This is a small snippet of a bit of soap making in my world. This soap was made for Amy Warden's Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge. I haven't named it yet, but it will be something Earthy as it smells kind of earthy and musky AND it will be ready just in time for Earth Day 2014.
As always, I start with fresh goat milk. I freeze it into ice cubes, weigh the correct amount (usually about 30% of the total batch volume) and add the lye (slowly). On this day, since it was cold out, with snow on the ground, I mix the lye and milk outside. It is always a game to balance the temps just right to keep the mixture cool enough so the milk doesn't burn, while allowing it to warm just enough to dissolve the lye. The goal is to keep the mixture nice and light and creamy.
Then the milk/lye mixture is added to the pre-measured oil mixture. This must then be mixed until a light trace forms. Since this batch is large and the recipe takes a while to trace, I've pulled out the big guns and mix it double duty.
Now, to get the additives ready: mixing the colors with a little extra oil (color choices are charcoal, kelp powder, and an infused oil with alkanet root), measuring the shredded loofah, and mixing and measuring the essential oils.
Before the soap batter was divided, I added the essential oils. For this I chose, vetiver, ylang ylang III and lime. I thought I had more lime EO, but alas did not, so I improvised and upped the quantities of the other 2 oils. Also, in the instructions for the challenge, the obvious was mentioned: Only use oils that you are used to working with and know how they will perform. Well I had never worked with vetiver yet and you can see from the photo how one oil is much darker and more dense than the others. Yep, that is the vetiver. A little worried here that my soap will be brown, but onward I go. I poured most of the scented soap batter into my mold and saved out just a bit for each color.
With the colors all mixed, I began dropping and plopping a bit here and there at different heights to create differing depth penetration. Here I discover another mini mistake that resulted in yet another ever present learning experience. I had also never used an infused oil. I had not waited long enough for the alkanet to infuse and I didn't use enough of what I did have infused. So that color was basically non-existent. It was supposed to be purple. You'll see in the finished picture that there is NO purple. Not even a smidge!
Next, a little swirly action with a chopstick, a little bit of dried calendula on top for fun, and off to "bed" it goes.
Finally, the most exciting part: the cutting! Every piece is like opening a present. You just don't know what you will find until you see it. I'm happy with how they came out. This is one of my favorite recipes (that I have used before) and I LOVE having the shredded loofah in a soap; so I know that the soap will be great! I love the scent, but I know some will not. It is a a bit smokey, musky, and earthy all in one. Next time I will use a bit more lime EO and a bit less vetiver EO. And even though the "purple" alkanet disappeared, that didn't really matter. What do you think? Do you have any good ideas for a name?