I finally did it!! I met a goal I’ve had all year! I made my first batch of goat milk soap!
My awesome, hunky farmer made me a beautiful soap mold box, with an adjustable insert to use for smaller batches. It also has a removable front end with a cutting slot, so I can make perfect, equally sized bars. We also researched the design, and it seemed the thickness of the wood helps hold in heat to encourage proper gelling of the soap, and then, to cool a too-hot batch, you simply removed the lid. I love it already, and it worked beautifully!
I used a simple goat-milk soap recipe, using coconut oil, olive pomace oil, goat milk, lye, castor oil, and vanilla fragrance oil. My first possible mistake came when my milk/lye mixture was cooled quickly, and my oil mixture just wouldn’t cool! I was so focused on preventing the lye from scalding the milk that I overheated the oils. Eventually, after the book said the only problem was that it might trace too fast, I decided to go for it. I combined the 2 mixtures, hand stirred until I thought my arm would fall off, then used the immersion blender to finish the job.
I took it to a light trace, added the castor oil, mixed it in, then added the vanilla oil, and mixed until a thick pudding consistency (too much trace, perhaps?), poured into the mold, smoothed it best I could, covered it, and waited 24 hours.
We noticed the box was REALLY warm for several hours, but by that evening, the mixture was already hard. I waited a full 24 hours, then cut the soap block into bars.
It seemed to have worked out. I have nice, well-formed, solid bars, but one chipped a corner during cutting. I also noticed a couple air holes in the bars, and the bottoms of most seem a little crumbly on the very corner edges.
I am ready to try again, but I’m wondering if you experienced soap makers see any specific areas that I should improve?
- Is the severe chip of the top bar normal? If not, what is it indicative of?
- Is the semi-crumbling seen at the bottom of some bars normal? If not, what might I have done wrong?
- Does it sound like I traced to much and should pour it thinner next time? Notice the roughness/lumpiness of the top of the bars–it wasn’t easy to smooth out!
- Should I try harder to make the oil and milk/lye temps match, or is that a big deal?
- Are there any other suggestions for what I should be looking for as I go through the process?
ANY suggestions are greatly appreciated. I just don’t know if I did it right since I don’t know what I’m looking for, and I can’t use it for at least 4 weeks! In the mean time, I can’t wait to try a bar out in a few weeks!