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Many remove the glycerin as it is a valuable ingredient in many products. According to the Ransdall Corporation (http://www.ransdalcorp.com/Uses_of_Glycerin.html) glycerin can be used in or as a/an: Antifreeze / De-Icer, Refrigerant, Solvent for “anti-knock” engine treatments, Used in wood conditioning, Plasticizing wood, As a plasticizer/humectant in paper manufacturing, Bodying agent in paper, Sheet formed cigar tobacco is plasticized with Glycerine, Adds flavor to chewing and pipe tobaccos, Used in ink and printing, especially in the alkyd resins
Used in glazing in ceramics, Solvent and suspending agent, Machine lubrication, Clock mechanism lubricant, Ball bearing lubricant, Used as a lubricant/plasticizer in rubber production, Urethane polymers… fundamental component in polyethers for urethane foams, Textiles… conditioning and softening, Rubber tubing softener and preservative, Leather tanning, Leather cleaners, De-dust (humectant) for the coal industry, Used in insecticides and tree (disease) protection, Polishers, glass cleaners and tire/rubber cleaners, Dial suspension in compasses, dials and technical gauges, Cements (glycerin litharge), Glues, adhesives and pastes.
Our soap contains glycerin - the natural byproduct from saponification - the chemical process that occurs when fats are mixed with a strong base. We choose fats that make a hard bar and provides rich lather and the strong base is food-grade lye. Our soap has additional fats that come from the cream in goat milk, soap, and glycerin. The goat milk contains lots of vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients that support clean, soft skin. This we learned from our research, and using our own soap. We seldom use lotion - we find that we do not need lotion as long as we use our own soap.
How I make soap...
Simple reaction: Fats + Lye (dispersed in goat's milk) = Soap + Glycerin
I make soap in large batches (5 lbs to be exact). My base recipe consists of lard, coconut oil, goat milk and lye. As with all soap recipes, I run it through a "lye calculator". There are several available online. This assures me that I am using the right amount of lye to ensure that all of it is used during saponification (more about that later). Too much lye results in a bar of soap that can burn your skin and too little results in a soft bar that has too much oil. I choose lard because it produces a nice hard bar, coconut oil because it results in a rich lather, and goat's milk because of it's rich nutritional value and cream. (Not to mention, keeping goats is not cheap. We learned quickly that our goats needed to support themselves -- which is why I make soap in the first place...) My recipe is formulated so that the bars have the following qualities:
I add essential oils and natural colorants which add to the beauty of the bar. Many additives also provide additional benefits. For example, oatmeal is an exfoliant, rose hips add vitamins, peppermint is an aroma therapy and adds anti viral properties.
Oils- We've worked hard to make sure that we have lard on hand. We only raise 4 pigs each year, and now that I'm selling a lot of soap, we need more than we can produce ourselves. Friends of ours have their animals processed at Bryan's Meat Market in East Smithfield, PA. My loving husband gave them a call and found that they were more than happy to save all the leaf lard we want. Since it takes about 2 1/2 quarts per batch of soap, we're making regular trips to Bryan's!
Goat's Milk - I use the maximum liquid prescribed by the lye calculator. In 'regular' soap making, lye is diluted in water before adding it to the oils. In goat's milk soap, water is replaced with milk. When lye is added to any liquid, the chemical reaction causes a significant amount of heat. I freeze my goat's milk in ice cube trays in advance so that when the lye is added, the goat's milk does not burn (it turns brown if it gets too hot). I use a large plastic measuring pitcher to mix the lye and frozen milk. Lye is added very slowly. To fast and it will clump and fail to dissolve properly. Gloves and goggles must be worn. Long sleeves are recommended! If it splashes on your skin, it can burn. I know, I've done it.
More about Saponification -
Saponification is the primary chemical reaction of soap making. It is a chemical reaction that occurs when fats or oils (fatty acids) come into contact with lye (a very strong base.) Saponification literally means "turning into soap". The by-products of the saponification reaction are glycerin and soap. Oils and fats each have what is called a saponification value, which is the amount of lye needed to completely neutralize them into soap with no lye left over. Each oil has a different value, which is why its important to always run your recipes through a lye calculator. Saponification generally takes 24-48 hours to complete once the lye and oils have been mixed and the raw soap has been poured into a mold. This process can be sped up by adding more heat, or slowed down by keeping the process very cool. With goat's milk soap, this is a balancing act. Too much heat causes the milk to burn and the soap to turn dark and become odorous. Certain additives (honey for example) cause even more heat to be generated. If the center of the bar heats more than the outside, the color inside will be darker than the outside. The bars work exactly the same as those with consistent color, just not as pretty.
About Soap Making...
Basic bar soap is made by combining fat and lye. All soap makers must choose which fats to use based on the properties they offer to soap. I choose to begin with lard because it is readily available, offers hardness to the bars and offers a stable and rich lather.
Lard is a very important component of our soap. It produces a hard bar that makes a stable lather. It is a readily available source of fat that becomes soap and glycerin during the process. We prefer to use our own farm raised lard, but when we run out, we obtain it from local butcher shops who process locally grown animals. Lard comes from pig fat. The best lard for soap making is leaf lard which surrounds organs in the abdominal cavity. Most local producers choose not to use their lard and therefore leave it for the butcher to discard. Lucky for us!