For this batch of cold process soap, I used my standard oil combination of 1/3 olive oil, 1/3 coconut oil, and 1/3 palm oil (shortening). First, I measured out the palm oil and melted it since it has the highest melting point. After I melted it, I added the coconut oil which melted in the heat of the palm oil. Then I added the olive oil to the soap pot.
I set the oils aside and measured out my distilled water in a pyrex measuring cup. I set that aside and measured out my lye in a dedicated small plastic container with a wide bottom. I like to use wide-bottomed containers for my lye and for the container that holds the water to which I will add the lye. The wide bottoms give them more stability — less likely to dump over if accidentally bumped. Then I added my lye to the water (NEVER the other way around) and stirred it with a stainless steel (NEVER aluminum) whisk until all the lye dissolved.
Then I added my lye water to the oils pot and used my immersion blender to bring it to a medium trace. For this batch of soap, I divided my soap batter into two portions and colored one portion with prepared* Indigo Powder from Brambleberry and the other portion with prepared* Yellow Oxide Pigment also from Brambleberry.
I ended up using twice as much Indigo Powder than the amount recommended because it didn’t color the soap batter very deeply. Now, I didn’t insulate my soap loaf in order to help it go through the gel phase which I just found out will help the indigo color really “pop”. So, next time I use the indigo, I will insulate the soap in order to see the difference.
2 lb loaf of layered cold process soap
4 oz bars
*Before you add a powdered colorant, you must mix it with a bit of oil, water, alcohol, or glycerin (depending on the instructions) before adding it to the soap batter. You should follow the instructions for the powdered colorant and for the type of soap that you are making. Some should be mixed with oil while others should only be mixed with water, etc.
Side note: Most soaping books will instruct you to let the lye water come down to the same temperature as the oils (or at least within 10 – 15 degrees of each other AND between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit). I’ve been experimenting with adding the freshly mixed and still quite hot lye water (but making sure that all lye beads are dissolved) to the oils. So far it has not given me any issues. And I have heard from other soapers who also do this and they do not report any problems. Your mileage may vary. When I asked in a soapers Facebook group about other soapers doing this, I called it the room temperature method. I was informed that this is actually the heat transfer method wherein you use the heat of the lye water to melt the solid oils. Room temperature method is when you let the lye water and the oils both cool down to room temperature. I have definitely done the room temperature method when I am using only olive oil (castile soap). The only issue that I have noticed with the room temperature method is that soda ash will form but I have recently learned that a few spritzes of 91% alcohol after pouring the soap batter should prevent that. Soda ash is not harmful; it is just a little bit of an eye sore. You can cut it off with a sharp knife.
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