Posted by Cibaria Soap
November 30th, 2009 No Comments
There are many goat’s milk soap tutorials out there, but I make mine a little differently with consistent results, so I thought I would share my own technique. My technique combined many other strategies and then was altered to fit my needs. I saw many milk soap recipes that came out that lovely shade of orange or described a horrid smell, neither of which interested me. I found different methods for freezing the milk, adding the lye to the milk, adding additives to counteract the issues of using milk, but I wanted something simple.
Here is my technique. You can use your own recipe and then change the water to milk or you can use this recipe that is similar to mine from Snowdrift Farms. You didn’t think I would actually give away my “top secret” recipe, did you?
Shea & Goats Milk Soap
by Snowdrift Farms
Makes about 5 lbs. of soap
Oils by weight:
15 oz. sunflower seed oil, high oleic
15 oz. sweet almond oil
8 oz. avocado oil
3 oz. babassu oil
7 oz. coconut oil, 76 degree
3 oz. palm oil
4 oz. shea butter Lye/NaOH/Sodium Hydroxide by weight: 7.4 oz. Water/Milk by volume: 20 fluid ounces
1-2 teaspoons titanium dioxide
1 teaspoon pigment
2.5-3 ounces essential oil or fragrance oil
I am assuming you know how to make cold process soap. I should not have to remind you to use proper safety techniques and protective gear, but I will. Please use them. Here’s a link to general lye safety. And here is a link to soap making safety tips.
Now let’s begin.
1. You need frozen goat’s milk. A local farm or a health food store should be able to supply you with goat’s milk. I use raw or unpasteurized goat’s milk. Some methods suggest freezing the milk in an ice cube tray with each cube containing 1 ounce. This is too much work and the milk melts too fast (at least in my S. FL home it does). Note their are 20 ounces of fluid necessary for this recipe. I use 16 ounces of goat’s milk (there is a reason for this – it does not matter your ratio, but you need some water). Measure the 16 oz. and pour into a freezer ziploc bag. Seal and freeze overnight. Since I make a lot of goat’s milk soap, I buy a lot of milk and freeze it all at once. The raw milk does not stay fresh long, so freeze it right away.
2. Melt your oils together.
Place in a glass or plastic container and allow to cool to 115-120 degrees.
3. Have your scent and color ready to go. I have two sets of photos in this tutorial. One is showing what will happen if you add nothing. The other shows my Orange Blossom soap in a light peach shade.
4. Fill your sink with a few inches of water and add a lot of ice.
You want the temperature to be about 5 degrees cooler than the oils. If it’s not exactly 5 degrees cooler, don’t panic. You definitely want the milk cooler than the oils and the temp of the milk should be 105-115 degrees. Sometimes, the milk doesn’t melt completely when the temperature reaches the desired degrees. Don’t worry. It’s the temp that is important, not whether or not the milk has melted. Note the color has gotten lighter. It’s now a creamy color.
8. Pour the lye mixture into the oils, as soon as both temperatures are in the right range. Note that my milk is still in an icy chunk. It will melt while mixing the oil with the lye.
9. Give the mixture a quick stir. Start using your stick blender, and blend to trace. The oils made it a little darker. Just keep mixing.
Sometimes when you add the milk mixture to the oils and start to belnd it, it will immediately thicken and look a little ricey. Don’t panic. Your temps were probably a little off. Just blend with the stick blender. It is falsely tracing and will correct itself as you blend it. It should self-correct suddenly within a minute or two of blending.
Ahh! Now the color is getting pretty light.
When you reach light trace, which typically takes just a couple of minutes, add your color. I added my peach color in this picture.
Then add your scent. I used my essential oil blend for my Orange Blossom soap. You can see it brings a color of its own.
Mix again until trace.
Pour into your molds or log. Here again is my peach colored soap. It will darken a little as it solidifies.
10. Put some saran wrap over exposed portions of soap to prevent ash. There is no need to cover the soap or to place it in the freezer. Just put the saran wrap on it and leave it alone for 24 hours.
Here you can see 3 different soaps. The white is Sweet Jasmine, the peach is Orange Blossom, and the tan one in the back is Brigid’s Amber. It smells awesome but will darken to a mid brown due to the ingredients (surprisingly, not vanilla).
Here is a white bar of Sweet Jasmine.
Some people have the philosophy that milk soap should not gel and needs to be placed in the freezer. This is not necessary using this method. Do not fear gelling. I have never had a problem and my house sometimes gets up to 85 degrees.
This is the Sweet Jasmine curing.
I paint most of my Celtic soaps with mica. This is the finished Orange Blossom with some gold mica. Note the light color. Your milk soaps do not need to be dark, although I do make some dark soaps in the colors I choose, but not by scorching my milk.
Hope this tutorial helps some of you that are interesting in a goat’s milk adventure. If you have questions, please post them here and I will be happy to answer them.
I have another tutorial coming soon for alcoholic soap. No, not soap for alcoholics, soap made with alcohol. I make some with beer and whiskey. You could also use wine and other hard liquors.
Tutorial and photos by Erica Pence, owner and handcrafted soap maker at Bonnie Bath, and author of the Bonnie Bath Blog.
Bio: Owner of The Bonnie Bath Co. and maker of handcrafted soaps, bath and body products and candles. Column Editor for the Saponifier Magazine and Forum Moderator and volunteer for the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild as well as the Scottish American Society of South Florida. Regional webmaster for FUSTA. Happily married with one beautiful child.
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