Monday, 23 May 2016

lemon poppy soap

You may remember that last Friday I was undecided which crafty adventure to start with, from a list of five. After reading all your comments I was even more undecided. Go for the quilt. Don't go for the quilt...... So I decided to start with what would take the least time, the soap. I sent the children outside to play and set to work on Saturday afternoon.


I had this idea of lemon meringue pie soap in my head and this is what I set out to make. I was going to recreate a soap I had seen on the Soap Queen's blog. It is a lemon poppy meringue soap with no pastry layer. I decided to go for the look only and stick to familiar oils for the soap as I am used to their soap making properties.

I used a two pound bread tin, badly lined as I can see now but didn't really notice in the heat of the creative process. I measured out all the other ingredients and lined them up neatly, like any reputable TV chef would except of course I am just an ordinary woman.

I started off with a basic recipe using a third of each olive oil, palm oil and coconut oil, with an additional 5% of sweet almond oil for super-fatting. This by the way is a fancy way of saying that you add more fat that can be converted into soap with the amount of lye used, which makes a soft and luxurious bar of soap that won't dry your skin out. Nothing beats a bit of jargon to make you sound competent :-)

I made the basic soap mixture and divided it into two batches, one for the lemon layer and the other one for the meringue. I wanted the lemon layer to be quite runny so it would make an even surface when poured into the tin. I got distracted and mixed just a tad too long. The result was a quite thick gloop but I managed to tip it into the tin, which I then bashed it vigorously on the worktop to level the soap. Then I noticed that I had forgotten to add the fragrance oil. I could have just added it all the to meringue layer but for some reasons that are not entirely clear now I poured it into the tin with the yellow layer and used my stick blender to mix it in. Not a good idea I can tell you here in confidence, the tin was too shallow and there was also the issue of the lining paper which I did absolutely not want to be blended into the soap. To add insult to injury, the fragrance considerably speeded up the saponification reaction and the yellow layer was even more thick than before. I had to admit defeat in the end. To give more definition to the two layers, I sprinkled the lemon layer with black mica.

The meringue layer was easier. I added a a tablespoon of titanium dioxide to make the meringue extra white and a handful of poppy seeds to add tiny spots. I did remember not to use the stick blender after I added the seeds. I also added the fragrance oil. This mixture was also thick gloop but I needed this consistency for making peaks and swirls on the surface. As it turns out, making elegant peaks and swirls is not exactly easy but I did get to an acceptable shape.

The saponification process creates a lot of heat and most recipes suggest to keep the soap warm by wrapping it up in a towel. Yesterday evening I could not wait one second longer and decided to unfold the soap and cut it into slides. I am pleasantly surprised that inside it is not all too messy. I may trim the outsides a bit. I don't think I am quite ready to go into business but I am pleased with the soap. Now it has to cure for 4 weeks before I can use it.


I must admit I was a bit stressed because of the mistakes I made. This recipe was taking my soap making skills to the next level. I definitely need to look at my stick blending technique and maybe make a checklist to follow so I don't forget to add ingredients. I might make similar soap for practice before I move on to really trick swirly soap.



19 comments:

  1. I have been looking at making soap for awhile, but am a little afraid of the chemical reactions and such so I have ordered some melt and pour soap bases so that I can experiment with smell etc without the worry. One step at a time. I love the idea of lemon meringue soap, it looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That soap looks amazing (good enough to eat - ha!) I adore homemade soap and need to go to the farmer's market to get some soonish.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I certainly looks the business. You always learn from mistakes (that is a teacher talking!) Jo x

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think it looks fantastic, actually very professional. Learn from things and move on, but from the non-soap-maker it looks fabulous.
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks amazing. I remember years ago a friend went in holiday and brought me back some fancy coloured after dinner sweets as a gift. Opening them one evening to have with coffee I thought they had a very strong, though pleasant aroma. On further brief investigation I realised it was a pack of small, elaborate soaps. Your soap also looks good enough to eat X

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks good though. I love hand made soap and yours does indeed look like a lemon meringue pie.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your soap looks so good I would be afraid my little grands would try to eat it :), but I am fascinated by your account of your soap making process, Christina. I think it would feel both fun and luxurious to use your soap. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It looks great and I am sure that it smells good too! Enjoy it, that is what is most important!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm in awe! I feel like I can almost smell it! So pretty :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am SO impressed. I always wondered how fancy soaps were made. And now I know. It does seem a bit scary and I know I would leave major ingredients out ending with a product that would probably take a layer of skin off.. I love your technical jargon! Have a good week. B xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would love to start making soap. You're an inspiration! That soap is not just functional but gorgeous to boot. Good on ya!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think that looks really professional and I would be delighted if I had produced something like that. The whole process sounds really daunting.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looks like you did a great job. Must admit, I hadn't realised soap making involved a chemical reaction. I've always just thought of it as, well, soap.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's amazing! Curing, I had no idea what happens during curing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Curing just dries the soap to make the bar longer lasting. If you use the bars too soon, it will be used up very quickly.

      Delete
  15. How fascinating! I've never made soap. I have some supplies for glycerin soap that someone gave me years ago but I've always been afraid to try it. The supplies might not even be good anymore. I think this sounds like a nice combination of ingredients and they look very pretty and neat. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  16. The definition between the lemon and meringue is so crisp, despite your blending woes. You have made a really attractive cake of soap and I can only imagine how good it smells and how delightful it will be to use. I buy my handmade soap in bulk from a farmer's market (and keep it for months so,it lasts longer) but reading this really makes me want to gave a go - and lay to rest the memory of the ghastly grey gloop we made at Chemistry Club when I was about 12!

    ReplyDelete
  17. good grief, it's chemistry x

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've never tried making soap but despite your minor errors you make it sound fun. The looks great too.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx