This soap is very different from ordinary soap, and even more expensive than boutique soaps: it’s so smooth and delicate, made from just four ingredients – oh, and it lasts for a very long time!
100% cow’s milk butter soap is just wonderful: it doesn’t dry out your skin (unlike glycerin soap which sucks all the moisture out of your skin). I even use it on my face sometimes, and I’m very fond of my face, you know
It smells wonderful – you can even keep this soap in your closet among your bed linen so that it smells wonderful too!
A soap to make with your family
The recipe is really simple and the process is a lot of fun – so it’s a perfect activity to do with your kids.
I know my blog is all about having an active lifestyle with your stroller and stuff, but well, you still need to wash yourself after your sweaty Strollnetics and Strollerblading endeavors. So soap is relevant!
As it happened, we planned a little trip to the countryside for Valentine’s Day. I love travelling and as Latvia is rated one of the greenest and most beautiful countries in the world, why not stay close to home? In fact, in fall and winter, rural Latvia reminds me more of 50 Shades of Grey – if only for the colors
Nevertheless, we found the perfect destination for Valentine’s Day – a tiny soap making factory in a little town in the center of Latvia. We decided we’d make Valentine’s Soap under the supervision of the one and only soap master in Latvia, Andris Romanovskis
Here are my step-by step soap-making instructions:
How to make cow’s milk butter soap
A real 100% Organic Butter Soap is made with just 4 ingredients: melted butter, coconut butter and an alkali. For the fragrance and color, just use an essential oil and a colorant.
What you need: melted cow’s milk butter, cocoa butter, an alkali, an essential oil, a colorant (optional). The soap is made in a steam bath. Just take a casserole dish, fill it with boiling water, place a smaller casserole dish inside it and cook the soap in that.
The recipe depends on the amount of soap you’re making. But the most important thing is the butter/alkali ratio: 1/2 melted cow’s milk butter, 1/4 cocoa butter, 1/4 canoa oil and an alkali solution.
Melted cow milk butter: take around 2 lb of butter and start heating it in the casserole dish.
Cocoa butter. Take 1/4 of cocoa butter, 1/4 canola oil (we used 8 oz of each) and add it to the melting cow’s milk butter.
Alkali solution: Dissolve around 10 oz alkali powder in water. Be careful, as alkali is a chemical that is harmful to skin and eyes. Put on rubber gloves and a simple fabric mouth mask (or use a scarf). Use a thick plastic or glass jar.
Important: the alkali powder has to be poured INTO the water and NOT vice versa, as it might cause an explosion. After adding the water, you will notice the alkali solution becoming hot.
Colorant – this is the perfect moment to add the colorant. We used one teaspoon of light green to create the perfect color for our mint butter soap.
Mixing the soap:
When the alkali is added to the butters, start mixing everything with an electric beater. I was told to draw a figure eight in the casserole dish.
Soon after this the soap started to act funny: it had more of a porridge texture and started to escape from the dish. It was great fun squeezing it back in
Boiling the soap:
It takes almost two hours of steaming to get the soap ready.
Our soap-maker, Andris, was kind enough to let us go for dinner – and he took care of the delicate process of “brewing the soap” himself. As a result, we didn’t witness the brewing. But was assured that the process is very monotonous: you just need to keep mixing the soap with a silicon spatula every 15 minutes.
The oil must be added at the end so that the wonderful fragrance doesn’t evaporate during the two hours of brewing.
I love everything natural and organic. To get a smooth, deep, natural smell never use synthetic perfumes.
Essential oils are expensive but worth every penny.
We used a peppermint essential oil for our soap: around 30 ml (1 oz) to be poured into the still hot soap mix.
Caution: be careful of your eyes: when heated, essential oil starts evaporating and stings the eyes quite a lot. Don’t bend over the casserole dish and you’ll be fine.
Shaping the soap:
For an ordinary rectangular soap, use an empty milk or juice carton. Just cut off the top and you’re done.
If you’d prefer something a bit more creative, use any kind of plastic, paper or silicone container. It should be a little flexible though so you can get the finished soap out easily.
We made our Valentine’s soap using a plastic chocolate box. As our soap master Andris said – the bigger the container, the more impressive the soap. He was right 😉
The finished soap
Our soap rested for about 3-4 hours until it got firm. Then we just emptied the container and voila!
Later I had an idea: what if you want to make a hole in the soap to make it easier to handle? When you have your soap in the container just stick a pencil into the still warm soap and take it out when the soap is ready.
Put a string through the soap and you’ll be able to hang it in the shower. Perfect!