Handmade Eucalyptus Goats Milk Soap

Last summer I fell in love with making soap.  Specifically cold process soap making. It’s therapeutic, it’s creative, and I have a lot of fun with it.  It teaches a lesson in patience because once you have made a batch, un-molded it and cut it, it has to cure for 6 weeks.

During this cure time the lye converts the fatty acid bonds in the oils and fats and through this process of saponification the lye is consumed and no longer remains.  This process is generally complete after 24-48 hours and the soap is safe to use.  However, by letting it cure for a few more weeks, the bars harden as moisture evaporates and allows the bars to last longer when they are used.

When I made my first batch of soap it was with the intent to eventually make Goats Milk Soap.  I wanted to see if I could even make soap before I set my sights on milking our goats when the time came. My first batch was a traditional castile soap and it came out great!  I originally planned on making enough soap for our family of 3, but then friends started asking if they could buy it and one thing led to another and now I am regularly making large batches.  The response has been so amazing- people {including myself} have told me that since switching to my soap their Keratosis Pilaris {bumpy skin on your arms} has gone away, chronic dry skin is gone, and that it works better than their regular shaving cream.  I personally love it and can’t imagine switching back!

I have been asked often how is this different, or why is this better than soap you can get at the store {‘soaps’ such as Ivory, Zest, Irish Spring etc}.  Here’s the difference: those store bought soaps aren’t actually soap!  A better name would be a “detergent bar”. That goes for body washes and liquids as well- they should be called a detergent wash. They are most often made with many chemicals and detergents that do get you clean but have been shown to be endocrine disrupters and the cause of many skin issues among other things.  Homemade soap made with oils, animal fats and lye is traditional and the true definition of soap.

So getting back to goats milk soap.  Raw goats milk is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fats and alpha hydroxy acids that are all great for keeping your skin soft, moisturized and clear.  Our does won’t be bred until spring, and their gestation is 5 months long.  Then the babies need mamas milk for the first 8 weeks of life.  So realistically I won’t be milking any goat for about 8 more months. I had planned to wait for our own farm fresh milk, but then I came across a local goat farmer selling raw goats milk by the gallon and thought “I’m getting some!!” Until now I’ve been making my soap with water and/or coconut milk as the liquid base.  So I’m very excited to try out these goat milk bars!

If you are interested in making your own soap you can find lye calculators online such as this one. Since lye is very caustic and causes chemical reactions, please do some research about proper technique and safety. Or if you prefer to skip the chemistry and buy soap ready to go, may I suggest this Etsy page. 🙂  I prefer rustic, chunky, simple bars.  I only scent with essential oils and use natural colorants- no chemical dyes or fragrances and a short list of ingredients!  It’s just my preference.

With my newly acquired raw goats milk, I made two batches of soap this past week: Eucalyptus and Lavender.  Here are some details on the process of the Eucalyptus batch:

img_4844

Frozen, raw goat milk

Here is my goats milk, in frozen form.  When making any kind of milk soap- it should really start out frozen.  When you mix it with the lye it will get hot!  When milk gets hot, it scorches and turns orange or brown.  It won’t ruin your soap- but I prefer it to stay as light as possible.  So you weigh out your milk, in this case I needed 32.7 oz.  I placed this bowl, inside of another bowl filled with ice to keep it cool. Then I sprinkled the lye granules over the milk and immediately it begins to melt.  Stirring constantly until everything is melted and mixed.  Allow to cool while you get your oils ready.

Once you have your oils weighed out, and precision is key in soap making- you must use a food scale to weigh out your ingredients, you are ready to combine your lye solution and oil mix.  Oils and fats must be in liquid form, coconut oil or other solid-at-room-temp oils must be melted. In a large bucket, add your lye solution to the oil {not the other way around- splash danger zone} and mix.  I like to use a stick blender to speed up the process, but you can also use a regular whisk.  At some point the soap will begin to thicken and you reach what is known as ‘trace‘. Trace is when the soap has thickened to the point of when you drizzle it back onto the surface of the mix, it holds its shape and doesn’t immediately sink back down like a thin liquid would. When you hit trace, this is when you would add in any additives such as essential oils or powders.

For example, I was making Eucalyptus soap.  I had some dried eucalyptus leaves from our pasture that I wanted to add.  If I ever have an ingredient from our farm that I can add I will always do so.  I’ve used our pork lard as a fat source, garden beets and carrots for vitamins and color, herbs and now eucalyptus leaves. To incorporate the leaves I ground them up in my coffee/spice grinder to get a fine powder.

img_4845

After grinding, the leaves left behind a lot of the veins and fibrous material that I didn’t want going into the soap. So a little sifting through a mesh colander did the trick.

img_4847

Leaf veins, fibrous material and large pieces get sifted out, while the fine powder gets put into the soap.

img_4848

Powdered eucalyptus!

Once I hit trace with my soap, I added eucalyptus essential oil and my powered eucalyptus leaves.  The powder will add a touch of color and texture to make this bar unique.  Mix well and get into your mold before your soap is too thick to pour!

There are many types of molds you can use- silicon, wood, things from around your house. I made some molds out of foam board and duct tape for cheap and they work great!  I just line them with parchment paper to reuse them and make unmolding them easy.

img_4873

Soap loaves- lavender on the left, Eucalyptus on the right.

Once in the mold, you can have some fun with the tops you like.  After 24 hours I un-mold and cut into 22 bars.  Can you see the little dots in the eucalyptus bar?  That’s the powered eucalyptus from our pasture that I added at trace!

fullsizerender

The bars curing.  They need good airflow for moisture evaporation.

I recently made a little ‘Flicker Farm Pocket Shop’ in our house, in an out of the way niche for curing and storing my soaps and things I sell on Etsy.  It also makes a nice spot for family and friends to come see what’s available- in fact I had my first Pocket Shop customer just this morning!

img_4928

Flicker Farm ‘Pocket Shop’

It’s nothing fancy, but I think it’s cute and now it’s more organized and functional that it was before.  So here are the ingredients used for my Eucalyptus Goat Milk Soap:


Eucalyptus Goat Milk Soap

-32.7 oz raw goats milk

-14.6 oz lye

-66 oz olive oil

-33 oz organic coconut oil

**Notes:

-This recipe will make 22 big bars.

-Goats milk can be substituted 1:1 with water if you like- but you will miss out on the amazing benefits of goat milk.

-I prefer light pure olive oil.  It has less scent and color than Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I love EVOO for cooking and eating, but not for soap.  Olive oil also has very low pesticides, so I generally just buy regular light olive oil vs. organic olive oil for soap making. I do not use Pomace Olive oil- it is cheap but it is chemically extracted after pressing for EVOO.

-I do buy organic, virgin coconut oil vs. refined coconut oil to retain as much of the ‘nutrition’ as possible.

So there you have it! Just in time for Valentine’s Day these goats milk bars will be ready for use.  Happy soaping and let me know how your first batch goes if you decide to try it out!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Handmade Eucalyptus Goats Milk Soap

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s