This is not going to be a goat milk tutorial. There are so many good tutorials on the web and I’m not a proficient or knowledgeable enough soap maker to think I could cover the subject well. But here are some pictures and brief descriptions of the process I underwent yesterday in my first attempt at making goat milk soap. I used the hot-process method of making soap in a crockpot.
This soap’s process is different in the beginning only. Where you’d normally mix your lye into distilled water, you must instead dissolve it into milk. But the milk will suffer badly during this combining if you don’t keep it cool enough. So I froze the goat milk until it was slushy and then put it in an ice water bath (first picture) while adding the lye. I added the lye over the course of 20 minutes, very slowly. If you go too fast, it will get too hot and the ice can’t help. You can see that the slush is gone in the liquid, evidence of it being heated up (second picture). Also, note the changed color.
Then I combined the lye/milk mixture with all the oils in the crockpot and stick blended them together for a good 6 to 7 minutes, until it took on the pudding consistency – drips remain on the surface instead of falling back in (third picture). This is called “trace” and it signifies that the stirring has forced the chemical reaction far enough along that it won’t revert backward – in other words, on toward soap and away from being lye and oil separately.
The “cooking” process takes about an hour on low in the crockpot. First the mixture will turn translucent or somewhat see-through (fourth picture), then when it is done there will be a pool of glycerin on top of it all (fifth picture). Glycerin is the natural by-product of the soap-making chemical reaction called saponification. Seeing that on top is a good sign.
But, at this point, I stirred the glycerin back into the soap and it was so liquidy, instead of gelled. So I got worried, but what could I do? I just let it cook 15 minutes longer. Then when I checked it, it was gelled. Praise the Lord!
I put a bit of it on my tongue, to test whether it “buzzed” me or not, but it only tasted soapy. That was a sign that the chemical reaction was complete and all the lye was turned into soap. I was really happy! Normally, my first attempts at something don’t work, but I think I’m having a bit more success lately – my cheeses are all working and this soap worked. I can only thank God for paving the way and making things go well! He is so good.
Finally, I scooped the hot soap mixture into the molds (sixth picture). They are plastic drawer trays lined with freezer paper and then sprayed with olive oil. I have tried other molds, but I always end up using these. I can get the soap block out easily and cut it up easily and I end up with nice looking rustic bars (here’s a picture, though it isn’t that close up).
The soap hardened in the mold overnight and I haven’t cut it up yet. I’ll take pictures of the finished bars then and show you.
Oh, the smell! I can’t quite place it. It is different. It is a little like some food. A pleasant food, but I can’t figure out what. It isn’t offensive. In fact, it might be inviting. But it is different than any other soap I’ve done. I’m excited to lather up with it and see what I think!