First try this weekend!

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Posted by Pat B! ( on February 02, 2004 at 05:42:13:

I had a recipe for Marshmallow Root soap that I wanted to try, and it required soaking the ground up root overnight, so I started that, and then decided to try the Chocolate Swirl recipe from Steve's blender recipes that came with the SoapCalc.

Well, all the measuring went fine (I converted to metric and used digital scales I have access to to weigh directly into the blender) and I poured the lye slowly into the oil, covered the blender, pushed the start button - and it traced! I mean, like NOW!

I quickly scooped some out to mix with the separate cocoa powder, and then tried swirliing the two together directly in the flat mold I was using, but it looked pretty bad (G!) Still, I covered it and set it aside while waiting for the Marshmallow Root to finish its overnight soak.

Next day I got set up again. First thing I was gonna do was squeeze the water out of the Marshmallow Root to use with the lye (the recipe seemed to imply that this water was to be discarded, and I thought that would be a waste). Well, talk about "learning by doing" - turns out that soaked Marshmallow Root gets VERY gel-y expanded, and you don't squeeze out water - you squeeze out goo! (Very soft and skin soothing goo, I might add! :-)

Well, I was committed (or should be!) and squeezed out as much as I could, weighed it, made up the difference with more distilled water, and added the lye. Got some little "lumpies", but at this point, I wasn't stopping!

I weighed out all my oils, and this time decided to use a stick blender. Added the lye SLOWLY to the oils while mixing, and it actually took a few minutes for trace. Whew!

I dumped in the previously "de-gooed" Marshmallow Root, mixed a bit longer, and it was getting pretty thick, so I poured it into the mold (a pint milk carton this time). Covered it up, and decided to try another stab at the Chocolate Swirl, only this time with the stick blender in case the regular blender had been "too much".

Well, it traced almost as fast. I mixed up my swirl portion (with the cocoa powder) and this time poured it back in with the rest and gently stirred to swirl, and then poured into the mold (another pint milk carton). I have NO idea what the swirls will look like in the cut soap!

So last night I unmolded the first ugly batch of Chocolate Swirl (oh yes, it's still VERY ugly!) onto a board to cut it. And it is quite soft and waxy. Is this correct? I actually took a few pieces and molded them into balls (to see if they'd look any better - they didn't!) Should it be literally so soft you can mold it like this the next day? Or is this an indicator of trouble?

I'll try unmolding the second batch of Chocolate Swirl tonight, and the Marshmallow Root tomorrow (the recipe says to leave it two days before unmolding as it is a softer soap).

Well, at least I didn't blow anything up! (G!)

Thoughts, anyone?

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