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Introduction to Soap Making: Making a Basic Batch of Soap

The day has finally arrived when I get to make my very first batch of soap. I was a little nervous. I know the dangers of using lye, but I put on my goggles and gloves and was prepared to dive in. This week I am plowing through 20 batches of soap. Whew! Today I made 5 batches of soap using an MMS recipe that is an old favorite in the blog kitchen. I made them one right after the other to help get the hang of cold process soapmaking. You will notice there are 6 soaps in the picture, the first one was a visual demonstration and from there I was on my own!

When Julie Andrews played Maria in The Sound of Music she taught the children to sing and got right down to the basics. She sang, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” I had this song running through my head as I was preparing to make the soap.

Today I am just covering how to make a basic batch of soap. How do you mix the lye? How do you know when you are done mixing the soap and it is ready to pour? What precautions do you need to take? These are all part of the basics of how to get started making your own first batch of soap.

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Sodium Hydroxide
Distilled Water
Microwave Safe Container
Immersion Blender
Soap Mold


Recipe in Grams
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
141.75 grams Coconut Oil
141.75 grams Olive Oil
62.37 grams Sodium Hydroxide
Q.S. Distilled Water
Recipe in Ounces
6 ounces Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 ounces Coconut Oil
5 ounces Olive Oil
2.2 ounces Sodium Hydroxide
Q.S. Distilled Water
Recipe in Percentages
37.5 % Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25 % Coconut Oil
31.25 % Olive Oil
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide
Q.S. Distilled Water

Weigh out the fats in a microwave-safe container. I was ordered to make 20 fat kits. 20! All of these jars were set aside with a label showing what oils were in each jar. I also made 20 lye kits. Since this recipe is the same all across each of the batches I knew how much lye was needed (I used the Lye Calculator) and that it would be the same for each jar of fats. Today I used the microwave on 3 jars at a time, just until fats were melted, stir well. In a separate container that can handle the heat of mixing lye, I measured distilled water. Carefully pour lye crystals into measured water. Do not pour water on top of lye! This will cause an extreme overheating of the water! Always pour the lye into the water. Stir well, making sure to dissolve all of the lye crystals. A little extra stirring will also help to release the extra heat and help cool the water a little. When lye is mixed with water it heats up, A LOT!!

Pour lye solution into the melted fats. Start mixing with the immersion blender. The lye and fats need to be mixed well. High speed is not necessary, but consistent mixing is important. I have heard there are times when the blenders were turned on HIGH and the liquid splashed from the container. Low speed is what I used on my immersion blender. When I stopped mixing to get an idea if my soap was ready to pour into the mold I was told to watch for a layer of slightly darker liquid on top. This is the unmixed fat. Tipping the immersion blend slightly will cause the whole mixture to go through the blades and make more efficient mixing. Be patient and keep mixing until the dark layer of fat disappears. Pour into mold. The soap mixture is very fluid at this point! Some of the items I have read indicate the mixture is thick. This was not a thickened or pudding-like mixture! I used a Rubbermaid Draw Organizer lined with Saran Wrap (this will help pull the soap out later).

Leave the soap to set for 24 hours. Remove the soap from the mold and cut into bars and allow to cure.

Notes: An extra precaution you can take while mixing the lye is to wear a mask over your nose and mouth, or to mix outside. Breathing in the lye steam will make you cough and I find this unpleasant. It is also important to note that the lye solution will leave a mark on your counter. Always set your spoons, immersion blender, and anything that has touched the lye or raw soap mixture on something which will protect the counter. If lye does come into contact with your counter top, wipe it up immediately.


Finished product

Pre-measured oils

Pre-measured lye

Weighing oils

Melted oils

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