Here are a few pictures to show what happens when I make
CPHP. Your results may vary, though!
Please note that this tutorial is designed for those
already familiar with cold process soap making.
Melt oils and mix up lye solution as you would with CP.
You dont have to worry about controlling the temperatures. Add the lye
solution to the oils as soon as youre confident the lye is completely
dissolved. You can stick blend them together right in the crock pot:
After youve reached a nice, thick trace, put the lid on,
check the crock pot is set to low, and entertain yourself for about a half
an hour. Obsessive folk like me might return to the pot every five to ten
minutes for a peek, but there probably wont be much happening. After about
thirty minutes (more or less, depending on your crock pots temperature),
the edges will begin to gel:
Check back in about ten minutes and the gel will have
spread from the edges toward the centre. I usually refer to this as raw
soap island surrounded by a gel ocean. Unfortunately, on the day I decide
to take photographs, we have raw soap island being overrun by a gel
Five minutes later, raw soap island is gone:
It is at this time I remove the pot from the heat source
and give a quick stir just to be sure the gel is complete. If it isnt,
youll find a chunk of lighter-colored raw soap floating in the gel. If you
still have raw soap, pop it back in the heat source and cook for another
five to ten minutes. This one has completely gelled:
Now you can zap test the soap by taking a little bit out
and rubbing it between your fingers to help it cool. It should feel waxy.
Once the soap has cooled, lightly tap your tongue with it. If you get a
sensation that feels like a 9-V battery, you have active lye in your soap
and will need to cook it some more. If not, you can move on to the next
When making HP, I add my additives at the end of the cook
to avoid having the kitchen smell like the monkey cage at the zoo. Any
milks, honey, fruit or veggie purees, etc should go in after the cook. Oils
and butters added after the cook will not be saponified, so you get all of
their benefits. Today Im superfatting with a bit of jojoba:
And now a lovely oakmoss fragrance goes in:
While you werent looking, I removed a cup or so of soap
from the pot and dyed it green. This has been added back to the soap:
And lightly stirred to make an in-the-pot swirl:
And then spooned into the molds to cool:
When the soap has cooled, turn it out and youre done!
Remember that any HP needs to cure for at least one week,
preferably two. Itll get harder and milder in this time.
Hot Process Tips Hints:
For me, the hot process method is the quickest and easiest
way to make soap. There is very little room for error and the soap turns out
great 99% of the time. Still, there is that 1%, so I thought I'd try to shed
some light on some common HP problems and how to easily solve them.
By no means is this a comprehensive list, but hopefully it will help you if
youre having trouble with your HP. Please bear in mind that my observations
take into account that the recipe being used isn't flawed and that the
equipment used (slow cooker, double boiler, oven, etc) is in good working
- My soap is really thick and I have trouble getting it into the mold.
This is probably the most common problem with making HP soap. Fortunately,
it's also the easiest to solve. Thick soap is usually caused by a lack of
water, so it's important never to do a water discount with HP. In fact, it's
a good idea to add an additional 5-10% to the recommended full water amount.
I wouldn't suggest going over 10% as the extra evaporation while the soap
cures can cause the sliced bars to warp or bend. The extra water may be
added to the lye solution or even to the finished soap before it goes into
the mold. I have 'thinned' out many a batch of thick soap by adding a small
amount of hot water at the end of the cook, but it does require
careful and lengthy stirring to fully incorporate into the soap.
In addition to extra water, there are a couple of additives that can help
keep the soap more fluid. Adding 3-5% sugar to the lye solution before the
lye is added can help keep the soap from getting too thick. It is imperative
that all of the sugar is dissolved before the lye goes in or you'll end up
with a caustic boiled sweet! Sodium lactate is another additive that can
keep soap fluid, however, add no more than 5% or the soap can become
brittle. Sodium lactate is a forgiving ingredient and may be added at any
time during the soap making process. I prefer adding it at trace.
- My soap has lumpy bits in it.
My soap zaps!
Barring any mistakes with the recipe, zapping soap is undercooked. To avoid
a heat or lye burn, soap shouldn't be zap tested (touching a small amount of
cooked soap to the tongue) at all without meeting a few criteria first:
Soap should be at the gel stage and there should be no parts of the soap
that are not translucent. If the soap resembles cake batter in any way, do
not touch it.
Soap should be cooled before testing. While 140F isn't boiling, it can
Soap should be rubbed between the fingers before testing. If the soap
feels waxy and smooth, it's fairly safe to test, but if there are any rough
or gritty bits, it should not be touched to the tongue.
If youve met the criteria and the soap zaps, simply cook it a bit longer.
When I first started making HP, I had the lumpiest soap ever. Even the cured
bars showed the tell-tale white spots. There are two main reasons for hard
lumps in soap -- over-heating and over-cooking. In my experience, HP should
never be brought to a temperature over 140F (60C). Doing so causes the
indirect heat source to become more direct as the sides of the pot or slow
cooker heat up enough to over-cook or burn the soap. The hot sides contact
the soap, causing bits to over-heat and harden. While harmless, these hard
bits will affect the look of the finished soap.
As with cooking soap at too high a temperature, cooking it too long will
also cause lumps. A longer cook time means more evaporation and
evaporation means harder, thicker soap. As the soap continues to overcook,
the soap will begin to form hard lumps. I have rarely had a batch of soap of
any size which required cooking for more than 45 minutes.
These tips wont solve every problem you might encounter with HP, but
hopefully theyll help you achieve more trouble free batches. If you have
any hints youd like to add, please leave me a comment. My hope is that by
sharing, we can make HP a nearly fool-proof method!
Author: Elizabeth, Owner and Operator of Gracefruit, which offers soap making
supplies for those living in and around the UK. Gracefruit offers a "diverse range
of cosmetic-grade fragrances, allergen-free fragrance oils, soap-making
supplies, lotion-making supplies, lip balm supplies, vegetable and seed
oils, cosmetic ingredients, organic botanicals, essential oils, fruit and
milk powders, and cosmetic packaging. All of which are carefully selected
and personally tested by experienced soap makers."