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Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Per UncleJoe's advice, here is something I know:

This my favorite, go-to basic soap recipe. This makes a nice, lathery hard bar. It's a generally balanced formula, but is slightly more drying than some homemade soap recipes because of the coconut oil. It's also a great recipe because 1) all of the oils/fats are easily found at the grocery store and 2) it's a great way to use up oils/fats that are ready to be rotated out of storage.

Basic Ratios:
30% Crisco
30% Coconut Oil
20% Canola Oil
20% Olive Oil

2.5# recipe (w/ 6% superfat):
430.9 g water
159.5 g NaOH (Lye)
340.2 g Crisco
340.2 g Coconut Oil
226.8 g Canola Oil
226.8 g Olive Oil

This recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on the size of the mold. My mold for the 2.5# batch is portion of a cardboard box lined with waxed paper (shiny side in). You can calculate the size of the batch needed for your mold by: Cubic Volume of mold (in^3) * 0.38 = weight of oils.

Then, use the SoapCalc utility to get the correct amounts of reagents for your desired sized batch. The utility also allows you to tailor for different oils. Crisco has changed formulations recently (added palm oil), you'll need to update the calc if you're using the new formulation. This is a great utility to play with, especially if you have a good soap book handy. It makes the chemistry a breeze. Speaking of books, here are two for your library:
Smart Soapmaking: The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliably, or How to Make Luxurious Handcrafted Soaps for Family, Friends, and Yourself
Watson, Anne L. "Smart Soapmaking: The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliabily…" (Jan 2007) I love her shea butter soap and make it for Christmas presents every year.

Print most of Kathy Miller's pages and put them in a binder. Her site is better than 98% of the books on the market. She has the SAP values for fats/oils in tabular form; these are *must have* if you ever have need to improvise a recipe but don't have access to the internet.

Follow Miller's and Watson's instructions faithfully for tools, temperatures, procedures, and safety protocols and you will have awesome soap. I'd love to try out any recipes you've had success with, so please post and share!
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