Monday, December 6, 2010

Smart Soapmaking

I got slammed this year with last minute wholesale customers who want hundreds of bars of soap cured...ummm. yesterday and now and chop chop.... so I try to accommodate as much as I can, of course. In the tornado of formulating and keeping p with my retail and wholesale orders in addition, Gift Sets fell to the way side this year for the holidays. O.O

Yesterday I was racking my brain about what I should offer and I came up with some great ideas, but none of them had a soap inclusion because we only have a few of each scent of soap. There isn't one bar we have tons of except the chai soap that just looks marbled and turned out too cinnamon-y spicy. (there is a point to this story, hang in there)

So as I finished pouring soap for a customer, I had a lye mixture set aside for 2 batches just waiting there for me to use. Perfectly measured and waiting for me to add fat and make the magic soap with. Oh the fantasy...

my glowing magical stick blender

I picked up one of my books, Smart Soapmaking by Anne L. Watson, which I always have lying around, but rarely pick up anymore. Read the whole book in 20 minutes. Great book. If you haven't read it or haven't read it in a while, pick it up and re-read it. It's a great overall look at the art of soap making. She is refreshing and not so rigid as so many pros are. Anyway, I looked at her CPOP (cold process-oven processing) description where one makes cold process soap and then cooks the loaf molds in the oven (covered) for two hours in 170-200 degree heat and then stays in the oven with the oven off for 12 hours. Now Dreaming Works Soap recommended that the soap cure for 2 weeks after that. This author mentioned that the soap was ready for use after it was unmolded but also mentioned that it would get harder with time so depending on its hardness depends on when you want to serve it up. So my lack of soaps in my gift set got me to trying the CPOP process. I didn't want to do the hot process this time. I wanted a new thing. I also find hot process too waxy for me to work with. But that is me. Other people love it. I can see all the benefits. And I love them! I just have a hard time physically maneuvering the glop. AND I burn myself every time. What's that about?

I suppose we need to check. I have two batched in the oven now. Covered with a wooden cutting board which is now completely warped. I might have to find something else to cover CPOP molds in the future that work better than that. Good thing they were cheap (Ikea).


I'll keep you updated on my CPOP batched. Pics to come.


Crazy Soap Lady said...

Please oh please let me know how it comes out! I struggle with the same issues and would love to hear how the soaps turn out. Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the pics. Will the CPOP have the texture of hot process? I have been using DWCP (discounted water cold process) for the same reason, but still retaining the smooth look of the natural CP process. However, I still need a 2 week cure time.

Naturally Good Soaps said...

I use a crock pot because it is easier (for me) and the soap is ready to use right away. I actually give it a week cure time just in case. There are great videos on YouTube on the crockpot process. The texture is not as smooth as CP but I do believe it you had a little more water at the end to smooth out the soap, then in time the water evaporates while curing. Hope the helps. Can't wait to see your final product.

Cathy said...

I do miss making CP soap during the holidays but I simply cannot get ahead on orders without doing CPOP. The regulars love it all, and the new customers don't know the difference. They even seem to welcome the texture of the CPOP. For a close up look my last blog post had the three new soaps for last weekend's show.
Good luck!

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

Hi Jo!
We've been right there with you this holiday season and everything has been late, lol!

When we cover our molds in with the cp/op method we use our solid kiln dried birch lids they're about an inch and a half thick, as long as the temp doesn't go over 200 they don't warp, our molds are pretty heavy duty made with the same wood. You can also try using a baking tray as a cover as long as the mold isn't so full that the raw soap is going to touch it or silicon baking mats that you drape over kinda like you would wax paper or plastic wrap if you weren't putting them in the oven. I'm sure there's some other good cover ideas out there too!

Anonymous, most of the time cp/op soap looks like regular cp, the colors and coloring just tend to come out darker or a occasionally a little different. Unless your oven happens to be fan assisted then it starts to resemble HP on the top or soap puffs.

I'm sure your gift sets are going to be lovely (I'm actually looking forward to seeing them, hint hint) and so curious to see how your cp/op batches came out.

Joanna said...

I've got quite a few Gift Sets this year to chose from. Nice discounts, I think. We'll see. :) I take good pictures and I have some good scents to introduce just for the holiday treats but I'm not sure people will like the combos this year.


I will definitely put pics up later today!

Jackie said...

CPOp has been a life (or business) saver this year. No one knows the difference, just wish I had more half mix sized molds as the full size ones are too big to go in the oven!

FuturePrimitive said...

i just did a video...but since you're a subscriber you probably saw that right?

FuturePrimitive said...

mine puffed as I didn't cover the first one...but the second one came out wonderfully well and was really ready to use right away. Sharon at Morgan Street really helped me with it all. It's a good long as you cover the top tiggy! hey ho...we live n learn. good luck with yours jo jo x

Amanda said...

I do almost all of my soap as CPOP. I don't cover at all; I'm not sure why you would need to since your oven is providing heat.

I do find that they need almost the same cure as regular CP soap. Not enough water evaporates to cut down on the cure.

Spray with 90%+ proof alcohol to guard against ash forming. You'll need to saturate more than once.

I mainly do it to force gel; I hate partially gelled soap. And since I do alot of peaks and fancy tops I don't want to cover it works great.


Sindy Anderson said...

I do CPOP~ always have~ Mine cures quickly and looks great as well. I also incorporate the use of color since that's my thing~ color~ I've never had any problem with ash or bad tops. I do cover my soap molds. Just a heads up to the previous poster, my soap molds are to large for the oven as well. Simply get some house insulation at Home Depot, glue it into a box and wahlah~ instand oven. It actually cooks my soap to hot so I have to leave the top cracked a bit~ Good Luck~!
(I know, I know, no pics~I'm redoing my site)

Jennifer said...

I too looked into this last year during the busy season, and came to the same conclusion as Amanda, that a full cure is still needed on CPOP vs CP. This also seemed to be the concensus on a few soaping boards that I've read.

Ashley said...

I'm a newbie to soapmaking, but I LOVE CPOP. I bake the soaps at 175 for 2 hrs and then let sit in the oven for 12 hours. I've never covered, but might have to give it a try. My bars turn out just fine and are ready for use right away. I do try to let them set for atlest 2 weeks just to get a harder bar. I also use silicon bakeware for my CPOP. Can't wait to see how your's turn out!

Splurge Sisters said...

I have done CPOP (Cold Process Oven Process) many times and just love it. You can still get a beautiful design and it's ready faster then regular CP.

Amanda said...

I did two exact batches one time. One regular CP, insulated until gel and one CPOP. I just couldn't tell a difference.

The main way to cut down on a cure is to use a high water discount.

The Soap Sister said...

Just did 2 batches of CPOP today. I've found the alcohol-thing on the tops works great for me. LOVE the CPOP, mine cures WAY faster than CP. Good luck Jo, hope they turn out great!

Jennifer said...

High water discount + no cover when you CPOP = perfect soap ready in no time. It's the only way I soap anymore.

Amanda said...

Me too, Jennifer ;)