Why Make Milk Soap? Because It's Amazing!
January 11 is Milk Day, so of course I grabbed some goat milk and made soap to celebrate. Milk creates a luscious, gentle, skin-loving bar of soap. Who could resist?
I’ve always enjoyed the scent of Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey Fragrance Oil. When I previously sold the soap I created, any bars scented with this fragrance were very popular. Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey Fragrance works beautifully in any product. People love its delightful blend of creamy milk, luscious honey, and wholesome oats.
Also, soap that contains a bit of clay is a treat to use, so I added 1 teaspoon of Kaolin Clay to my 16-ounce batch of soap.
A design idea has been knocking around in my head for a while for a soap in our Round Ripple Mold. The concept is two separate colors poured at the same time to create a pattern similar to the yin-yang symbol. Also, I wanted to hold back a bit of soap batter to decorate the top of the soap with dots and drag a skewer through them to make hearts. This is a pretty ambitious plan, as milk soaps tend to move pretty quickly, and I will need my batter to remain fluid to create the design.
The color choices need to have good contrast, but I didn’t want black and white. I opted instead for safflower powder to create a reddish tan in one half of the soap batter. Because milk soaps tend to be off-white at the lightest, and because Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey Fragrance Oil can cause slight discoloration, I used Titanium Dioxide for the other half of the batter to keep it light.
If this soap intrigues you, here’s what you’ll need to make it.
6 ounces Soybean Oil
5 ounces Coconut Oil
4 ounces Sunflower Oil
1 ounce Avocado Oil
6 ounces Milk
2.15 ounces Lye (5% Superfat)
1 teaspoon Kaolin Clay
0.3 ounce Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey Fragrance Oil
37.5% Soybean Oil
31.25% Coconut Oil
25% Sunflower Oil
6.25% Avocado Oil
lye (use Lye Calculator)
milk (use Lye Calculator)
1 teaspoon PPO Kaolin Clay
Before you begin making soap, please take proper safety precautions! Use eye protection, gloves, long sleeves, and close-toed shoes. I’m assuming readers have a basic knowledge of cold process soap making. If this is not so, please check out this blog post, the first in a series on how to make cold process soap. This milk soap recipe is suitable for intermediate soapers.
I always use cold goat milk to make soap. Usually, I freeze it into cubes, but I have used it from the refrigerator and set the mixing vessel in a bowl of icy cold water. (Our water comes out of the tap at 33 degrees F, so I don’t bother adding ice. If your tap water is not this cold, add ice cubes to the water bath.)
Gradually add lye to goat milk, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition to dissolve the lye. Lots of stirring is very important, as you will not be able to see if all the lye has dissolved as you can with water.
Once all the lye has been added and completely dissolved, check the temperature of the lye solution. There are a lot of sugars in milk, and they cause the lye solution to get hot really quickly. Using frozen milk helps curb the heat. You want to keep the temperature as low as possible. Also, keep your face out of the fumes. If possible, I mix the lye solution outside.
I mixed the milk and lye using fluid milk this time, and I had the measuring cup sitting in cold water. After I got it all mixed, I left it sitting in the water bath for about 2 hours. When I came back to it, the lye solution was 72 degrees F.
Weigh the hard oils in a soap bucket, and melt in a microwave using 30 second increments. When the oils are melted, stir in the liquid oils and check the temperature. I needed to wait about 20 minutes for the oils to cool to about 80 degrees F. I helped them along with a cool water bath.
Add the clay to the liquid oils, pulsing a few times with the stick blender to incorporate it. Then slowly pour the lye solution into the oils. I pour through a fine-mesh strainer to make sure there are no bits of undissolved lye or anything else getting into the soap batter.
Stir with a whisk for a couple of minutes, then use short bursts with a stick blender to bring the mixture just to an emulsion. Remember, we need this batter to stay fluid, so take it easy with the stick blender.
Now divide the soap batter into two equal parts. To one part, add 1/2 teaspoon safflower powder, stick blending just until the powder is dispersed. Into the second container, add about a teaspoon of Titanium Dioxide premixed into glycerin. Again, mix only as much as necessary.
Hand stir half of the fragrance into each of the two containers of soap batter. Grab the mold and set it on a wire rack or cutting board to stabilize it.
The idea is to pour both colors at the same time into each of the cavities in the mold. I wish I’d had a helper to take a photo of the pour. Just do the best you can to get the two colors even.
When all the cavities are filled, there should be a bit of soap left in both colors. Using a transfer pipette, suck up some of the white soap batter and make two or three dots on the tan side of the top of each bar of soap. Do the same with the tan batter, making dots on the white portion. Then grab a skewer or chopstick, place it into the soap by one of the dots, and drag it in a circle through each dot to form heart shapes.
You may have a bit of soap batter left. I keep small individual molds around so I can scrape the extra soap batter into them.
Cover the mold and place it in a warm spot. If you don’t need to bake anything, you can oven process the soap. Preheat the oven to the lowest possible temperature (usually around 170 degrees F), then turn it off. Set the soap mold inside the oven, close the door, and check it in 8-10 hours.
Don’t forget to spray alcohol on the surface of the wet soap to help avoid soda ash.
After 12-24 hours, the soap should be hard enough to remove from the mold. Silicone molds are great to use because the soap is so easy to unmold, and the bars are beautifully shaped. No worries about cutting bars; you’re done!
I was practically giddy when I finished this soap! The stars had aligned, the soap fairies were kind, and the soap batter behaved perfectly, staying very fluid the entire time. To control trace, I soaped cool – 70-75 degrees F. Also, I limited the use of the stick blender, hand stirring as much as possible.
Soaping so cool was a bit risky, though, as I planned to use a cavity mold rather than a slab or loaf. Soaps poured into cavity molds can easily stall because they can’t build up adequate heat to complete the saponification process. To combat that possibility, I covered the soap and placed it in a warm spot for around 12 hours.
I was so glad when I finally removed it from the mold and saw that it looked great!
Do you have a favorite fragrance that inspires a certain kind of soap or a design? I love to hear what inspires other soapers!