My first ever attempt at soapmaking was, in my opinion, a smashing success. (Such a good way to begin!)
Isn't it perdy?
I used one of the many wonderful recipes on this (amazing!) soapmaking site. This one using Beef Tallow, under recipes with Animal Fats, to be exact; mainly because I didn't have any of the fancy palm oils and such required by other recipes. I didn't even have beef tallow- I had a quart jar of sheep tallow given to me by some friends, who had rendered their own from their own sheep. (Lovely people, they.)
I halved the recipe (because I only had a quart of tallow!) which made 12 bar sized loaves of soap and since I don't have any soap molds at this point, I used bread loaf and gift loaf pans from my kitchen and mini bread loaf pans from my childrens' PLAY kitchen- all lined with plastic wrap. You know you are in too deep when you raid your childrens' play kitchen for supplies.
I added peppermint oil to my soap until it smelled good (probably should have measured it in retrospect...she DID have a scent guide, after all.) and then I experimented with coloring. Since I didn't have any fancy soap colorants, I just used red food coloring. (I figured if I botched it, I just wouldn't give any away.)
I poured some pure white soap into the molds, to be sure we got a few "unmaimed" bars and then experimented with the coloring. I added it to the bowl and stirred it and (duh!) it made it pink- not swirly. So I poured it all into molds and to one of them, I added four food coloring drops onto the surface of the "loaf" and then swirled it with a chopstick until the coloring seemed to have reached everywhere. (Very scientific, I know.)
The result, three different variations on a theme! Swirly, Pinky, and Pure.
The next day, I fully admit to going over and sniffing the bars at random intervals throughout the day.
I also fully admit to taking my soap with me on visits to show friends. Lame, but true.
And now, to show you how SERIOUS I am about soapmaking....take a gander over at my "Putting By" list on my sidebar. Scroll down until you see "OTHER" and what do you see?
I rendered lard. 4 gallons worth. (I KNOW!)
I totally did. I put armfuls of pork fat into big pots, melted them and strained them. Let me tell you, I never thought I would be the kind of girl to render lard. But, when the butcher shop is giving it away for free and soap-making requires LOTS, what is a girl to do?
And, in case you aren't fully shocked by now-brace yourselves.......ready?
I fully intend to render Tallow from the beef fat given to me by the selfsame butcher shop.
Yup, that's me...the fat renderer.
And PROUD of it.
And now~ a question for you soap-makers out there, if you please.
Is it normal to see a small film on the top of the soap or is that a sign that something is amiss? If the latter, what can I do to avoid it in the future?