Sunday, January 16, 2011

Updates on the soap base experiment

I am so proud of the recipe I made up for the soap base to rebatch that I couldn't resist from taking some pictures to show you how it turned out. Probably from only these stupid pictures you can't see how compact and beautiful this soap looks, but believe me it is a pleasure to look at (at least for a soapmaker!), and it bubbles like crazy! The only thing is, it still smells like cheese, but I'm sure the smell will fade away with curing.

So, here it is... (I placed it on a white cloth so that you can see the actual colour it got after gelling)

I am so happy about not only because I made up the recipe myself, but especially because it is made mainly of olive oil and butter (cow's milk butter), which are very cheap and easy to find ingredients around here.

So, if anyone of you want to try it, here's the recipe of my lovely buttermilk soap. Well, before giving you the recipe I have to stress the fact that I did a different calculation at the beginning, but then I realized I didn't have enough butter, but I had already mixed my lye to the water so I had to re-calculate the fats in order to obtain the same lye amount and discount. So the percentages are a bit crazy, and if you ever decide to try it I suggest you use slightly different percentages to make them easier to calculate... but, of course, in any case I can't guarantee any result!

Other thing you have to be very careful about is the butter amount. I know in some countries it is quite difficult to get pure cow's milk butter. What is sold as "butter" is in fact a blend of animal and vegetable fats. In that case, I recommend you not to use it on your soaps, because the SAP calculation would be too difficult, and generally you have no way to know the percentage of each fat in the butter. But if you can actually get a 100% cow's milk butter, then it gets easier. The only thing you have to take into consideration is the percentage of butterfat in it. As an example, I use a 82% butterfat butter, meaning that in each 100g of butter there are 82g of butterfat and 20g of water. I round that 82 to 80, and when I put the recipe through a lye calculator, I am careful to only input the actual amount of butterfat in the butter, and to calculate the remaining water as part of the liquid in my soap. So, as an example, if I want to have 100g of butterfat in my soap, I would add 125g of butter (if my butter is 80% butterfat), and when calculating the water or liquid amount, I would take away the 25g of water in the it, so say I have to add 100g of water, I would only add 75g, because there are already 25g in the butter. 
I hope this is clear.....

Anyway, here's the recipe:

A Cow's Treat (a.k.a. Burrone --> this is its Italian name)

71% olive oil          710g
14% butterfat        (172g of butter, of which 136g butterfat and 36g water)
10% coconut oil    100g
5% castor oil         50g

lye (discount 3%)

at trace I added about 90g of fresh cream, and if you want to use it straight away without rebatching I suggest you add some deodorizing EOs like lemon, eucalyptus or mint.
As I said, don't worry if it smells like cheese for the first few days (or maybe even weeks), I've tried soap with butterfat before and, especially if you make it HP, after a few weeks of cure the smell fades away.

I am now sorry I didn't put any EOs in it, because it would have made a wonderful soap in itself, without need for rebatching. Anyway, I will be rebatching soon, and posting the results in here, I'm curious to see if it will maintain this consistency even after the rebatching process.


  1. I was wondering if you could translate this recipe into ounces. I would love to try it. I make my own butter from our raw cows milk so I have lots. Wondering if I can repost your recipes on my blog if I give the credit to you. Thanks Rebekah

  2. Hi there,

    you can use the percentages in ounces, I mean transfer the percentages into ounces, like using 70% of olive oil, 15% or butterfat and so on, but measuring in ounces. Sorry, I'm only good at the metric system. :(
    As for reposting the recipe, of course you can, as long as you give me credit for it.

    Thanks for passing by and let me know the results of your experiments!!


  3. I found a conversion chart and will be trying this soap real soon. Thanks Rebekah

  4. Thanks One more question as I'm not good with percentages any idea how much lye you put in. I mean like in grams I can convert.

  5. Got the lye figured out. Going to try today I will let you know how it turns out.


Please share your thoughts or comments here, or just leave a sign of your presence here. Thank you!