Fluid Hot Process Soap Making and what I’ve discovered
When I began making hot process soap I would follow the familiar crock pot method. Putting the oils into the crockpot and heating them before adding the lye and bringing to trace before putting on the lid and waiting while it did its thing. A long winded and very time consuming process and, the batter was always really thick.
Checking out umpteen tutorials online the methods used were all the same. So, back I went to cold process, but my customers wanted the hot process ‘cos it looked rugged, and pretty, and looked like cake!
I kept thinking there must be a way to make HP more fluid, and yep, there was!
While perusing the net I found Tina Moenck and her method of fluid hot process soap. Magic!!
I shot into the kitchen switched on the crockpot and the rest is, as they say, history.
Tina’s method was so much quicker and it was so FLUID. I made heaps, some with beautiful swirls others plain and so on but all with that familiar rugged-looking top. I was so happy!
“Thank you so much, Tina!!”
But Hang On . . .
Hadn’t I seen an online video on YouTube made by The Goat Milk Soap Store where they used their stick blender from start to finish with the occasional rest in-between!
So Here’s What I Do . . .
I follow Tina Moencks method by heating my crockpot on the high setting, measuring out all my oils and butters (minus superfat if adding after cook) and melting them in the microwave before adding to my preheated crockpot.
I’ve also discovered that Mango Butter makes a big difference to any recipe’s fluidity. Needless to say, I include it in any recipe I use. Okay, let’s get on with it.
While my oils are heating I prepare my lye water, stir in the sugar until dissolved, and put aside.
Measure out my lye, and put it aside.
I do the same with colours and fragrances. Sometimes I use yoghurt, but often I don’t as I have not noticed any real difference if I do, and of course the yoghurt would need to be warmed or be at room temperature. The same applies to tools, molds. because anything cold will cause the soap to thicken.
Now check the temperature of your oils. When they reach 200 degrees F or a tad hotter you can remove the bowl from the crockpot. I don’t I prefer to keep the crockpot on a warm setting until it’s all in the mold.
Now mix up your lye, (having already added the sugar, or salt or Sodium Lactate to the water).
Lye temperature should be around 180-190 degrees F when it is add to your oils.
Once the lye is in I stick-blend to a thick trace and put the lid on the crockpot. I wait a couple of minutes, then give the batter a stir, at this point it has changed to almost an apple sauce consistency which is when I stick blend again until it reaches the mashed potato stage and begins to volcano (not all recipes do).
Now comes the hard work, I change from stick blender to a whisk and whisk like mad as it starts to volcano (sometimes it doesn’t, depends on the recipe).
I whisk and whisk. The whisking is needed to create the heat required to finish saponification. The batter will thicken before it gradually changes to a smooth creamy texture, a bit like a custard. Trust me this bit really is hard work, so if you have a whisk attachment that you can use on your stick blender that’s perfect!
If I’m using warmed yoghurt, I will stir it in, put the lid on the crockpot, and leave to sit for a couple of minutes to let the yoghurt convert to Sodium Lactate. If I’m not using yoghurt I will add some Sodium Lactate.
Stir really well and then add your essential oils or fragrance oils and stir in.
If I’m using more than one colour I will separate out some of the batter into prewarmed mini crockpots and mix in my colours.
Now you can pour your lovely, shiny, smooth fluid batter into your mold! Beautiful!
Note: This method is for experienced soapers only.