It is easy to formulate a cream soap recipe using soap calc. I like to use 25%-40% stearic and 20-30% coconut or palm kernel. You can go higher and lower. The rest I make with conditioning oils and butters.
We will use 22 oz of oils/butters. This is a 22 oz batch to start. This batch is also going to be at a 6% superfat/discount.
You will need 5.2 oz of glycerin, which will go into the oils and butters at the very beginning to be melted together.
A sample recipe:
15% coconut oil (you can sub for all the palm kernel, so it would be 30% coconut...)
15% Palm Kernel (you can also sub this for all of the coconut)
15% Sunflower or similar
5% shea butter (or 5% mango, 5% shea, or whatever butter you want to use.)
5% castor oil
If you do not have these exact oils, you can sub for more or less of what you do have and tweak it. This is a forgiving process (IMO) and it can be tweaked to your fancy. But make sure to keep the balance between stearic and bubbly oils.
You can keep it simple and use all olive for the 40% of the conditioning oils ratio. Or any other conditioning oil you have. I have also made it with lard, tallow, crisco, etc.
That is the first phase of the process.
Now to the second phase, calculating lye. A lot of people don't think you can use soapcalc to calculate your lye for cream soap, when in fact you can. It's really simple. Plug in your recipe for your oils/butters you are going to use for 22 oz.
Soapcalc will give you how much NaOH you need, IF you were making bars of soap. But what you are going to do is use that figure, and that is how much KOH you will need. So for my recipe above, soapcalc says I need 3.09 oz of NaOH. Which means for cream soap I actually need 3.09 oz of KOH.
Now to calculate the amount of NaOH you will need. Take that figure given by soapcalc (3.09) and divide it by 5. for my figure its .68. Which is the amount of NaOH I will need. You can also divide it by 4, it all depends on experiment. I highly suggest investing in a cream soap calculator:
You will need 35 oz of water for the cook. I normally use less, but I think since a lot of this is new to you, we will start with more water during the cook.
So to recap, I need 3.09 oz of KOH and .68 oz of NaOk. Some divide by 4, which I used to do, but I like this ratio better.
There is a 3rd and 4th phase. In the 3rd phase you will need .2 oz stearic and .31 oz of glycerin, this is called supercreaming, which will be added at the end of the cook. In the 4th phase will be where you will add .31 oz of Optiphen if you need to add additional water, or plan on adding additives, veggies, etc. This will be added when we whip up the soap.
Get supplies ready and weighed out. If you have not done so already weigh and mix your lyes with your water, and weigh and melt your oils/butters/stearic in your crock pot or double boiler, and pour your glycerin in the melted oils.
Cooking the soap should take about 4 hours, whipping the soap will happen the next day or whenever you are ready to whip.
Before you start, please remember to be safe, especially when learning a new process. Wear your gloves, goggles, hazmat suit, the works
Your crock pot should be turned on high and ready to go. Everything should be pre-measured and set to start. Melt your oils till they are hot, but not too hot. Pour your oils into your crock pot or double boiler (unless they are already there if you used them to melt your goodies.)
Combined your premixed lye solution with your oils and stick blend till trace. Stearic will always try to separate, but keep it going, the mix will soon stick together:
Keep mixing it, careful not to burn out your stick blender (give it a rest if it starts to get too hot.)
7 minutes of blending:
After about 15 minutes the soap will go from separated to honey texture as seen above. At this point you can put your stick blender away for the night. The next stage you will hit is this tough taffy stage:
After it hits the tough taffy stage, take chill pill and leave it alone for 30-45 minutes. It will stay like this and go through a few phases for the next hour and a half. But stir it once or twice in between time to incorporated any fluids.
After about 2 hours of cooking your soap should look like this. It is now starting to relax a bit, and is easier to stir:
After 3 hours of cooking the soap should look like this:
If you have a phenol tester, you can test it, if it is pink you still need to cook it longer. However I used to use those and stopped since I can now gage when my soap is done. I also do the old tast test by touching some cool soap to my finger, rubbing my fingers together to make sure I do not feel any gritty bits, and then I touch my finger to my tongue. If you get even the slightest zap, cook it until the zap is gone and all you taste is the sweet glycerin.
