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Beef tallow soap recipes

A friend taught me to make soap at the start of January.  She just taught me to follow a simple recipe using tallow, olive oil and coconut oil, with the cold process method.  We have been using that soap in the bath and in a soap shaker for doing the dishes, and its surprising how fast we use it, so it was time to make some more.  I rendered the rest of the tallow in the slow cooker again and read a book about soap making, so that I could figure out my own recipe this time.

It helps to have a basic understanding of the soap making process before you start.  To make a soap, fat or oil is reacted with caustic, this forms the solid soap, glycerine, and if any of the starting ingredients are in excess, they will also remain in the final product (so if you have too much caustic, there will be some caustic in the final soap, and if you have too much fat, there will be some fat in the final soap - this is called superfat).  In this post I am only talking about cold process soap making, which involves mixing the oil/fat and caustic when they are a similar temperature and does not require any cooking.

My soap fresh from the moulds (and the soap shaker again)
Which fats and oils to use and in what ratio?
I read about the properties of all the different fats and oil that I could use for different purposes.   If you are interested in soap making, I recommend that you research all the fats and oils that are available to you and figure out which to use for different applications.  I prefer to use a mixture of fats and oils that are relatively cheap and easy for me to buy, as well as being suitable for the type of soap I want to make.  This is what I found out about the fats and oils that I wanted to use:

Tallow - hard and longlasting soaps, good cleaning qualities, creamy lather, might retain animal smell (I haven't noticed this in my tallow soap so far)

Olive oil - hard and longlasting soaps, need long curing time and may take longer to reach "trace", minimal lather, good cleaning qualities

Coconut oil - hard soap, good lather, soap may dissolve easily if high in coconut oil (never use more than 30%)

How much caustic to use?
To calculate the amount of caustic you need, you first work out the amount of each fat or oil you will use in grams.  Each fat or oil has a "saponification value", which tells you how much caustic (in grams) you need for each gram of fat or oil.  For example, beef tallow has a saponification value of 0.140, which means you need 0.140 grams of caustic for every gram of beef tallow in the recipe.

Here's how to work it out for an example recipe of 250g olive oil, 250g coconut oil and 500g tallow

Fat/oil             Amount            Sap value            Caustic amount          Total caustic (0% superfat)
Olive oil             250g                0.134                    33.5                  
Coconut oil        250g                0.192                     48
Beef tallow         500g                0.140                     70
                                                                                                                   151.5

What about superfat?
This refers to adding EXTRA oil or fat, to ensure that the final soap product has some oil or fat content, rather than caustic.  Soaps used for the skin typically have a higher superfat rating (6%) than soaps used for cleaning (2%).  However, as you start with the amount of oil or fat and then work out the caustic, when you use the superfat rating, you effectively reduce the amount of caustic rather than increasing the amount of oil or fat.  In the example above, a 6% superfat rating results in the caustic being adjusted by 151.5x(100-6)/100=142g.

How much water to use?
Water is used to dissolve the caustic so that it can mix with the oil and fat.  If too little water is used, the fat and oil may not mix sufficiently to form the soap.  Too much water may prevent the soap from setting properly.  Water for cold process soap is usually 30-33% of the total oil and fat amount.  For the recipe above, the water should be 300-333g.

My two recipes
Based on the above information, I formulated two recipes, one for a bath soap and one for a cleaning soap.  If you want to use these recipes, you need to follow them exactly.  If you make any changes to the fat or oil used, then you need to recalculate the caustic and water, as described above.  Please make sure you understand the process before you attempt to formulate a soap recipe.

Bath soap
250g olive oil
250g coconut oil
500g tallow
6% superfat
142g caustic
300-330g water
lavender essential oil

Cleaning soap
250g olive oil
750g tallow
2% superfat
136g caustic
300-330g water
eucalyptus essential oil

I know there are some very experienced soap-makers reading this, so please do tell me if I've made any mistakes!  I hope you won't find anything that will affect the soap, as I've already made it! Now I'm curious, what type of fat and oil do you like to use and why?



You can get all my tallow soap recipes in my eBook Make Your Own Natural Soap, more information here.

 Would you like to try making your own soap from natural ingredients, but don’t know where to start? 
This eBook will take you through everything you need to know to make simple soaps from natural ingredients, including herbs, clays, charcoal, oatmeal and coffee grounds.

It also explains how to use tallow in soap. Tallow is cheap and locally available, and it makes long-lasting moisturising soaps, it is an under-utilised ingredient in home soapmaking in my opinion. This eBook includes 10 recipes specifically designed for tallow soap.

Basic Tallow Soap
Pink Clay Soap
Green Herb Soap
True Grit Soap
Black Magic Soap
Salt Spa Soap
Honey and Oatmeal Soap
Neem Oil Soap
Sustainable Shaving soap
Cleaning Soap
Formulate your own







My other soap posts:

Natural soap using beef tallow



Comments

  1. Really well written and clear and easy to understand. It must have taken you quite a time to get that post right. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well timed. I was intending to start a batch of soap tomorrow ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very nicely written explanation, although now I"m thinking soap making is a lot more complicated than I had thought. It seems like knitting - great for mathematically minded people, not so great for me. But maybe it I had lessons and got the "feel" of it, I could do it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. how exciting! After your last post I got all inspired and made a batch of soap. We've just started using it this week and it's lovely. Nice creamy and thick lather and very gentle on the skin.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How long do you let your bar soaps 'age' before use?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 6 weeks, if I can be patient enough...

      Delete
  6. Have you discovered the Soap Calc yet Liz? It's really handy and I use it every time I work out a new recipe: http://www.soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for sharing the link, I actually couldn't find one, that's why I worked it out, but I do like to know how these things work for myself, so it was worth the effort.

      Delete
  7. Hi Liz,
    Your post is featured on The Creative HomeAcre Hop today! Thanks for sharing! Hope you'll stop by and share more today!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/05/the-creative-homeacre-hop-is-growing.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. Have you ever incorporated milk into soap. I'd like to do that, as I've seen it, but not sure whether you use it instead of the water or what? I made soap years ago, but not recently....my plan for when I retire...ha ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lucy, I did think about it and I bought a book on milk soap when we first got our cow, but you actually don't use much milk, and it doesn't see worth the effort, I'd rather drink the milk or make cheese :) I will leave that to another blogger....

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  9. Are you familiar with the SoapMakingForum? (soapmakingforum.com) I think you'd like it, if you aren't already a member. There's a ton of great information about anything soap and body care related.

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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