Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Favorite Household Use Soap Recipe


Many years ago my father got homemade soap from his niece and brought a recipe with it. I imagine that he wanted make it someday. He never did, but I have made countless batches of it, and it turns out perfect every time. I love it as it is a "flash" system of making soap - no need to mix for 40 minutes like any other recipe.
Soapmaking in Brazil is not seen as treasured craft, rather, a boring task that many housewives are to do to save some money. We use reclaimed kitchen oil and suet. Many will render it at home, some others buy at the butcher shop. It is cheap. The most costly item is lye followed by alcohol we usually buy at the gas station. It is called ethanol, used as car fuel. Here is the recipe:

4 liters reclaimed kitchen oil
2 liters melted suet (warm)
1 kg lye flakes
4 liters alcohol
2 liters cold water

In a sturdy bucket pour lye flakes slowly into 2 liters of water. Mix until well dissolved. Set aside. In a larger bucket (capacity of 18 liters), pour melted suet, oil and alcohol. Mix a bit. Pour lye solution slowly while mixing with another hand using a very long stick (such as wooden broom stick). It will trace very quickly - in less than 5 minutes in Brazilian warm climate. Alcohol speeds up the trace, so be ready to pour the soap into a proper container. I use a sturdy plastic (bus)tray (used in restaurants.) It will be hard for cutting next day and let it cure.
Tips: The soap is ready when it forms a foam in the center while mixing and when the mixture displays some honey like gel hanging on the stick. Do not take long to pour the soap or it may boil over by itself. If it does happen, let it subside by itself and then pour. Also, do not let it cool in the bucket. The alcohol releases some fume while in process, beware. It yields 20 kg.

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