When we had our last steer killed we asked the butcher for all the kidney fat, so we were both keen to try making some more soap using the tallow (how to render the fat). Pete helped me to make a batch of bath soap using tallow, coconut oil and olive oil, so get my confidence back after the last disaster (caused by not measuring properly). When we saw that batch was a success, we decided to finally try 100% tallow.
|our 100% beef tallow soap!|
The reason that we hadn't tried 100% tallow before was the higher temperatures required to keep the tallow liquid during the mixing for cold-process soap. I was nervous about it and wanted to practice using coconut oil and olive oil mixtures first, at lower temperatures. I modified the bath soap recipe that I published earlier to use 100% beef tallow.
100% beef tallow soap
1 kg tallow
132 g caustic
300-330 mL water
lavender essential oil
I melted the tallow, while Pete prepared the caustic. When both mixtures were at 55 degC we added the caustic solution to the melted tallow and essential oil, and mixed using a stick blender until the mixture reached "trace". Then we poured the mixture into one of Pete's stainless steel moulds.
When we saw the mixture starting to enter gel phase we both panicked that it was going to get too hot and volcano out of the mould.... so we put the mould in the bath, in luke warm water and positioned a pedestal fan over the soap mould..... maybe an over-reaction!
While gel-phase had been very breifly mentioned in the soap book I read originally, it didn't really explain the details, it was explained better here. Now I can see that the centre of our soap "gelled", but as we cooled the edges, it was a "partial gel phase". Would it have volcanoed if we didn't cool the soap mould? We will never know. But next time I would like to mix the soap at a lower temperature, as suggested by this blog. And we might let it go through gel-phase, just to see what happens.
The soap hasn't finished curing yet, so we haven't used it in the bath, but I will be interested to see if it smells like tallow. And if I care that is smells like tallow! Our goal with soap-making has always been to create a sustainable bar of soap, and using 100% tallow is about as close as we can get. Next step is to try to make our own lye....
Have you tried to make soap from tallow or lard? What temperature do you use and have you ever ended up with a volcano!?!
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