Monday, July 22, 2013
Saponification Sunday...The Super Secret Soapmakers Club
Over the years I have been to more than my share of family picnics, church pot-lucks and grief buffets. Those tables are often filled with the same old green bean casseroles and Italian Beef filled crock pots but on occasion an apple creme pie or a Napa Cabbage Coleslaw will elicit the highest of compliments.
The asking and receiving of The Recipe.
Cooks like to be recognized and they like to share their successes most of the time. Woman will gather up all their snicker and doodle recipes, bind them up tight, plop a generic cover on top and even SELL these recipes for homeless shelter funds of other charities.
Food recipes are in fact gifted without even being asked for. A neighbor drops off a tuna noodle concoction to help you bear the sadness of the garbage man running over your prize rose bush...again and tuck the not so coveted recipe right into the overcooked crusty noodle corner.
But soap makers? Not so much.
Yes, the ingredients are listed on our labels and if asked we may release the percentages of the oils we used, which is kinda the same thing if you don't mind doing the reverse math on a lye calculator, but to actually give away the recipe is rare.
I stumbled onto that fact the hard way. When I first started making soap I asked for such info and was told "I don't just give out my recipes to anyone" and more vaguely "Oh I'm sure you'll be creating your on recipes soon."
I did find lots of recipes on blogs and websites that SOLD those products which makes sense, since you have to know how much Babassu Oil you are going to need before you start making your Hippie Hemp Bars, but very few on other soapers blogs.
I understand that there is a pride factor and a "It took me a long time to perfect this recipe, do you think I'm just going to give it away?!? But there are so many other secrets, so many other techniques we have developed that will still make our soap unique no matter how many might use the same amount of Rice Bran Oil.
Techniques like trace thickness, gelling or not gelling, length of cure, timing of fragrance and essential oil additions, our mold types (wood, plastic, cardboard, Aunt Betty's old denture box), the list goes on and on.
So I would like to suggest that we break out of this oh so secretive world and start sharing a few more recipes. Sure, someone might rip us off and make a soap similar to ours but it will never be exactly the same and folks who use others recipes for their own selfish benefit are often the same folks who cheat in other areas like using Crisco instead of pure coconut oil or Hawaiian Blue Crayolas instead of Indigo Powder, or lab colors that meet cosmetic standards.
I'll go first and maybe a few of you could share one of your very favorite recipes. Remember too, like with photos and articles it would be great if when we make soap using another soapers recipe we could give them credit on our label.
We'll all come out smelling like roses if we did that!
The Midlife Farmwifes Very Favorite "Basic 13" recipe
13 oz of Coconut Oil (Extra Virgin, Certified Organic)
13 oz of Olive Oil (Pomace)
3 oz Sweet Amond Oil (refined, cosmetic grade)
3 ox Castor oil
Lye 4.5 oz
Filtered H2O 10 oz