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Friday, February 15, 2013

Anatomy Of A Tragic Soap Batch

It was apparent two days after pour that things were not going well.
We had a sudden cold snap in the middle of our summer...
right when I was making soap.
I wrapped it just fine in towels and blankets but in my heart of hearts, I knew I should have put it in a cosier spot. In the back of my mind a little voice was saying "it might loose heat too quickly".

I still haven't found a soap calculator that I am happy with since the demise of Snowdrift Farm but I can't totally blame the calc. I think the problem was really because of the failure to maintain the heat in the soap.
The seepage on the top did not bode well.....

I decided to cut it up and chop it fine in the processor and re-batch it in the slow cooker.

The further I cut into the block, the uglier the truth and layers of separated ingredients are revealed. Gloves are a must at this stage as I am dealing with raw lye solution seeping out of the brown looking layer there. 
After chopping finely I also included all the liquid seepage too.

I'm in two minds about the success of the re-batch.
I'll let them dry out and cure some more.

I was so looking forward to working with creamy soft lard but it has left me feeling a bit flat so far.
After conferring with another soap making buddy of mine, she and I have concurred on a number of points.
Please, please share your thoughts;
on soap making with lard as opposed to other fats,
any suggestion you have for a great on line soap calculator,
on re-batching....


  1. I've always used soapcalc.
    I've just started using lard/tallow in my soaps. I think I've done three batches with it now. Since I like a nice, unscented soap, I'm shying away from using lard in my next batch as the scent of it just doesn't quite go away. Had I not rendered the lard myself, I might not even be able to detect it, but I can smell it, and it's not altogether pleasant in the shower. As a hand bar it's just fine, though.
    Can you smell the animal fat in yours?

    1. Craig and I only use the unscented bars too and we can definitely smell the mutton fat ones. Not so much smell with the lard. At first when I showered with it (I use it in place of shampoo as well as body cleansing) it reminded me of a roast lamb dinner, especially when I followed my shampoo with a rosemary hair rinse. We don't smell it so much now and have got used to it. In fact I think I find it comforting (Craig would say that is because I am such an incurable carnivore). I certainly love the moisturising result from the soaps made with animal fat.

  2. Hey Tanya, what a shame.....after all that work.
    Can't offer any tips or suggestions as my soap comes wrapped in paper and made by the squillions, but I would like to give soap making a whirl.....
    Hope you find a solution.....

    Claire x

  3. I didnt realise temperature was such a huge issue in soap making.


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