I found this recipe (I think from someone who posts on here actually)
Tallow Blend Soap (Kathy Miller)
44 oz. beef tallow
20 oz. olive oil
20 oz. coconut oil
12 oz. lye crystals
32 oz. cold water
If I were rendering tallow from scratch again like I used to, this would be my recipe of choice. You can make soap with straight tallow or a blend of tallow and lard, but for the best of all worlds, adding coconut for sudsing and olive for its mildness does a lot for a tallow soap. If you want your bars a bit softer for cutting or are going to be using a fragrance oil with unpredictable results, you can increase the water by two ounces.
I have a lot of home rendered tallow and was hoping to use it for soap, but I've never done it before. I'm looking for as simple as possible. I read about using a stick blender, which I have, but then not to use it for the first time, so I'm confused on what's the best course.
So, opinions can I use a stick blender for the first batch or not? Also, I'm not a fan of the smell of tallow but I'm wondering if the smell is very strong when it is made into soap?
How do most measure the tallow? Of course before heating it is solid but it is hard to measure hot.
Also, on reading the instructions it seems the main steps are:
1- measuring all ingredients
2- pour cold water into large container- add lye
3- heat oils to 110-125
4- add lye mix to oils very slowly
5- stir/mix until trace- you can draw a line w/ a spoon and the top starts to dull
6- pour into mold- ( I was thinking of a plastic dishpan which I think would be similiar in size to a kitty litter box- anyone use that?)
Yes, you can use the stick blender. I would probably try a smaller batch first though. If you decide to make a smaller batch, be sure to run the recipe through SoapCalc or another lye calculator.
I always mix my lye water first so it can be cooling. I have a digital scale. I weigh all my ingredients before starting. Weigh the tallow and coconut oil while they are still solid. I weigh my solid fats and then melt them together. I then add the melted fats to the liquid oils and blend well before adding the lye water.
On rendering tallow (or lard) a lower heat is best. The higher the heat, the more of the animal smell you will get and the more of the natural benefits are burnt off. When I render, I keep the heat in my roaster as low as it will go. When I melt my tallow or lard, I melt it on low heat.
My soap recipe calls for palm kernel, which has a higher melting point than the lard and tallow I use. I weight my PK separately and start melting that while I weigh the tallow and lard. I then add the tallow and lard to the melting PK. The heat is turned off before all the tallow/lard is melted.
The recipe you listed will make a wonderful soap (although I'd reduce the lye amount to 11.7 oz and the water amount to 27 oz for a 5% superfat with a slightly discounted water amount to help it 'cure' more quickly). You'll get about 7 lb of soap from it. If you cut into 4 oz bars, that is about 28 bars of soap. Like Linn suggested, you may want to scale it back a bit.
If you want to take it through a lye calculator, I'd recommend using percentages so you can plug in the amount of oils you want to use. Currently the recipe calls for over 5 lb of oils. I recommend not going below 3 lb of oils, unless you have a scale that measures in grams ... then be sure to convert your recipe to grams.
By using percentages of the oils you want to use, you can quickly switch from oz to grams to calculate your soap recipe.
For the recipe you listed, it is
Linn spoke about a lye calculator. This bit of genius is well known in the soapmaking world, but when you're new to it ... it is a mystery! I know it was for me in 1999. The only internet lye calculator at that time was MMS (Majestic Magic Sage). Since I was in the IT field, I took Excel and made my own lye calculator utilizing the fatty acid makeups of the various oils. Ken, of SoapCalc asked me many years ago if he could use my data for his online calculator featuring the fatty acids. I told him, 'sure, as long as it is free to the soaping community'.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask on this forum, on the T_S yahoo forum or PM me!
Very true, Panther ... coconut and olive oils aren't local for most, but they certainly are sustainable.
The recipe I listed isn't my standard recipe, but it is a good one that most soapers start with.
My customers like having a soap that lathers well, so I use an oil high in lauric fatty acid to obtain this. All the oils I use in my regular recipe are sustainable oils, some which we raise right here on the homestead.
Thanks for the info from everyone- I'd really like to do a prepared recipe to start with though. I know those calculators are supposed to be easy and all but like any newbie I'm nervous- I want to go with something known.
Panther- I'd love your recipe- sounds like it would be a good one to start with perhaps. MullersLane- I'm checking out your page as well- thanks!
I don't have any scale as of yet, although I know I need one. Still working on getting the lye, we have a few more local stores to check and then I guess I'll have to order it if nothing else.
Again- thanks for the input- I'm sure it is old hat to all of you but a bit intimidating for me!
Cyndi- I joined your list- I had no idea there was a big AO-VO debate, who knew? I just wanted to use the tallow as I get the fat free when I get beef and I prefer cooking with lard. Free is good in my book
I also see a good beginning recipe in your file section, which looks like one I might try as well.
Pure olive oil soap needs a stick blender, but once you start adding other ingredients you find it sets up more quickly.
I wouldn't use a stick blender unless you are making a much smaller batch. You want to stir and stir and keep an eye on the clock to see how long you are stirring. Don't slow down, stir fast, but not fast enough to cause splattering. If it is taking too long, put the stick blender in and use it for about three seconds and stop. This may be all you need.
I couldn't imagine making soap without using a stick blender!! Since I use (home rendered) lard as about 30% of my soaping oils, I would need to put the soap pot in a sink of hot water just to keep the oils from solidifying and causing false trace if I would hand stir.
Lard is a wonderful oil to use since it slows trace so much.
I usually have my SB on for about 20-30 seconds, then hand stir for about the same amount of time. These are 10-15 lb (oil only) batches.
I would need to put the soap pot in a sink of hot water just to keep the oils from solidifying and causing false trace if I would hand stir.
As long at you know what false trace is you wont have a problem. If might seem thick at first but after you begin to stir the lye/liquid into solid at room temperature fats/oils the chemical reaction causes everything to warm up and it liquifies nicely. I almost never use a SB anymore.
ETA: I set solid oils on the back of my stove to soften a bit first, but they are not over 110F typically
As long at you know what false trace is you wont have a problem. If might seem thick at first but after you begin to stir the lye/liquid into solid at room temperature fats/oils the chemical reaction causes everything to warm up and it liquifies nicely.
Oh, I know what false trace looks like. I just don't want to stand around for 30 minutes hand stirring!
The secret to hand stirring is to use a whisk not a spoon. It might be hard to believe but it makes all the difference! Try it next time you do RT!! You will be amazed!!
Like you, I've been soaping for over 20 years. I remember sitting on my porch feeling all nostalgic as I stirred my soap for hours. When that got old I started using my kitchen aid mixer. Then stick blenders became all the rage and I thought I'd finally gone to soapmaker's heaven. When another soaper told me to try the whisk I was soooo skeptical as I'm sure you are But wow!!! That's all I've used now for about three years, I love it.
I'm going to try a whisk next time! Does it matter the style of whisk? I have some that are (for the lack of a better description) a single 'cage' and some that have a 'cage within a cage'. Some of the singles are fat and some are thin.
Do you soap at room temperature or do you melt your oils first? If your oils are warm you will not the same results I do. I should mention that I also use a pretty hefty water(milk) discount which could also make a difference.