* note: this is NOT a tutorial, just the steps i take to make the soap for my family. if you are interested in making your own soap please get a good book or find a reliable online site with explicit directions on the process.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
soap making *
i make my own soap. we use it for everything from cleaning our bodies to cleaning our clothes, even our dishes. it's the best soap i have ever used and i will not go back to the detergents found in the stores. well here is how i do it. i get beef suet from the local meat market where i purchase all our meats. then i render it and make tallow. i cut the suet up into pieces, put them in a pot and add some water (about 2-4 inches). then it is brought to a boil and let boil for about half an hour. i do squish it, while it's boiling, with my potato masher to get all the good fat out. the boiling separates the grizzle and sinew and such from the fat. once it's done boiling i use a colander and strain it into a container and put it in the frig over night. the next morning i drain the water from the bottom of the container and take the solid piece of tallow and boil it done again. in the frig it goes for the night. the next morning i drain the water again. at this point the tallow can go in the freezer for future use. i get my soapbox ready by lining it with parchment paper. my hubby made me the boxes, isn't he sweet? when i am ready to make soap i get the tallow out and weigh it. once i have the weight i can do some math and get the amount of lye and water that i need. *note: lye is a caustic material and needs to be handled properly!! wear gloves and protective eye wear when working with lye.* the tallow goes into a pot and it melted down to a liquid. i mix the water and lye together in the sink. the lye & water mixture does give off heat. when the tallow is melted i add the lye to the melted tallow. over a low heat i stir and stir until i get trailings, which is like pudding sitting up on itself. then i pour the soap into a prepared soapbox to let it cool and solidify. if i get go soapy bubbles when cleaning out the pot and when i stick my hands in and i doesn't sting then i know i have a good batch of soap. after about 24 hours i remove the soap from the box and let it finish curing on a rack. this is about 3.5 lbs. of soap.