my rebatch (the way i do it)

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i've read many horror stories about rebatching and can understand why those who so dislike the process feel the way they do. i, however, decided to embrace it and set out to find a method that would worked for me.
the success stories i've read all seem to involve tallow or lard based soaps. these rebatch [more] easily since the cooked soap returns to a liquid, pourable state. this didn't address my needs since i only use vegetable oils in my cp soap base.
i did read of a soaper's success using the bag boiling method, so i bought some oven bags from the grocer, filled one with enough grated soap for one bar, sealed the bag and placed it in a pot of boiling water for one hour. things seemed to be going well, but then, the bag ruptured and spilled the soap into the boiling water. this was unfortunate since the bag method afforded me the ability to really mix (read knead) all the ingredients thoroughly [in the bag] and didn't create any mess to clean up later. feeling a bit disappointed, i headed back to the drawing board.
upon reviewing the various rebatching processes, i saw that with the crock pot, double boiler, and oven methods, you have to cook the soap for several hours at a low temperature. however, with the microwave method, the soap cooks in a matter of minutes. it occured to me that if i placed the grated soap in an oven bag, and placed that inside a microwavable container, (sealing the bag, not airtight, but just enough to close it and still let any excess steam escape), i might still be able to use the bag method with the added benefit of the [very] short cooking time.
bottom line, it works.
here's how it goes:
please note that i developed the following procedure for processing/designing soap on an individual bar basis. for batch processing of larger quantities [i.e. 1-lb. or more], this "may not" prove to be a suitable method.
if you're rebatching larger quantites because you want to add your goat's milk [powder] and/or essential/fragrance oils after saponification, see my notes on the hot process (making bar soap from scratch, step 7).
decide the weight you want the bar to be and measure out that amount of grated soap. put it in an oven bag. measure out all the additives including colorant and mix them together. if necessary, add just enough water (or other liquid ...e.g. aloe vera) to make the mixture a "moist slurry". this will insure that it mixes completely and evenly. measure separately your fragrance.
seal the bag with a tie. place the bag in a microwavable container (no lid) and nuke it. this is the tricky part. it all happens so fast ...depending on the amount of moisture in the grated soap and whether or not you added any liquid. with this method, you need little or no added liquid. (since I rebatch my soap while it's "fresh" and has not yet cured, I don't use any liquid unless needed to moisten the additions.) nuke at half power for 15 seconds.
remove from microwave. the bag will be hot so wear rubber gloves, oven mits, or use a towel to prevent burning your hands. knead the bag of soap to insure even distribution of the cooked portion. repeat [steps 2 and 3] until the soap turns into a mush the consistency of soft mash potatoes. it'll only take a couple of minutes. these short burst will insure that the soap cooks thoroughly and evenly.
be very careful not to over nuke. you could burn the soap, turning it brown and smelly, and/or cause it to bubble over, it'll quickly expand in size. this is another advantage of using the bag with the microwave method. if it should bubble over, it'll be contained in the bag, you won't waste the soap, and you won't have a messy microwave to clean up. at the same time, be sure you nuke it enough so all the soap shavings are completely melted or you'll end up with bits of unmelted soap in your finished bar. this will not ruin your bar but it's not generally desirable ...unless this is the effect you're going for.
open the bag and add all the additives, except the fragrance. re-seal the bag and knead until everything is mixed in thoroughly and evenly. if any coloring (or additive which imparts color) is added, this can be a visual indication of how thoroughly the additives have been incorporated. if you don't want an even color, save the coloring until last and don't mix it through thoroughly. this will give an [unpredictable] mottled effect.
note: if you want a mixture of colors, you could add your base color here, mix it in thoroughly and then add your contrasting color(s) last.
return to microwave for one lasts 10 second burst. this will softened the mixture in case it has started to set up. this will insure you get all (or most) of the soap out of the bag and into the mold.)
add your fragrance and knead thoroughly. at this point the soap will be hot. you can let it cool a bit before adding the fragrance, but if it cools too much, it'll start setting up and you won't be able to get it all out of the bag'll require reheating. you'll develop a feel for when it's cool enough but not too cool.
finish by adding any remaining color, working it only until the desire effect is achieved.
snip the corner of the bag and using it like a pastry bag, pipe the mixture into the greased mold.
as you're filling the mold, bang it repeatedly against the table to settle the mixture and to fill any voids. this is especially good if the mold has a surface design. it forces the soap into all the nooks and crannies.
the ease in getting the soap out of the bag and into the mold, (as well as the amount of soap you get out of the bag and into the mold}, will depend alot on how much moisture is in the soap. you want to add as little moisture as possible (none if you can) to the melted soap, but if the soap is too dry (i.e. it has been partially or completely cured), it will thicken too readily and be difficult to work with.
place the mold into the freezer and, when thoroughly chilled, unmold. the bar should pop right out. cure for however long is necessary ...the longer, the harder and longer-lasting the bar.
below are examples of soap hand milled (rebatched) from my first three batches. each bar shows the list of additives incorporated into the base soap. the colorant used is a triple-concentrated gel; all colors derived from the primaries: red, blue, yellow, black, and white. the recipes for the "fragrance blends" are listed on the "fragrance formulas" page.
the follow three examples are all 5.25 oz. - 5.5 oz. bars with a soap base of 47% olive oil, 23.5% each coconut oil and palm oil, and 6% castor oil.
1 tsp. goat's milk (dry)
1 tsp. kaolin clay
1 tsp. ground basil
1-2 tsp. aloe vera (to moisten milk/clay/basil)
color: 3 drops red transp., 2 yellow transp., 1 blue transp., 2 black oxide
160 drops "conifer" fragrance blend
1 tsp. goat's milk (dry)
1 tsp. kaolin clay
1-2 tsp. aloe vera (to moisten milk/clay)
.5 tsp. emu oil
.25 tsp. stearic acid
.5 tsp. aloe vera
115 drops "vanilla musk" fragrance blend
"creamy emuloe"
2 tbs. goat's milk (dry)
1-2 tsp. aloe vera (to moisten milk)
1 tsp. honey
color: 2 drops black oxide; 5 drops red transparent
132 drops "herbal rose" fragrance blend

