Friday, October 17, 2014

If At First You Don't Succeed...Rebatch! (And Christmas Soap)

One thing that I've discovered about making soap is that things don't always go as planned.  The next thing I learned was how to make lemonade out of lemons! Thus, the rebatch!

In this example, I only used half of my original batch, which weighed just over one pound.  I used a cheese grater to get the soap into tiny pieces.  I dread this part.  I like to cook well enough, but grating cheese is my very least favorite thing to do in the kitchen.  I hate it.  The first time I did this I was so pleased to discover that the consistency of the soap make grating much easier than I had feared.  I had my four or five bars grated and in the Crock Pot in no time!

Soap is way easier to grate than cheese!
Following the general guidelines on rebatching from this post, I added about 2 ounces of liquid.  I decided to use milk, since it can help to make the rebatched soap a little bit smoother.  The final product definitely turned out smoother than I had anticipated in this case.


I stirred it all up, and set the Crock Pot on low.  An hour later, the mixture was much softer and easy to stir.  After another 45 minutes or so, I checked again to find the mixture to be almost completely gelled.  I added some lovely orchid color and slightly less than 1/4 ounce of jasmine fragrance oil. Jasmine is my absolute favorite scent!

Gelled soap.  Time for color and fragrance!
It was time to mold the soap, and I was a little bit nervous about this part.  Part of what I love about the cold process method is that the soap is so, well, pourable.  I've never done a hot process batch, but smushing the soap into a mold doesn't really appeal to me.  So I decided to get creative and use a Pringles can as a mold!

I cut the bottom off of the can, lined the lidded end with plastic wrap, put the top back on, and secured the plastic wrap with a rubber band.  The top of the container had now become the bottom.  I lined the inside of the can with parchment paper, and cut a few inches off of the can to make it shorter (and easier for the smushing part).  I'm happy to say that this worked really well.  I had read others' horror stories about not lining the can and having the soap react in a weird way to the aluminum-ish lining inside of the can.

After smushing and setting aside to harden for a day, I tore the can right off of the soap.

Unveiling the rebatched soap at the breakfast table.
The finished soap turned out really well, if I do say so myself.  It does have a slightly "rustic" look, since rebatched soap is apparently never as smooth as the first batch (although in this case, I think it was kind of an improvement on how it turned out the first time).

Successful, if rustic, rebatch.
So is rebatching worth the effort?  Yes!  

In other news, I'm starting some holiday soaps that smell delicious!  This one is Kringleberry, and the scent is Christmas morning in a bottle.  I'm really happy with how the swirls turned out in this batch.

Handmade Kringleberry soap.

I used sparkly micas for this one, and learned a valuable lesson about those.  I think next time I would have mixed the sparkly crimson with a little bit of red to make it more vivid.  Also, the lighter color has some iridescent white sparkle mica, but I think next time I'd add some titanium dioxide for a more dramatic color effect.

Kringleberry soap.  I love the sparkles!