Southern Belle Soaps
Crockpot Hot Process Soapmaking Directions
Disclaimer: We are not responsible for misuse, misunderstanding, or injury resulting from the use of these directions. They are provided only as a guideline - we encourage you to do more research on your own to gain a better understanding of soapmaking in general.
You should be familiar with basic soapmaking directions before attempting any method of soaping.
NOTE: I make 6 pound batches at a time in my crockpot (one of the big ones with removable stoneware). I normally mix my lye water while I am getting everything else ready - you do not have to let the lye water cool down like you do with cold process soaping. Do all of the steps listed below in the crockpot itself - starting with mixing your oils and lye water. When it gets to mashed potato stage, I leave the lid off and stir frequently to evaporate excess water. I do not discount the water for the recipe. You get a feel for it after a while and you can tell when it's ready. All of my soaps are HARD the next day after cutting, but I let them sit about 5-7 days on average just to let more water evaporate. You don't have to do this though - it's ready for use immediately after it cools and you cut it, if it's done correctly. Cleanup is a snap too!
Allow approximately 2-3 hours from the start to finish. The time it takes for the soap to cook will vary depending on the ingredients you use and how much moisture you allow to evaporate from the soap. Some batches may cook in half an hour, others may take a couple of hours.
a) Prewarm crockpot on low while you are getting your ingredients ready (I have also used the high setting, but my crockpot is old. I would start with low.).
b) Add oils (I microwave the solid at room temp ones) and then your liquid oils to the crockpot.
c) Mix lye water in a plastic pitcher and add to your oils. Stir to trace in the crockpot itself.
d) Place lid on crockpot, and stir occasionally - it does *not* hurt the soap to stir it once in a while or to take a peek at it while cooking.
Hot process "volcano" - some ingredients can heat up more than normal when going through saponification in hot process soapmaking. Most notorious are soy shortening and beeswax, although I'm sure there are others. If you are using one of these ingredients, be prepared to move quickly should it try to climb out of the pot (which is why I put my crockpot into my sink :oP). If it rises up during cooking, stir it down quickly with your soap spoon. If you notice is has already attempted to escape and is now running down the sides of your crock and into the sink or all over the counter, try to scoop up as much as you can and dump it back into the pot, continue cooking.
Milk soaps - almost all milk soaps separate more during hot process cooking and you'll think you've ruined it - this is actually normal. I've had a few milk batches take 3 or 4 hours to cook. They generally tend to be "looser" at the final stages and easier to get into the mold than water-based soaps. Milk soaps will also turn orange-ish as they cook, but will change to brown in most cases as the process continues. Be sure you freeze your milk (ice cube trays work best for this) before adding lye to the milk. This will keep it from curdling. Proceed with the instructions as normal.
FRAGRANCE RECOMMENDATIONS: You will use approximately HALF the amount of FO or EO in hot process compared to CP soaping. The fragrance is added at the END of the cook, therefore it does not come in direct contact with the lye. The general rule of thumb for HP is 1/2oz FO per pound of base oils. You may need slightly more or less than this depending on how strong or weak your fragrance is. Be aware the scent will be stronger in the hot soap than it will after it cools.
Crockpot Hot Process Stages
Stage 1 - Trace
This is when the mixture begins to thicken and will support a dollop of soap if dripped off of the spoon. Another way to tell is to run your soap spoon through the mixture and see if "tracks" remain for a few seconds before disappearing.
Stage 2 - Custard Pudding
After you bring the soap to trace and before it begins to separate, it will become extremely thick - looking very similar to custard pudding. The top of the soap will have a nice, smooth texture to it. The custard pudding stage can go unnoticed if you are continually stirring the mixture. It can get so thick that you can actually scoop some out and there will be a "hole" in your soap. The fun is just beginning. :o)
Stage 3 - Separation
This occurs when the pudding-looking soap starts to break up and the oils float to the top. You will notice it around the edges of the pot first. Part of the mixture is turning into soap while the rest has yet to be saponified. You still have a ways to go - it's not all soap yet!
Stage 4 - Champagne Bubbles
This stage is basically a gentle boil that looks like small champagne bubbles. Sometimes you won't notice it, rather it will go right into applesauce stage. Don't panic if your soap appears to progress slowly or quickly through these steps - every batch will vary.
Stage 5 - Applesauce
This is exactly what it looks like - the mixture is well heated and when you stir it, it takes on a grainy look and then turns into a fine applesauce looking mixture. Some soapers describe the soap as "turning in on itself". If you continue to stir at this point, it will turn into mashed potato stage IF it has cooked long enough.
Stage 6 - Mashed Potato
The mixture is almost all soap but still quite fluid at this stage. It is almost finished - the remaining time needed will vary depending on the temperature of your crockpot and how much water you want to cook out of your soap. At this point, you will allow the excess water to evaporate - in cold process soaping it takes up to six weeks curing time for this to happen. Take the lid OFF the crockpot for this stage to allow evaporation and stir frequently. Saponification should be complete by now.
Some soapers test for lye and there are a variety of opinions about the risk of touching cooled soap to the tongue to test for tingle. However, I do NOT recommend doing this! LYE IS A CAUSTIC SUBSTANCE and can cause irreparable damage if handled incorrectly. We recommend purchasing some pH testing strips and check your soap with that method to be perfectly safe. If the pH of the soap is still too high, it needs to cook longer.
Stage 7 - Dry Mashed Potato
By now the excess water has boiled off and the soap is ready have fragrance added (if desired) and glopped into molds. (Some people describe it as looking Vaseline-ish.) You have to get a feel for this, but you want enough water evaporated so that the soap will not be too soft, but not so much that the soap will be crumbly from being too dry. Normally when the bits of soap on the sides of the crockpot begin to dry out, the soap is ready. If you take a bit of the soap out, it should cool quickly and lather under tap water. It takes practice learning when the soap is ready and when it needs to cook further. If you cook the soap too much and it becomes too dry, you can always add a small amount of water or a bit of oil to get it back to a consistency that is workable.
Stage 8 - Add fragrance or essential oil / superfat / additional additives and glop into molds
There are people who will tell you that you can "pour" CPHP into molds. I have never had a batch that was "pourable" . It's more like glop and plop - you spoon a layer into the mold, pound it on the counter a few times, and spoon another layer. (It's great therapy! :o) ) Wooden molds tend to hold up best for this and a lid on the mold helps to squeeze out excess air pockets. You have to work fairly quickly or the soap will set up in the mold before you get it all in there. The whole idea of pounding the mold is to get air pockets out of the soap. Spoon a layer, pound on counter, spoon a layer, pound some more, etc. :o)
Stage 9 - Allow soap to harden
Set the molds somewhere that they won't be disturbed while the soap is cooling. You do not need to insulate the soap as you do in cold process - it's already "soap". Some people say to leave the soap for 24 hours, but I normally unmold mine after it has cooled completely. Cut into bars as soon as you can after unmolding and trim if needed - it's normal to have a few air bubbles along the sides and bottom. If you cooked all of the lye out of the soap, it can be used immediately. Most soapers allow the bars to dry out further for a couple of days before using, longer if the soap has too much moisture in it (up to three weeks if necessary). If your soap did not turn out as planned, you can always rebatch it by chunking or shredding the soap (Salad Shooter works great for this) and remelting it in your crockpot.
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