This soap was a bit of a lesson in how to stop cracks and gelling or embrace it, depending on your preference. I’ve usually placed soaps in the mold into the fridge to prevent gel from even starting, but I got caught up in other things and didn’t get it in there quickly enough, so it started to gel and a crack formed. It wasn’t a deep crack and was only about 1 1/4″ long, so I wasn’t all that upset about the crack. The gel on the other hand was another matter. I really don’t like when gelling occurs. Some like to have it happen as it deepens the colours and speeds up the saponification process. I don’t because it runs the risk of stopping before it’s complete, leaving what I call crop circles in the center of the loaf, thus ruining several if not all of the bars. I really dislike having that happen since it prevents me from being able to sell them and thus wasting the supplies on something that isn’t usable except for myself and the hubs. I have no problem with having one or two bars from a batch, but I don’t like being forced to keep them ALL.
I turned to Soaper’s Retreat, as I so often do, when this happened because there are hundreds of soapers in there who’ve been through nearly every possible good or bad result from soap making and would be able to suggest what could be done. I was hazy on whether it should be gelled after it had been in the fridge for a few hours, so that was the reason for my hesitation So, when going into the Facebook group last night, I posted the question and was immediately answered. Two ladies answered me right away stating the soap could be put into the oven despite being cool for so long and the wooden mold would be fine at such a low temperature.
I set the oven to warm, turned it off when it reached that temp, then removed it 3-4 hours later. It’s a bit hazy as to exactly how long since I fell asleep! I slept until 10 pm on the sofa while watching Paranormal State – Ryan’s voice is very hypnotic – then woke up to a fully gelled soap that still had its fragrance! Yay! I removed it from the wooden mold and pulled the paper away from the sides but no the bottom. It stayed undisturbed all night, firming up very nicely. It had muted colours to begin with so I wasn’t expecting an amazing delineation between colours, but I was expecting it to be filled with large holes from air pockets. The soap batter was firming very quickly due to all the butters used and it was barely pourable, but there were surprisingly few bubbles. One nice surprise!
It had Aloe Butter, Chamomile Butter, Green Tea Butter from WSP, olive oil, castor oil, aloe juice in place of the water, Tussah silk, coconut milk, goat’s milk powder, buttermilk powder, lemon peel powder for exfoliating and smoothing away calluses and rough spots from hard working use in the garden or kitchen, French Green Clay and Red Moroccan Clay, both for a nice slip and for colour, too, colloidal oatmeal and Vitamin E. The fragrance notes were chosen with odor-elimination in mind. We all know how lingering the smell of onions or garlic or even celery can be on the hands, so the rosemary, lemon and mint used in these bars will cut that out. It still held the fragrance despite being placed into a warm oven and left for hours as the oven cooled, so over all it was both successful and a learning experience. I guess this one qualifies as a CPOP soap since it was placed in the oven to complete the process. Ha! Another soaping lesson learned.
I send out heart-felt thanks to Jill Wesinger Wood and Linda Wisniewski Morris for their prmpt and encouraging help to save this soap that is destined to be used for a Goodie Basket for our Adult Summer Reading program. There will be other soaps included in that basket as well, but I wanted a hard-working soap for hard-working hands first and foremost.
All that being said, here’s a pic of the sliced soap, freshly cut this morning. It smells nice and lemony now, though earlier it smelled more minty.