Matt’s soap making part 2. The lye experience.
This is part 2 in my soap making journey. My wife likes soap, and she likes coffee.. So coffee soap! I used the recipe that the Art of Manliness posted way back in 2011.
What you need:
The exact measurements of the ingredients I used were:
- 51 oz. of olive oil
- 31.5 oz. of coconut oil
- 28 oz. of chilled, brewed coffee (as the liquid base)
- 11.94 oz. of lye
- 3 tablespoons of ground coffee beans
Step one is the most important step of your life. Safety gear! I geared up with long sleeves, thick rubber gloves and safety goggles just to be sure. Have you seen Fight Club? Lye is corrosive and painful. Make sure you’re safe.
I double brewed my coffee and then let it sit overnight to chill.
I then started weighing out my ingredients starting with the oils. This is my coconut oil.
Which I then mixed with the olive oil in a pot on the stove and heated up to melt it all together.
I then measured the lye.
And mixed it with the coffee in a plastic container. VERY IMPORTANT: Pour the lye into the liquid and not the other way around or you may get a boom that you aren’t prepared to deal with.
Mix it up. Use wooden spoon (I used plastic as my wooden spoon disappeared.) Do not use metal. It will react. This is all chemistry people.
It will start heating up dramatically. You will be able to tell with your fancy laser thermometer. (Note the gloves, safety first).
Let the lye mixture cool down to between 38 to 52 degrees Celsius (That’s 100 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit for the Americans in the crowd).
Make sure you have all your molds ready. I prepped mine beforehand.
When the lye mixture and oil mixture have reached approximately the same temperature. Pour the lye mixture SLOWLY into the big bucket that already contains the oils. Not the other way around. I then added my coffee grounds as an exfoliant. (Look at me using big words like exfoliant!)
Mix it in 5 minutes intervals until it the mixture traces. It will be kind of congealed and have a pudding like texture.
I did this part rather quickly so I couldn’t get any pictures of me pouring it into the actual molds but here they are completed.
I had lots of extra so I used a milk container to pour the rest into. When it solidifies more I will cut them into bars.
After approximately 48 hours you can remove them from the molds. Then cover them and let them sit for 5-6 weeks so that the chemical reactions can occur between the lye and the oils creating super oils. The process is called “saponification” and afterwords the oils are saponified (more big words!).
Afterwords I wrapped them up in parchment paper. I would have tied them with twine but alas I was out. Luckily I run a t-shirt company (Tall Grass Apparel) and always have lots of extra shirts laying around so I cut them into strips and boom, string. Perhaps I should do a post on recycled shirts…
Turns out my wife loved the soap. So win for husband me!
Also thanks again to The Art of Manliness for their soap recipe!