Sunday 24 September 2017

Reaching Trace

We love homemade soap made with natural ingredients. We also love creating new recipes such as this little gem. This Sunrise Citrus soap recipe from Handcrafted Soap by Delores Boone,  is our first scented soap and I have to say if your the type who does their waking up in the shower, waking up to the smell of tangerines is a pretty refreshing way to start the morning.

The soaps we make here don't just form up into little squares of tangerine loveliness. The soap making process has a few intricate steps involved to get them to a safe and usable state. Chosen oils and a mixture of lye and distilled water get mixed together and heated at a low temperature to start the process of binding the oils with the lye-water mixture.

In our old little attic apartment we found it easiest to heat the oil and lye mixture in a slow cooker on a low heat setting. While the liquid soap is heating, we mix it with a hand mixer for about 5-10 min depending on the soap. 

Some soaps will take longer to mix than others. For instance, this Sunrise Citrus Soap ended up taking anywhere from 10-15 min. Homemade soap definitely requires a very novice understanding of science...specifically chemistry. Thus, we blame differences in mixing time on chemistry. The goal of mixing the oil and lye-water mixture is to reach a very important stage in the soap making process known as Trace.

Reaching Trace is sort of like a point of no return. It essentially means that you've emulsified the oil and lye-water mixture and you no longer risk the potential of these ingredients separating. You have completed the first stage of forming soap! You'll known when you've reached Trace because the soap will sort of look like pudding and will have ridge lines. 

Happy soaping.

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