OMG I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO GET TO USE THAT TITLE! And now, I finally made Pine Tar Soap! And it smells SOOOOOO good. But more on that in a minute.
First of all, you may have noticed a drop off in the number of blog posts. There’s a bunch of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that my husband and I are temporarily the guardian of our 6 month old granddaughter, so we are very busy lately with baby this and baby that. She’s awesome. And unless we are FB friends, that’s the last you’ll hear about her. Except that my usually cluttered house and kitchen are now downright horrible because of lack of time and mobility, and it makes making anything impossible. I did throw some lip balm together this morning because I was completely out of unflavored, shea butter aweseomeness lip balms. So I made up a big batch of ten and now I have them on hand to stash all over the house. As soon as I print off labels for them. Or hand write labels. Or don’t, and let everyone guess what they are…always an option and a great until a month from now when I forget I did it. Sigh.
Back to the soap: I was excited when I found pine tar at a great price online and decided to splurge and get some. I had a few people express interest in pine tar soap because of it’s alleged skin and hair saving benefits (it’s supposedly excellent for things like acne or eczema, and a great cure for dandruff), so I thought it would be worth making. Also, because it’s tricky to make by all accounts, I was curious how hard it would be to do. Always up for a challenge…and the soap challenge was just over. It turned out to be too easy. I increased my water discount as suggested and used a slow tracing recipe, but honestly I could have used the regular water (or even a lower water discount) and it would have been fine. The slow moving recipe was probably a good idea; I left out pomace and stuck with canola oil, coconut oil, lard, and a smidge of castor oil. I made sure everything was completely at room temperature and it was a breeze to do.
I was at light trace when I poured it and it wasn’t even thick enough to do much of a design on the top, as opposed to the brownie like batter I had been scared I was going to get according to all the tutorials. Must have been all that water, because it needed three days in the mold before I could take it out and I still smooshed up one end (glad we trim those off) and I gave it another day out of the mold to set up more. It sliced great in my new slicer! I love this thing! So much better than eyeballing the loaf and getting “about right” slices that are all wobbly. (Best Mother’s Day present ever, btw, dear hubby who is reading)
Because of the extra water discount, and how very soft these are, they are going off into the storage room with the soap from the soap challenge to cure for two months instead of one. I’ll try out the end slice in a month and see how it’s going, but I’m almost certain it needs at least 6 weeks which would put it ready to sell around the 4th of July. I’m ok with that. That reminds me that I need a patriotic soap ready and done in the next week or so and ready to go…or that I should have done it already, actually and should consider it for next year. I do want to make a soap for Thanksgiving that’s high in shea butter that needs a 6 month (give or take) cure time, and that means I need to get it done this month or next and get it on racks. It will be “pumpkin pie” and should be very luxurious with all that shea butter in it. I also have ideas for Christmas soaps that I should start working on in August and marketing THEN.
However, as you can see, we haven’t gotten my new wood soap mold built yet (it’s strange how you can’t use power tools and hold a squirming 6 month old, or put her in safety gear and keep her distracted while you use a skillsaw) so I’m still using my less than optimal loaf mold that has seen better days. I have the stuff to make the goat’s milk soap I’m curious to try, and it occurred to me that a tres leches soap would be fun to make with goat’s milk, coconut milk, and cow’s milk, with amaretto or coconut fragrance oil (or vanilla, or jasmine) and in small, round molds. It would be such a mild soap with such great lather. If the recipe was right, with tallow and luxury oils, it would be a really mild and amazing soap. Hmmm……how much fun would THAT be to make? I really shouldn’t be allowed to have so many ideas! I know most people create one or two soaps and than make just that, but I am tempted to say that every batch from Incidentals will be unique and reflect the artistry of the soap maker. Is that a viable business option? Probably not. Sadly…
I can’t tell if it is soda ash forming on the outside of the soap or if they will just lighten up naturally as they lose water. I guess I will make that determination as they lose water and harden, but unless they seem very ashy I’m not going to steam them before they sell. If they are very ashy and not brown at all, I’ll give them a steam and see if they look nice again but let’s wait a month and see what happens. Fingers crossed! I did spray the loaf well with alcohol so maybe it’s natural water loss.
Happy soaping and DIYing!