Explore the blog, Then Check out our website

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Chicken Scratch Poultry

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Good Clean Fun - Let's Make Soap

Over the last couple of years we started making our own soap here on the farm.  We've decided we like it so much better than the skin drying, over perfumed junk you buy in the store.  I once thought that homemade soap must be harsh since it's made with lye, until I finally tried it out for myself.  I have very dry sensitive skin and it may sound crazy, but homemade soap doesn't dry out your skin.  I know you'll never believe it until you just try it for yourself.  Do you even know what's in that store bought soap?
 Soap doesn't have to be difficult to make.  When your looking over the internet for a recipe, all the instructions seem so intimidating and difficult.  It doesn't have to be difficult. I'm no soap making expert by any means, but what I have done has worked and I like it.
The first time I made soap was with my great aunt Freda Baker.  It was exciting and frightening all at the same time.  When she put on the rubber gloves and goggles and told us not to breath the toxic fumes I was fascinated.  She looked like a mad scientists.  We had saved back our bacon grease for months on end before we made the trip to Aunt Freda's to make homemade soap.  Freda's house sat in the Pope county hills of the Shawnee Forest and I absolutely loved to go and visit her.  It was like traveling back in time when you walked in her house.  She always washed her cloths with a wringer washer. She heated her water on the stove because she had no warm water in her house.   She grew all of her own food, was a hard working farm wife and lived a simple life.  Some folks maybe thought she did without a lot of stuff, but I think she lived with exactly what she wanted.  Freda and her husband lived in the most beautiful place I've ever seen.  I use to wondered as a child when we would come in to wash our hands to get ready to eat, why Freda's soap was always a funny shape and had no scent to it.  I would think to myself why does she make soap when it's so much easier to go buy it.  Well I finally figured it out.

There's no need for fancy molds, I have a few molds, they're fun and will make cute soap for gifts.  The possibilities are endless when making soap.
The ingredients I used for this batch of soap
3 cups water
17 ounces lye
6 pounds oils
2 cups lemon juice
1 can goat milk
essential oil for fragrance (you don't need this)
You don't need the goat milk or the essential oil. It's just what I decided to put in.  I used Nutmeg essential oil, it smells great!  You can use any essential oil scents that you like or none at all.
Tools needed:
plastic or glass measuring cups
wooden spoon
scales (digital or whatever you have)
I used a stick mixer it's not necessary but does make it easier
1 stainless steel pot (I used this black kettle)
Rubber gloves
Eye protection 
  box lined with plastic wrap, if you don't have molds   
My aunt Freda used this kettle for soap making probably 50 years.  All directions I read say never to use anything like this, always use stainless steel.  I've used the kettle myself 3 times and it works great just like aunt Freda's soap. 
Have all ingredients measured ready to go and box ready to pour soap into.

Put your 3 cups of water into your pot, measure out 17 ounces of lye, always pour your lye into the water, never pour water into lye.  Do not breath in the fumes and pour slowly not to splash.  Stir until dissolved.  You should wear your rubber gloves and eye protection at this point.  If you splash the lye water on your skin, apply vinegar to stop the burning.
Add your oils to the lye and water mixture.  The water mixture will be hot and melt your oils.  It takes 6 pounds of oil.  You can use whatever oils you want, vegetable, Olive oil, Coconut oil, lard.  I used 2 pounds coconut oil and 4 pounds vegetable shortening.  You can use whatever combination you like.  As long as you use 6 pounds of oil for this recipe. 

  Stir until all shortening is melted.
 Once all the shortening is melted add in your 2 cups of lemon juice.  Next you can add in any little goodies you can think of, goat milk, honey, oatmeal, herbs, essential oil, coconut milk, vitamin E oil, the possibilities are endless.

I'm adding my essential oil in this photo.  Also this photo shows an important part of the soap making.  Do you see the swirl marks left by my wooden spoon, this is called trace.  When your spoon leaves this mark in the soap that means it is ready to pour into your box or molds.  I got to the trace point really fast with this soap and I think it is because I used the stick mixer.  This is the first time I had used one.  When I stir by hand with a wooden spoon it takes awhile to get to the point of trace.

