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Aromatics for home made soap
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tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 43966
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 11:28 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Thanks sally

sally_in_wales
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Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
Getting back to the original question do the herbs have to be processed in any way before adding to the soap?


I usually just use dried herbs, thats it. Fresh herbs discolour faster, which can be useful if you want dark brown soap, but dried herbs stay 'speckly' which can look quite nice.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Depends what you want out of using the aromatics.

There's something to be said for warming the herb or spice through gently in the oil to extract a scent, but as often as not you're as well off using a dried herb or an essence oil.

I throw some things in nearly whole, things like mint, sorrel, and allspice I tend to put in more or less intact. Lemon balm is next on my list for experimenting with (last years batch was a disappointment).

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

cab wrote:
Depends what you want out of using the aromatics.


A nice smell that lasts for the whole bar, rather than disappearing into the ether after a week or so. I'm less concerned about the visual aspect.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Then go for soaking in oil to get the scents out, if you want the smell to really linger, and consider using a blend of essential oils.

sally_in_wales
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A potential drawback with soaking in oil- either you end up adding it to the soap at trace (once the soap has started to form) which can leave you with too much oil in the finished soap making it very soft, or, if you infuse into the whole oil batch then make soap, the reaction and the very high temperatures reached during the gel stage can wipe out the smell. It can work, but in my experience it usually all vanishes.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sally_in_wales wrote:
A potential drawback with soaking in oil- either you end up adding it to the soap at trace (once the soap has started to form) which can leave you with too much oil in the finished soap making it very soft, or, if you infuse into the whole oil batch then make soap, the reaction and the very high temperatures reached during the gel stage can wipe out the smell. It can work, but in my experience it usually all vanishes.


Depends on how much you add and how superfatted you go. I normally superfat by 5% or so, and I rely on the scented oils to do most of that. You can lose a lot of smell if you put scented oils in earlier, so either use LOTS of herb or use an essential oil later on.

What do you rekon would be my best bet with lemon balm?

sally_in_wales
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I've only ever used lemon balm fresh and got an almost black soap even when rebatching with well cured soap. Should be less tempermental dry I would hope. I might be tempted to add it to a honey soap, play on the bee-balm association perhaps? Certainly the scent should be complementary

alison
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Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12908
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Who else makes soap.

What flavours do you make.

I am going to do a basic tallow one next.

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10743

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

alison wrote:
I am going to do a basic tallow one next.


Is this the one with fat from your own animals? I really like that idea!

Haven't made any yet, am still scared of the caustic soda etc. My mum tells me it perforates your skin

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Caustic soda is genuinely nasty, you're right to be cautious, but it doesn't 'perforate' the skin as such. It more saponifies it, i.e. it does the same job on the fat in your skin as it does to the fat in the bowl you're trying to mix it with, i.e. it turns it to soap. Not pleasant, terribly drying, and when concentrated extremely nasty. That's why you don't want to get any on your skin, so you should wear marigolds and some good safety specs!

alison
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Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yes it will be. They were killed two weeks ago and we start butchering the first on Monday.

cab



Joined: 01 Nov 2004
Posts: 32429

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 05 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sally_in_wales wrote:
I've only ever used lemon balm fresh and got an almost black soap even when rebatching with well cured soap. Should be less tempermental dry I would hope. I might be tempted to add it to a honey soap, play on the bee-balm association perhaps? Certainly the scent should be complementary


My lemon balm soap was also pretty grotty looking, and I didn't get enough scent out of it from soaking it in oil to make that worthwhile either.

I've got all this flaming lemon balm weeding about the garden, and all I use it for is a gallon of wine a year! Wish I'd never planted it

sally_in_wales
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Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 05 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oh but the bees love it so much! Reputed to be the favourite herb tea of Owain Glyndwr as well if you like those little historical woissnames

ButteryHOLsomeness



Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Posts: 770

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 05 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
I haven't even got that far yet


pssssst neither have i, but i do have 2 books on soapmaking (and a few on papermaking, something else i haven't done yet )

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