Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saponification Sunday...The Gift Of Colostrum

Stunning Swirls by Catherine

Making soap is great. Being gifted other peoples soap...even better.

Last week I was gifted some beautiful soap made by Catherine Gravert of Spring Valley Farm in Fulton Illinois. Made not just with raw cows milk but with the colostrum or "first milk" of the cow which is available only immediately after a cow calves.

Colostrum is so rich and full of vitamins and fat, the perfect food for new babies and the ultimate ingredient in making soap. The end product gives you a soap that is ideal for any skin but especially helpful for dryer skin. Even though I was warned that the bar was very fresh and not fully cured, I cut into anyway as soon as I got home.

Colostrum Soap created by Catherine Gravert
of Spring Valley Farm, Fulton, Illinois

You know how I am about following rules...

As I imagined, even it its not completely cured state, Catherine's soap lathered fantastically and left my skin soft and supple. I can hardly imagine it can get any better as it cures! I left most of the bar on my kitchen windowsill and each week will test another portion. What a treat.

Her design was as wonderful as the quality of her soap. Made with honey as well she made stunning swirls in her soap, not just top but throughout her bar which then was made even more stunning by using a wave cutter. Her soap was the kind you really hate to use because it makes such an artistic statement. But to fully appreciate quality soap you must USE it.

Banner I made from leftover burlap. old buttons, vintage Hymnal Sheet Music
with letters printed on my pc. Slathered with Mod Podge
All good Hippies own bottles of Modge Podge,

Milk soap is not easy to make. It takes time, patience, skill and to be it's very best should be made with real fluid raw milk not powdered milk. Just my opinion. The milk is best used in its partially frozen state to prevent burning of the milk by the lye which will cause it to turn orange and give it a harsher smell.

I soap with frozen milk broken into chunks and placed  into a pitcher which sits in a deep ice bath. I then add the lye crystals very slowly stirring constantly. The process takes me at least 20 minutes for a 2 pound soap batch. I am not yet talented enough to make large batches of milk soap. Would love to hear how other milk soapers keep big batches cold enough when adding large amounts of lye.

Soap made by Catherine Gravert of Spring Valley Farm

To buy some of Catherine's soap yourself  (along with some of their other yummy fresh from the farm products) just go to their Farm Web Site for contact info.


  1. Thank God - With a name like that, I thought you had started making soap from medical procedures for a minute. Worse than Silvio Berlesconi's prize bars. Carry on.

  2. Give me time Tom. Just give me time....

  3. In parts of the UK they make a pie from Colostrum... I think it's called 'Beastings Pie', but I've never eaten it.

  4. Always having to one up me aren't you Cro? But then again I saw a new Irish firm selling ground up peat as facial masques selling for huge prices. "Weird" stuff is universal I guess.

  5. Looks good enough to eat which I know would be highly inadvisable, but it clearly works for you - does it have a shelf life - sorry for the silly question

  6. That bar is awesome! Love the swirls - I think I will try that today with some beer soap I am making (I love making beer soap).

    So I make my milk soap in small 5 lb batches and do it the same way you do - chunks of frozen goat's milk and adding lye crystals little by little. Sometimes the chunks are too small and I need to keep it in a ice bath, too.

    Milk is soooo tricky. Too fast adding the lye and it curdles to a nasty mess. Too slow and it doesn't get up to a good temp.

    Tedious. But fun. Have you tried coconut milk? The sugar content is really high so after you pour it in the mold, put it in the fridge, b/c it heats up like the dickens!