the next four examples are all 5.25 oz. - 5.5 oz. bars with a castille soap base (100% olive oil).
1 tbs. goat's milk (dry)
2 tsp. oatmeal
.25 tsp. crushed grape seeds
1-2 tsp. aloe vera (to moisten milk/oatmeal/seeds)
1 tsp. honey
color: 5 drops red oxide; 2 black oxide
85 drops vanilla fragrance oil
15 drops vanilla absolute
"milk & honey   
oatmeal scrub"
1 tbs. calendula petals
1 tsp. honey
.5 tsp. aloe vera
.5 tsp. emu oil
.25 tsp. stearic acid
color: 2 drops red oxide, 2 yellow oxide
192 drops "autumn" fragrance blend
"honey orange
1 tbs. goat's milk (dry)
1 tsp. kaolin clay
1-2 tsp. aloe vera (to moisten milk/clay)
color: 25 drops white oxide
133 drops "carnation" fragrance blend
"white carnation"
1 tbs. goat's milk (dry)
1 tsp. kaolin clay
1-2 tsp. aloe vera (to moisten milk/clay)
1 tsp. shea butter (5 gm.)
color: 12 drops black oxide
192 drops "smoke" fragrance blend
"smoky shea"

this next example is a 5.5 oz. bar whose soap base of 6.2% castor oil, 2.2% cocoa butter, 23.2% coconut oil, 2.2% emu oil, 41% olive oil, 6.6% palm oil, 16.5% palm kernel oil, and 2.2% shea butter is made with goat's milk. see "making goat's milk soap" for more on soap bases made with goat's milk.
.25 tsp. titanium dioxide
75 drops "coolwater" fragrance oil
"goat's milk"