Making soap has been on my ‘to do’ list for many years. I have had my supplies ready to go for months, but something about working with an ingredient that can burn through your skin, had me nervous. A couple of weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and geared up in long sleeves, latex gloves, safety goggles and an aspirator, and made my first batch. Everything went swimmingly, until I decided to cut it into bars. My beautifully creamy white block seemed firm enough to cut, but once I did, I realized that it was still like jelly in the center. I decided to wrap it back up in the plastic bag that I had put on my cutting board to protect it, and cover it again with a blanket. I checked it again an hour later, and was horrified to see that my white block was now yellow and translucent. The writing from the plastic bag had decided to come off, and my soap bar now had ‘No Frills’ printed on it. My husband thought that perhaps the plastic had not let enough heat out, and the soap had, in effect, baked itself. I was ready to chuck the whole thing out, but my husband talked me down off of the ledge. We left it to cool down, and eventually it was cool enough to slice.
My dreams of making perfect bars of soap were shattered, and I was left with rather ugly bars of soap. No matter. After a couple of weeks of curing, I prettied up my bars by trimming off the edges. The trimmings will not go to waste. I will use the soap shavings to wash my dishes with. Did you know that you can use a plain bar of natural soap to wash dishes? Just run your brush or cloth over the bar, and wash each dish.
Have you made soap? Do you have any favourite recipes?