12/05/11, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: the flat land of Illinois
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.