's my friend, Wendy, suiting up for the scary part. Rock those goggles girl! ~
And, me carefully pouring the hot soap into the mould. ~
The really fun part comes in mixing up the dye colours and
choosing the blends of essential oils to scent the soap. ~
Voila! Twenty-four hours later, we had one batch of tallow based soap and two batches of vegan (vegetable oil based) soaps ready to cut into 72 good sized bars and curing in a drying rack for 4 - 6 weeks! ~
Oh, the scent of satsuma/mandarin/jasmine or rosemary or lemon/ylang ylang! I'm hooked on soap making now.
Give me a bit of practice time and then I'll try to get you all hooked on it too!