Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled and nagged and refused to go away should never be ignored. For in them lie the seeds of destiny.
|Photo of Chicago after the fire from: hrsdc.gc.ca|
The idea of Catherine O'Leary's Cow Soap refused to go away. I know the best way to get one of those nagging ideas out of my brain is to just go do it. I made it with the Olive Oil, Coconut, and Lard recipe from The Everything Soap Book. I added 2 spoonfuls of lanolin in honor of the knitters who may use it. I also added half a cup of ground oats. Do cows eat oats? It is scented with a fragance oil named: Grass Stain. That seemed appropriate. I was originally planning a rosemary-lavendar-lemongrass combo but I must have used up all the lemon grass and rosemary last season.
|Photo from: mamalisa.com|
The trick with making milk soaps is to use frozen slushy milk. Otherwise, the lye heats it up to much and it curdles. You add the lye a spoonful at a time so that the milk heats and tempers slowly. I know this and yet for some reason today, I dumped the lye in. As I stirred, a bright yellow spiral appeared in the lye bowl. I stirred faster. It darkened to orange and then a caramel brown. I stirred more. The whole bowl turned orange and there appeared to be little white flecks of cottage cheese floating in it. Crap.
I should have taken a picture, but at the time I thought I needed to work fast. I could have started over with a new lye solution. But, I'm inpatient and I did not want to wait for more milk to freeze; so I dumped it into the oil pot and blasted it with the stick blender. The blender obliterated and incorporated the curdled milk solids. It traced fine and I dumped it into the wood mold. I put a piece of wax paper over it and insulated with 2 dish towels. 40 min later it hit gel stage, and I took the towels off and put it on a rack for it to cool.
I cut it tonight and oil leaked out. There are little caverns inside the bar. It overheated in the mold. I guess I did not catch it soon enough after the gel phase. I tasted it to make sure it was not lye solution and there was no sting. It was oil. Milk soap is prone to this but is stinks.
I considered melting it down and starting over. I decided instead to cure it. I will chop it up and use it in a cobblestone batch down the road.
|Image from: semichaotic.spreadshirt.com|