Making Soap

About 3 or 4 years ago I took a soap making workshop at Little City Farm in Kitchener. LCF is a brilliant collection of businesses run by Karin and her partner Greg – look them up online.


They purchased an older home in the downtown core and are farming the entire property – a city lot. They offer courses and workshops and run a bed and breakfast and raise their family. She’s a knowledgeable herbalist and he is a skilled builder. They are into permaculture  They build community.
If you find yourself in Kitchener you should check it out. 


Since then I’ve tried a few different recipes but I always gravitate back to the simple recipe she shared that day. I started by mixing lye and water. It creates an exothermic reaction and heats up really quickly.  I set it outside to let it cool while I heated the fat.


In this case I used olive oil and vegetable shortening. The goal is to get the 2 liquids – the fat and the lye,  to the same temperature before blending them together. About 100F. 


Once ready I poured the lye solution into the fat mixture and mixed with an immersion blender. After a minute or 2 it thickened up to a stage they refer to as ‘trace ‘ – about the consistency of thick pudding. At that point I added in my extras – totally unnecessary but they make a nice product.  I added rhassoul clay – a mineral rich clay that softens skin an promotes regeneration of skin cells, a wee bit of patchouli oil so that I fit in with my hippie friends and some poppy seeds to give an interesting texture.


I poured it into the mold, wrapped it in a towel, and left it to sit for 24 hours.


It worked! The soap hardened and the wooden box came off easily. I cut the block into 36 bars and set them on a rack to cure.


At this early stage the soap is way too strong to use.  It needs to mellow for 4 to 6
weeks while the lye loses its harshness. The end product is worth the wait. So much nicer than commercial product and totally customizable to your preference.


I use this soap every day.  In the shower, to shave with, and beside every sink in my house.  Karin recently posted her schedule for upcoming classes on a variety of topics.  You should check them out.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s