hot process soap
I posted awhile ago about making soap with my lovely friend Annie, and I thought I should update everyone with the revolutionary new discovery we've made (which the rest of the soap-making world probably knew about long ago). Rather than stirring forever and doing everything at carefully-regulated cool temperatures, you can actually cook your lye and oil (soap) as you're making it, which finishes up the process much more quickly. Speed isn't always the goal, as it is very relaxing and ritualistic to take turns stirring for several hours, but when you just want some nice soap quickly, this seems to be the way to go. The lye and oil are mixed in a slow cooker (you can also do it in a roasting pan in the oven but we haven't tried that) with a stick blender, and then you literally cook it for about an hour. Without expounding too much, and to sum things up, we can now make a batch of soap in a couple of hours which is ready to use in a couple more hours, after it's cooled. We made some last night during a fabulous visit, and split the batch in half for scents / additions. I made beeswax and honey with oatmeal, and Annie made Mayan Gold with something in it. We both think hers stinks, and the jury's still out on mine - I think after it's dried a bit more, it might be quite lovely.