I am very pleased with how the attempt to make Strawberry Soap has turned out. I’m more comfortable with the cold process and from this most recent attempt, I also learned about ‘gel’ phase. ‘Gel,’ as I understand it is when you let the brick of soap stay hot and cook itself from within over many hours. Actually, what I’ve learned from barbecuing over the years gives me perspective on this. Its like how you want to cook the outer layer to form a shell and let the heat build pressure to cook the inside with its own juices.
More info on gel phase in cold process and cold process oven process soaps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHD7aC4t75w
The other option, other than ‘gel’ing your soap is to wrap it in cellophane and put it in the fridge so that it immediately starts to cool. Neither way is wrong or right; its a matter of preference and each has its merits. Gel is supposed to give a more vibrant color and keep the scent longer. If you scroll down through a few past entries and see the giant gash that opened up in my cold process oatmeal soap, this was the start of a gel phase that I quickly threw into the fridge. Now that I understand the gel phase a little more, I grasp that the gash in my oatmeal soap was nothing to fear. The darker brown color would have probably spread and engulfed the entire brick. Then it would have very slowly cooled over many hours while I kept it sealed and wrapped inside a towel.
I am going to experiment more with gel’ing my soap after pouring into the mold and simply throwing it in the fridge. Not sure which I like best yet. I’ve put two pictures of the strawberry soap. You can see that one is a nice, smooth bar with no blemishes. The less-asthetic picture shows the top of the soap which is only a little ugly, caused by the ‘gel’ phase. Had I placed it in the fridge, this top would probably have come out smooth.
Anyhow, here’s the recipe I followed:
Recipe for 4-5 pound brick
Shea butter- 2 ounces
Olive Oil- 10 ounces
Coconut oil- 15 ounces
Palm Oil- 13 ounces
Avocado Oil- 5 ounces
Sweet Almond Oil- 3 ounces
Lye 7.03 ounces (5% superfat)
Distilled water- 17.5 ounces
Strawberry fragrance oil (I used strawberry patch, purchased from Nature’s Garden) 6 tablespoons.
Pink Caolin clay- 2-3 tablespoons.
At light trace, pour about 2 cups of soap mixture into the cup containing kaolin clay. Mix it well to fully incorporate. Once incorporated, pour this concoction back into the main batch and bring it towards heavy trace. Add fragrance oils. Pour into mold.