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11/14/15

Making soap with homemade woodash lye







Soap is made with three things- water, lard and lye. Lard can be anything plant or animal fat. Soaking ashes in water makes lye, which you can mix with lard then boil to produce homemade soap.  Salt makes your soap harden. 
Woodash lye produces a softer soap than commercial lye does. It is also more "organic" than regular commercial lye and can be found in abundance, considering you enjoy a nice cozy fire, or heat your home with wood. 
The best fat to use for homemade wood ash soap is tallow, which is beef or pig fat. Any other products will make your soap much softer. You should always use gloves and eyewear when handling any type of lye!

There are two methods to making wood ash lye soap.
cold process
 cooked process.

The cold process-
When the right amount of ingredients are put together and mixed for long periods of time (Time depends on fat used) poured into a mold and dried.

The cooked process-
Cooking the ingredients together, pouring into a mold and drying. The cooked process also works great for melting old soap pieces back together to create new bars of soap.

You can add things into your soaps such as oatmeal, essential oils, honey or even herbs. Using oils such as olive or coconut oil can produce softer soaps as well. If using oils, tallow will allow your soaps to take on a harder consistency.

To make soap-
 18.2 ounces of wood ash lye
2 1/2 pints of water (rainwater is best!)
6 pounds of tallow

I am unsure of how many molds this will make, I guess it depends on the size mold you are using, but the recipie says ten bars. 

To make this-
Slowly pour the water over into the lye. Melt the tallow, allow it cool for about ten minutes and pour over into the lye water. At this time you can add your essential oils or olive or coconut oil. Stir until it becomes thick. If you are using an oil such as coconut you will need to stir this a longer period of time for it to thicken up. If you want your soap to float in water, you can add a teaspoon of baking soda. 
It should be about the consistency of melted chocolate. You will want to let this rest awhile, so set it aside  while you prep your molds. Use plastic wrap to line your molds with before you pour your soap over into them. I have not made soap thus yet, but I assume the plastic wrap helps the soap to smoothly come out of the molds once dried. Once y our soap is poured, cover with a towel and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Some people like to cut their soap when it has not reached being fully dried, as it makes it easier to cut. Some like to wait for the drying process to finish, This seems to be all about preference.
If you want to cure your soap, then let it dry 4 to 6 weeks uncovered in an airy spot. Uncured soap can give skin burns,so you can never let it cure for to long. 

For a single bar of soap-
3 heaping tablespoons of lye
1/2 cup water