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Old 12/05/11, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: the flat land of Illinois
Posts: 4,662
first batch of lard-based goat milk soap - kinda challenging!

I am a binge soap maker - I tend to make a years worth of soaps each December, mostly for gift giving but with enough overage to cover my family for the following year. So some skills are solid and some need to be rediscovered every year. Like remembering how to use soapcalc. That always takes some head scratching!

Anyway I tried a batch of goat milk soap using home-rendered sheep tallow yesterday. It was my first milk soap using ao of any kind... and the sheep seems to harden the quickest of all.

My challenges were: tallow would start to harden at the bottom of the oil pan before temps got to 90 - I'd reheat, blend, then had to do it again if the lye/milk wasn't right at 'the moment'.

Because the tallow/oil mix was a bit hotter than the recipe called for (to keep the tallow liquid) trace took longer than I expected. But when trace came it came too fast! I had what felt like mere seconds to get the essential oils and color mixed in.

I cut the soap last night, earlier than normal, as I was worried bout it becoming brittle from the sheep tallow - every once in awhile I'd see little chunks of what looks like imperfect coloration - chunks of soap that are 10% lighter in color. Do you think I am correct in believing this is color that failed to spread perfectly? I mixed the oils/lye/milk for quite some time before trace so can't imagine it being lye that wasn't mixed correctly... but I'd like to know what you think.

The oils were all essential oils and the dye was natural annato dye, if that helps.

Finally, when I was cleaning up I could feel a couple of tiny pinpricks of burning on my face, including my eyelid. I wore my safety glasses from before opening the lye bottle to after doing all the dishes! I really try to be careful. I quickly took a shower but yes, I did get one very tiny burn on my face (the rest neutralized immediately or never would have done more than sting). How'd I do that? I did not have my long hair back in a ponytail - that's the only thing I can think of.

Based on that one soap I'm tempted to keep ao usage to non-milk soaps but would love to get your insights. Thanks!

(I can still edit so coming back to report on detective work)

HA! I think I've found out where the pinpoint facial burns came from. I just discovered itsy bitsy splatters of soap on one of the kitchen chairs with a splatter pattern that would lead straight to the deep pot in which I was mixing. I am willing to bet that I lifted the immersion blender up too far at least once and sent a small but potent stream of soap flying out. I bet I got that soap on my hair which then fell foward into my face and touched my eyelid.

I feel much better having an idea of what happened instead of grasping for reasons (lye vapor?). And also motivated to find a better immersion blender than the one I have and dislike strongly.

Last edited by cathleenc; 12/05/11 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 12/06/11, 10:37 AM
cmharris6002's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NE Kansas
Posts: 1,019
I am a binge soap maker
I love it!!!!

All of your guess work sounds right on to me. The colorant didn't have enough time to even out before that quick trace began to sneak up on you. And the burns from ity bity soap splatter sounds reasonable.

I will say that dry lye particles carry a static charge and can get 'bouncy' in dry weather. You can wipe your gloves, counter and measuring cups with a dryer sheet and it really helps to keep them more stable. Anyway, if you hair had static it could have attracted a few lye particles.
Providence Hill Farm
Spoiled Goats Give Sweeter Milk
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Old 12/06/11, 11:16 AM
MullersLaneFarm's Avatar  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: NW-IL Fiber Enabler
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Cathleen, I'm glad you got the lye burns figured out.

I'm wondering why you were trying to get the oils to 90*F?? Sheep & deer tallow have a higher melting point and you need to adjust soap recipe temps to fit the melting point of the oils you are using. The last time I took temps when making soaps using AO (animal oils), my oil temp was about 110*F and my milk/lye solution was about 75*F.

IMHO, the only time temps are important in soap making are to make sure your oils are high enough to keep them melted and if you are using milk to dissolve your lye ... making sure your lye solution is cold enough to not burn the milk sugars.

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Old 12/06/11, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: the flat land of Illinois
Posts: 4,662
thanks, Cyndi. That was part of my question even though I forgot to ask it. lol.

Because I only make soap once a year, or so, I try to stick to the recipes as closely as I can. If I made them more often I guess I'd feel more confidant tweaking them.

I've been so careful with not burning the milk sugars that I end up having to warm the lye/milk mix to get it to 90 degrees! 75 degrees is about what I get, too. Good to know that I can be safe and make good soap with a wider range of temps.

When you use animal oils, Cyndi, on your milk soaps, do you get trace happening like a bolt of lightening quick?
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Old 12/07/11, 02:14 PM
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No. I use about 30% of home rendered lard & a goodly amount of olive. Both are slow tracing oils.

What other oils did you use in your batch?

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Old 08/15/13, 08:03 PM
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I wanna make soap which looks like this:
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first batch of lard-based goat milk soap - kinda challenging!-img_63171.jpg  
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Old 08/15/13, 08:37 PM
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What is stopping you? Be srue to post pictures.
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Old 08/19/13, 02:51 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Northwestern Illinois
Posts: 1,399
My first thought.... Might make washing the kids' mouth out a bit easier ... the first time. Then they'd be on to me... and probably wonder about my desserts as well!! LOL.
Enjoy life's simple pleasures.
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Old 10/01/13, 10:58 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Central Iowa
Posts: 1,392
When making a milk soap have your oils melted first. I soap at 110-15 F for the AO's. Put a pitcher of your frozen/slushy milk in an ice bath before adding the lye. As soon as the lye is mixed up, combine it with your melted oils. This won't take long to do, so don't worry about the oils cooling off too much. If the oils gets cooler than that, you can end up with a false trace...then the soap separates out.
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