April 3, 2013. After about 3 months of on-off researching and thinking about making soap, I finally did it. The only thing I lacked that day was safety goggles. Before going home from work, I stopped by the nearest department store. All I could find was motorcycle goggles. Oh well. I was determined to make my first soap that night, so I got myself a red pair.
For my first soap, I decided to use Gregory Lee White’s Easy Olive Bar from his book Making Soap From Scratch. It is basically a castile soap with a little castor oil to lessen the slimy feel of pure olive oil. I had read the book a few times and had spent the last few days scouring the internet for tips…. I was ready!
What surprised me the most was how fast it took to reach trace. The moment the soap mixture looked emulsified, I stopped blending and immediately poured it into my paper-lined shoebox. From what I had read, I was scared that the whole thing would turn solid and would be impossible to pour out. But no such thing. It was a breeze to make. What was difficult was the wait! The book said to “leave the box alone until the next day.” Did I follow? Of course not! I was too excited and took a peek several times throughout the next 24 hours.
When the long wait was finally over, I was disappointed to see oily sweat on the surface. It was not a pool of oil, but there was enough oily beads to know that something was not right. After going through articles on soap troubleshooting, I decided to wait it out for a day, hoping that the oil would get reabsorbed. No such luck. I read some more until I came to the conclusion that rebatching was the solution. It sounded fairly easy. So I chopped up the soap, dumped everything in my slow cooker, and added a little water. I don’t know what I was thinking because I did this just before dinner with my husband and a couple of friends.
The soap bits had half melted after I had finished eating, but it stuck to the sides of the pot and was so difficult to stir! I added more water hoping it would melt down evenly. Let’s just say that I acted too hastily with the rebatch. I put too much water and never got to melt all the soap bits. Nonetheless, I scraped off the soap mess into my shoebox mold. After 3 days, I was able to unmold and cut it. The middle part was soft and translucent. I think I will have to wait for a year for this one to harden up.