If your pouring your soap into a mold it's a good idea to apply mineral oil to the mold so the soap comes out easily.  If your pouring into a box lined with plastic wrap you don't need to do this.  I've heard you can pour it into a Pringles can and then when the soap is ready to cut, just cut it like a log of no bake cookies.  You'll have nice little round bars.

Pour soap into your box or molds.  Cover with old towels or dishcloths, this is the point where saponification happens.  I'm not a chemist so all I know is that the soap is making soap at this point and you need to cover it while this happens, it needs to retain it's heat as long as possible.  Let the soap sit undisturbed for a couple of hours.  Once it has cooled and begins to harden some, it will  be the consistency of fudge.  At this point you can cut the soap into the size of bars you want.  Leave it in the box while you cut it.  Leave it in the box for a couple of days.  Once the soap is hard enough, remove it from the box.  You now need to let your soap sit for 4 to 6 weeks, this is the curing process.  After that your soap is ready to use.  You now have enough soap to last a good 6 months or more.
Soap is fun to make, get together with your girlfriends, sisters, or your family and have some good clean fun!

I've made these cute chicken soaps, they're great for your guest bathroom or make a cute gift for a chicken lover.  I also have some with a goat and some that say Homemade.  If you'd like to place an order for a cute bar of soap you can email me at larry_angie@chickenscratchpoultry.com or leave me a comment below letting me know your interested in placing an order.  The bars of chicken or goat soap are $2.00 per bar plus shipping, the bars that just say Homemade are $1.50 plus shipping.

Get that goat loving friend a bar of goat milk soap.  Hope to hear from you. 


  1. I was just talking to a friend who raises goats this morning about making goat milk soap and then your blog is on making soap. I think this is a sign that I need to make some soap! The chicken soaps are really cute!

    1. Get together with your mom, friends, or sweet cousins and make some soap :) it's fun!

  2. Thanks for sharing! New to your blog and now following along!!! My hubby and I are going to milk our goat for the first time in the coming weeks. Hope our soap will look as nice as yours!!

    1. Glad you like the Blog. Thanks for joining us. Angie

  3. thank you for the soap making. I've been thinking about it, just haven't done it yet.

  4. Angie,

    Love your blog! I have never done cold process soap...guess I have been intimadated by the lye part. I am willing to give it a try after seeing your post. Where have you found the best place online to purchase lye etc.?

    Thanks, Cindy in AZ

    1. Hi Cindy, I get my Lye from the hardware store in town. I've never ordered it on line. Soap making is fun. Let me know how it turns out. Good to hear from you! Angie

  5. All soap has lye in it. I never use bacon grease for soap as I use it in cooking. I have made soap many times and a good book is by susan Cavitch-Miller. can't find mine at the moment but it has great recipes I have used multiple times. Why is there lemon juice in your recipe? never heard of that. i watched my grandmother making soap with frshly rendered tallow, lye and water. that's all she used for bathing and clohtes washing. I use a coupld different oils, lye, water and EO's for fragrence and health benefits. I got my lye on line many yearsa go and still have some. Used to use Red devil lye but most places it's not available due to using it for bombs or some such thing. that's why i could no longer find it in the hardware. Maybe 9 or 10 yrs. ago I ahd to go to buying it online. I use a stnd mixer with a piece of cardboard cut to fit over the bowl to prevent stuff flying out of the bowl. works great and saves the arm. it is soap anyway so easy to clean the bowl. I have a box I line with parchment paper and after 24 hrs., at least, I take it out and cut it by hand and then lay on brown paper and let it cure for 4-6 wks. Thanks, Deb

  6. The Lemon juice makes a good sudsy soap. It does make a real difference. Try it and see if you notice a difference. Thanks Angie

  7. Where are u located in mcleanboro? I live in Dahlgren and was not aware of ur store. I'm growing many herbs this year and quite a few flowers, hoping to add more. Interested in making my own soap,laudry,dish,and body,as well. I'm disabled and trying to become a lot more self sufficient as I don't have money to get everything from stores with today's prices. Really enjoying ur blog and thank u for sharing recipes!!! As soon as I figure out ur location I'll definitely be coming for some honey. Local honey= calmer allergies!