23 nov. 2010

Coconut soap recipe

Thought I'd share one of my fave recipes of all times: coconut soap. It's a really easy recipe with wonderful results. The soap is really soft on the skin and smells spectacular!


First off..prepare the lye...as with all recipes, double check the lye and water amounts with your own favourite lye calculator. I used 3.5 oz of lye diluted in 2.25 oz of water. If you followed my advice earlier...you'll notice that the amount of water is short by 6 oz, this is because we'll add the remaining liquid at trace, substituting the water for coconut milk (not cream - milk). LYE IS DANGEROUS, use protective gloves, goggles and long sleeve shirts. Should you get some on your skin, dip in white vinegar and get to the ER. Even if you don't think it's too bad, it will keep burning if left unattended. Please be careful...no children or pets around please.

Add the lye to the water...NEVER the water to the lye as it will produce a volcano effect, with extremely corrosive liquid.

Once you've prepared your lye water mixture (outside preferably) set it aside to cool down a bit. In the meantime, start preparing your oils. I do my soap using the hot process in the crock pot, so at this time I fill it with warm water and turn it on high. Measure and melt the coconut and palm oils in the microwave...usually 3 minutes on high. I then weigh my olive oil and add it to the mix. By the time I have everything ready, the lye is almost the same temperature as the oils, and with hot process it does not really matter. I use 12 oz olive oil, 10 oz palm oil and 3 oz coconut. I have extra sensitive skin, any more coconut and it gets really drying for me.

Now I'm ready to soap. I put my oils in a mixing bowl, then slowly add the lye/water mixture, stirring slowly with a spatula. When I've incorporated all the lye, I mix everything on the slowest setting in my stand mixer, using one whipping thingy (don't know what it's called). If you use both the chances for getting lye bubbles are too big, so use just one thingy. It takes like 2-3 minutes for it to begin tracing. Add the 6 oz of coconut milk to the soap mixture and blend for a couple of minutes, the mixture should be nearing full trace by now.



At this point, empty out the crock pot, which should be fully warmed up. Be careful because the water is near boiling. Turn the pot to LOW and put the soap mixture in, cover and let cook on LOW for about one hour. I said low twice and in bold because it's important to be at the lowest setting, otherwise you'll have burnt soap which smells nasty and needs to be thrown out.



After one hour, check to see if the soap is "done", meaning it has completely gone through the saponification process. You can do this by checking the pH with lithmus strips, or phenolph___, or more simply use the zap test, which implies taking a little bit of the soap, cool it in your hands and put your toungue to it, if it zaps, the soap is not ready...if it does not zap, then it is done.

If your soap is not done, give it a good stir and put the lid back on...cook for another 30 minutes and re-check. Continue this process until you no longer get zapped. Don't confuse getting zapped with getting burnt....make sure soap is cold enough to put to your tongue. Also, don't suck on it...it's just touching with the tip of your tongue. Lye is dangerous, ingesting ay amount merits a trip to the ER...lye burns do too. Should you get in trouble with lye, white vinegar may help...dip the skin in vinegar and get to the hospital quick - here's a helpful video of what lye does to skin (minute 2):


Once the soap has cooked competely, add coconut fragrance and put in oiled molds (I oil them with PAM).

Once cool to the touch you can unmold and enjoy!! No need to air dry for four weeks, although a couple of weeks help set the soap and will make it last longer.

Enjoy soaping!
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