In the beginning of making soap, I started with an Olive, coconut and palm oil soap recipe, which worked very well. Over the years and depending on supply deliveries, supplies on hand, environmentalism, and ingredient costs, we came up with 6 very tried and true soap recipes, well, except maybe this pure castile soap recipe one.
Traditionally, Castile soap was a 100% olive oil based soap. Yet the recipes of today seem to vary – same as the history of Castile soap’s history. As wonderful as a pure olive oil soap will be, it can be temperamental to make. I’ve made Castile a few times and this is what I’ve discovered:
- people say they want a plain unscented soap, yet buy the scented one, and the plain soaps ended up in the ‘sale’ basket
- all my castile olive oil bars tended to have soda ash, from high ph, from water/lye/oil saponification process, in the corners and edges of the soap logs
- the finished bar does not bubble very much, it is the coconut that creates large bubbles
- people think that if the bar doesn’t bubble lots then something is wrong with it
- multiple oil soap bases make better bars
- last I heard from whatever-powers-that-be, is that up to 15% coconut oil can be used and still be considered a pure ‘castile’ bar
The following recipe is one-fifth of what a batch was in my store. Yet it could be too large for starters, so if you like, you can divide this recipe any way you like. This makes about 25 4-ounce bars, so dividing it in half to make test batches would work well.
Pure castile soap recipe:
- 64 oz of Olive oil
- 23.4 oz water
- 8.7 oz lye crystals
- for a total of 96.1 oz of soap base
But if you still want a less-tempermental bar with bubbles, go with my #1 recipe with Olive and Coconut oils:
- 51.2 oz of Olive oil
- 12.8 oz of coconut oil (will be approx. 20% of the oils)
- 23.4 oz water
- 8.7 lye crystals
- for a total 96.1 oz of soap base
Directions for making soap:
• using a scale, measure out all the oils based on weight, one at a time, then add to the stainless steel soap pot
• place on the stove on low heat for the oils to heat up and the more solid oils to melt, you will want the oils to be 130 degrees
• measure out your water into a plastic water jug
• measure out the lye crystals into another small plastic container
• make sure you have a well ventilated spot for mixing the lye into the water, as the fumes can be very strong for about a minute
• or safety, I would always mix this in a sink, to ensure no accidental spilling to anywhere other than the sink
• place candy thermometers to the lye-water container and pot of oils
• the lye-water gets hot, reaching 175 degrees, and we will wait till it lowers to 130 degrees before adding to oil pot
• he temperature needs to be between 100 to 130 degrees to be mixed together
• add the lye-water slowly and carefully to the pot of oils, and start stirring
• some say to keep stirring constantly, but you can stop for a minute or 2 every few minutes
• using a hand blender will help speed up the process – but be careful you don’t lift blender up and splash soap base around
• your soap is ready for the scent, colorant and extras once it reaches the “trace” phase, this phase is when the oils and lye-water have saponified (basically have become soap), the soap base has changed color, is thicker, and doesn’t separate if you stop stirring for a couple of minutes
• now you can add your scent, color and other additives
• pour into your mold, cover with plastic, cover with a blanket or towel, and wait……..
The full page of the #1 recipe consisting of olive and coconut oils for the soap base.
Here is Wikipedia’s page on what is a pure Castile soap recipe.
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