Once your soap is ready, its time to supercream. Melt your pre-measured stearic and glycerin now. Slowly stir the mix into your soap and let it cook for another 15 minutes.
After supercream is added and stirred:
At this point you can turn off your pot and leave the soap covered overnight.
The next day you will notice that your soap has relaxed a bit and has a glossy finish to it (looks like its grown fur overnight.) You want to resist adding water to it because looks can be deceiving, it might relax a lot over the next few days. Take a spoon and stir it up a bit and then leave it alone for a few hours. Later you can whip it up bit by bit in your stand mixer:
Mixing away in my 30 year old Kitchenaid.
Once all your soap is whipped, get out your buckets and pour the soap inside and store it away for a few weeks. This process is called rotting. Cream soap is just like any other handmade soap, it gets better with age.
A few quick comments. Cream soap is a very forgiving soap and there is so much that you can do with it. You can add sugar or exfoliates to it and make a scrub, you can shave with it, or just bathe with it.
You do not have to scent the entire batch. I scent at the time of purchase. I take however much I need, nuke it for 10 seconds, and add my fragrance (usually 2 teaspoons per 8 oz is enough of a punch) and use my hand whisk to mix it in.
If you find that your soap has not softened up in 3 days and/or has became rock hard and you are not able to whip it or even stir it, this is the time to add a little water at a time. Warm your soap up a bit for 20 minutes in the oven. Add distilled water to it tablespoon at a time until you can chunk it up into smaller pieces and stir it by hand. Let it sit and soften a bit more, and then try whipping it again.
Some recipes will need more additional water than others, while some recipes will not need any additional water at all. I once had a recipe I had to add 25 oz of water to, but I also added some Phenonip if I am adding extra water. If you are adding sugars or botanicals, phenonip is also in order. Its rare for anything to grow in this soap, but you can never be too safe.
Additional NOTEs: If you find that your soap is the complete opposite, runny and not holding form after a few days, you can thicken it with boric acid (not borax.) Take .2-.3 oz of boric acid and dissolve in 1 oz of water. Take half to 3/4 of this mixture and add it to the soap and mix it in with your stick blender. Leave it for a few hours, and whip it again. This is a little trick I learned over at the cream soap forum, a great resource for anyone making this method.
I determine the amount of glycerin needed by taking the amount of oils and dividing it by 4 or 4.2 if you do not want that much glycerin (for me, I like to go with a bit more glycerin so I divide by 4.)
I calculate my water as whatever soapcalc gives me times 2. But for a beginner use more water so that it is easier for you to make the first time around. As you become more experienced with the process you can lower your water amounts.
Super creaming is optional, some people do not even use it, you will have to try and see which you like better. To calculate the stearic its the amount of oils multiplied by .01%, and to calculate the glycerin its the amount of oils multiplied by .015%. Or you can just calculate the entire thing in the soulgazer calculator.
*Optiphen is the preservative you would need to use for cream soap.*
Just to make sure that everyone understands, the 35 oz of water is to be used to mix your lyes right from the beginning for the cook.
The glycerin cannot be put into soapcalc since it is not a saponified oil. It is just an extra part of your recipe, along with your oils. I don't know if the batch can be saved. I would try adding the glycerin in when you are whipping it and see what happens.
When adding the glycerin, if there are small chunks heat it and whip it again. The chunks should melt down.
Help please, once I got to the taffy stage my entire batch went to liquid with about 2 inches of foam on the top layer. I've never had it do this before, usually my batches do exactly as your method shows, so I am not sure what went wrong here, any ideas?
ANSWER: Rewhip. If foaming persists, let it cool off and then whip it again on low.
Question: How long does cream soap need to cure (rot) before it is usable?
Answer: Six weeks.
Question: When using a preservative when adding additives would that include clay and seeds?
Answer: I don't think you need preservative with clay, but with seeds, I would say yes.
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