Soap & Sage Leaves: Cold Process Soap with an Oil Infusion
|Sage is one of my favorite herbs. Now, I might be a little biased due to our name, but I love the scent of sun kissed sage in the afternoon. The warm, herbal scent is comforting to me. It doesn’t bring much of the way in food memories to mind, since I primarily grow the plant just for the looks rather than culinary uses.
As I can’t go anywhere without thinking what would be fun to use in soap, I decided to harvest some of the sage leaves and dry them for use in soap. I collected the leaves I wanted and then dried them on a cooling rack used for baking. It didn’t take much time for the sage leaves to dry in our arid Utah climate! After the sage had dried, I had a brown lunch bag filled with dried leaves.I decided to divide the amount into three groups so I could make three different soaps.
Join me today as I make my first batch of cold process soap with dried sage leaves and an oil infusion!
Collect needed items:
I began by weighing the oils into a microwave safe container. Then I placed into the microwave and gently heated. Once all the oils had been melted, I added the dry sage leaves to the oil. I let the leaves and oil sit for about 24 hours. When I came back the next day, the oil had solidified so I placed the container back in the microwave to melt the oil again.
While the oils were heating again, I weighed the lye. I slowly added the lye to a container of water I had measured out before melting the oils again. DO NOT add water to your container of lye.
Once the oil had been melted completely, I removed the sage leaves. The leaves were still relatively dry, despite sitting the oil for 24 hours. I suspect this is due to the fact that the oils had cooled and solidified. The weight of my oils changed by 0.08 of an ounce (2.27 grams), so I left my calculated lye amount as I had originally calculated. That being said, I won’t be doing that again! Next time, I will place my dried botanicals in a single oil (preferably liquid at room temperature) and then weigh out the needed amount of oil.
Once my lye solution and oils were within an ideal temperature range*, I slowly poured the lye solution into the oils. I used an immersion blender to mix the oils and lye solution together until I reached trace. After I achieved trace, I poured the soap into the mold and allowed the soap to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
I came back after 24 hours and cut the soap into bars. Then I placed the cut bars of soap on a piece of cardboard and arranged them to allow for good air flow between bars. I placed the bars on my curing shelf and made a note of their starting weight. As the curing process is the time that allows for any excess water to evaporate, soap cures fairly quickly in our dry climate.
Soap Notes: As I was mixing the soap, it had a slight pinkish hue. That pinkish hue did disappear while the soap was going through the gel phase and the final bar had a nice creamy color.
*Temperature Note: For most soaps, you will want to mix your oils and lye solution when both are somewhere between 110°F to 130°F. In the winter when your soaping area is cooler, you will want to soap at higher temperatures. In the summer when your soaping area is warmer, you will want to soap at cooler temperatures. This particular batch had temperatures around 120°F.
I had so much fun making this soap! Stop by tomorrow and we’ll try another batch with sage leaves!