Some Seriously Pink Soap!
I've been trying to figure out a way to show you the different stages of cooking a batch of soap because it is some pretty fascinating stuff, but my main problem was that I don't usually like to color my soap (I get a thrill out of seeing the natural variations in color that the soap produces on its own based on the ingredients in it) and I figured it'd be harder to see the action on "blank" soap. Because I had been wanting to make some watermelon-scented soap for a while, I figured that by coloring the soap pink it would make it easier to see all the crazy things that the soap does at the various stages of the cooking process.
I decided I was going to make some Agua de Sandia soap. Those of you who are familiar with aguas frescas have already started drooling, I guar-ohn--teee! Agua de sandia literally translates to "watermelon water" and is a tasty and super refreshing Mexican concotion. All you do is blend watermelon, sugar, and water and serve it over ice. That's the simple version - I'll get to the fancified version in a bit.
Some soapmakers use a little trick of adding sugar to their soap in order to make it lather more. A spoonful of sugar not only helps the medicine go down, it also helps the bubbles go up! This saves them from having to invest in pricey oils or additives that would boost the soap's lather. I figured this was the perfect thing to do for this batch, since my recipe called for watermelon scent and water and all I needed was sugar in order to make it a true agua de sandia formula. The problem? I didn't have sugar in my pantry. Technically. What I DID have was a box of sugar cubes. Sugar cubes make me happy because they're like tasty Legos. Who can resist building sweet little structures out of those teensy squares?? I was a little nervous about how hard it would be to mix the cubes into the lye water, but thanks to my stick blender everything worked out juuuusssst fine.
|Stick blending the oils and lye|
(Or soap at thick trace, if you wanna get all technical on me!)
|Run for yer liiiiives! It's a Pepto Bismol tidal wave! :O|
|*cue "Glycerine" by Bush (...the band, not Sr. or W.)* |
It's starting to look like a half-brain, dontcha think?
What do you see in this "cloud" of soap batter?
I see that the poor Cheshire cat suffered a tragic accident involving an acid peel and a garbage disposal, resulting in his face looking like a chewed wad of bubble gum...
Once the soap has finished cooking, you let it cool down a little bit and then mix in your scent and whatever additives you might have set aside. You stir stir stir, and then glop your smelly taters into your mold.
|Ooooh, pink mashed potatoes! Nom nom nom!!!|
Once the soap has cooled down and hardened, you pop it out of the mold and cut it into bars. I like to let mine sit for a week or two in order to harden and dry a bit more, but the nice thing about hot process soap is that it's ready to use as soon as it comes out of the mold. Sweeet.
How many of you remember the Log jingle on Ren & Stimpy? Good times.
Hope you enjoyed seeing the different stages of soap! I was honestly surprised at how pink this batch turned out. Holy hot pink, Batman!! Next time I'll tone it down a little. As it was cooking and bubbling away, it looked like a big throbbing brain. Mojo Jojo immediately came to mind, although I also couldn't help but think of Pinky and the Brain... hmm, guess I had cartoons on the brain and it wasn't even Saturday morning! I'm already plotting my next batch of Agua de Sandia soap based on a fancy version of the drink that I found online. It calls for agave nectar and mint, both of which I happen to have handy. I have packets of peppermint tea sitting around begging to be used, and I think the contents of them will look nice swirled into the soap because the tea leaf flecks are dark, so it'll make them look like watermelon seeds. AY CARAMBA, I can't wait!!