Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Soap that Took More Than a Year to Make- Rose Clay and Silk Goat's Milk Soap

When my husband told me that we were moving to North Carolina (again, we've lived here before and I LOVE it!), I was ecstatic.  One of my first questions was, "Can I get a goat?!"

He looked at me like I had grown another head.

HOWEVER, when he came out to look at houses and I stayed behind in Alabama with the kids, he asked the realtor if we could have goats on the property.  She said, "yes"… and so it began.

    As soon as we moved, the hunt was on.  I researched breeds and I looked at all kinds of breeders.  Eventually, I knew that I wanted a Nigerian Dwarf.  Great for milking, super sweet, not huge… perfect.  Goats are herd animals and can't be kept alone.  I brought home two adorable little doelings, sisters, and we named them Bebe and Midge.

     A month or so later, I brought home a buck, and the kids named him "Captain Jack Sparrow".  We were set.  They bottle fed, weaned, got huge, and eventually the girls and Captain Jack had some babies of their own…
Bebe (Mama) and Mimi (doeling)

Midge (Mama) and Jake (buckling)
    There are so many fantastic things about goats, I can't even begin to tell you.  I'm addicted now.  And one of the best things… I now had FRESH goat's milks for my soaps!  More than a year of raising, loving, cleaning, worrying (first time breeding goats ever and I was a wreck), and learning how to milk.

     I don't think I've ever been so nervous to make a soap in all my life!

    So I froze the milk, added a pinch of silk… and got down to it.
Adding the lye to the frozen goat's milk & Tussah silk
   I added the lye to the frozen goat's milk, a bit at a time.  Stirring well in between each small addition.  I did NOT want to burn this.  Trust me, once you've milked a goat by hand, you have a whole new-found respect for milk and taking the time to "do it right" is easy.  The thought of scorching the batch made my toes curl and hair stand up on end in a horrible way.  Lol!

     I soaped cool, with the oils at room temperature.  Milk soaps are notorious for overheating.
Adding the goat's milk lye solution to the room temp oils

     Stick blended to light trace, separated a small portion for the textured top, and then added in my rose clay and fragrance to the main batter.
     The fragrance I added is one of my own making.  It's a blend of a few different florals.  I wanted soft, floral, feminine… but not "granny".  However, I knew this floral blend would move fast, so I didn't add it until AFTER I had the rose clay completely mixed in and uniform.  After that, I added the fragrance, zapped it with a stick blender really quick and poured like a supersonic ninja.
If I don't spill SOME batter when I pour… something is wrong.  I always make a mess. ;)
     After pouring, I whapped it on the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles, and then colored the separate portion (the portion I'd set aside for the top) with titanium dioxide for a nice, creamy white.

     Then it was time to get the roses ready.  I suppose I could have done this prior to doing ANYTHING, but I guess I just got excited about making soap.  So I popped the mold into the fridge while I prepped the roses.  

     The roses are organic sun-dried roses that my daughter and I picked together and laid out in the sun to dry for a few days.  I wanted the nicely formed, tight rosebuds, so I went digging through my rosebud basket and selected the ones I thought "fit".  After picking them, I took the backs off.  I didn't want ANY green, just bud petals.  So pinched the green back and the bud, wiggled and gently pulled them apart.
Freshly-cut buds, prior to drying.
Separating bottoms from buds.
  Now the white batter for the top had thickened up enough to be properly "plopped".  (Scientific term for the textured top, I guess.  I call it the "Spoon Plop Top", but that's hard to say.)  ;)

Correct texture.  Holding a shape, but still fluid.  Not stiff peaked, but medium.
    To do the "Spoon Plop Top", all you need is a spoon, batter, and a sense of "it doesn't have to be perfect".  If you're going for perfect plop tops, you'll stress yourself out and actually make it look bad.  

    Plop the batter smack down the middle, and then go over the top, plopping in-between the bottom "plops".
Start spooning down the middle.
Line of "plops" down the middle.
Second layer of "plops" in between bottom "plops".
Now it's time to add the roses!  I wanted two per bar, paired up in the middle.  I tried my best to match the size of the buds to each other, but I also didn't want to get too picky about it.  Sometimes, you just have to let the imperfections be beautiful on their own.  
   And THAT'S probably the longest it's ever taken me to make a soap.  From the beginnings of the first ingredients to the final placement of the last dried rosebud…. more than a year.  

     And I can't believe I have to wait to cut it.  *groans*  No worries, I'll post updated pics and I also made a video for this one.  ;)