Friday, August 10, 2012

Beer Soap Fun and More!

First off, New Soaps!
I just removed my Kentish Rain cupcakes from the mold, and they turned out fantabulous! The picture is below. Don't drool too much, they are definitely NOT edible! In addition, I am now getting ready to make cupcakes and soap with peppermint essential oil for Christmastime and I am very pumped! Pictures to come soon!

The Soap Process
The soap making process is a mystery to many people. At shows, I am asked all of the time, "you make that from scratch? How do you do that?" Well, with me being a visual person, I thought it best that I share it in pictures. I took pictures of myself making beer soap scented with Brambleberry's Oatmeal Stout (which is a must-sniff if you haven't tried it yet!) and I have included captions for everyone to follow.

The Basics: Soap is created when lye and oils are combined. Each type of oils requires an exact amount of lye to turn it into soap. The oils and lye must be accurately measured by weight. Any leftover oils are called superfat, and this is what moisturizes skin. In contrast,  a soap which has too much lye is no bueno! This is a very simplified breakdown of the process and does not cover all of the variables, so if you are thinking about making your own soap at home, please research it extensively first! Lye is caustic and not something to use without background knowledge.

So with that being said, let's begin!

1. Lye needs to be dissolved into a liquid to make soap. Basic soap recipes use distilled water, but milks and beer are commonly used as well by more advanced soapers. In this particular recipe, I boil down the beer, let it cool and then add the lye (in a container that I have just for this purpose).  I walk away and let the lye/beer solution cool.

Here I am boiling down the beer to make it flat and reduce the alcohol content. 
Whipping the beer soap top

2. For this particular soap, I make two lye solutions and two oils batches. The smaller batch of lye and oil is put in the fridge to make it cold, and the oil is whipped in a mixer to add air bubbles. This will be the top layer. The larger batch will be the base layer.

3. The lye solution is added to the oils and mixed with a stick blender until thickened. In soap terms, this is called trace.

The oils cloud when the lye solution is added

4. I pour the soap into the mold. This fragrance oil browns the soap because it contains vanilla, so I make the top layer  without fragrance so it will keep it's pretty white color. This batch became hot pretty fast (which makes it freeze up if you're not careful), so I don't have pictures of the pour. Sorry! But, here it is in the mold.
5. And, twenty-four hours later, I remove it from the mold and cut it into slices.
6. Soap needs to cure for four to six weeks. This makes a nice, hard bar of soap that is gentle, cleansing and moisturizing!