whipped soap

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during my journey in and around the various soap groups and forums, i've run across the term "whipped soap" several times. i just thought it was another way of referring to "cream soap", and in most of those instances, it was. however, i recently happened upon this "whipped soap" site and was amazed to find that this time it was something completely different ...a whole new soap process. actually, it's not totally new; it's a variation on the cold process. but it is new in that it produces a completely unique product, a light, aerated, creamy soap ...that floats. also, because of the soap's unique physical character, it allows for a whole range of creative possibilities not available with regular cp bar soap.
the beauty of this process lies in its simplicity. it entails using [a greater portion of] hard oils that are solid at room temperature, whipping that until fluffy, and then adding the [smaller portion of] soft oils, and finally the lye solution. that's it! no cooking ... no tracing ... no gelling.
i want to thank "terry nisbet" for sharing this wonderful process. i'm kinda late in jumping on this wagon, as indicated from the entries in his "pioneers' diary". there've been many people from around the world experimenting and developing this new process for a while now (since aug. '05). why am I just hearing about it now in may '07? well, better late than never. this process, added to the "bar soap", "liquid soap", "cream soap", and "transparent m&p soap" processes, rounds out and completes the soapmaking repertoire.

the following outlines my procedure for making whipped bar soap: -- (see "soap recipes" for the quantities and ingredients used in this process.)
select your oils.
this process depends on using a greater amount (no less than 90%) of hard oils. in this example, i'm using a combination of palm, coconut, and shea butter. my soft oils consists of olive and castor.
combine your hard oils and set aside.

in this process, the oils don't have to be ...should not be ...melted together. however, because i want to blend the goat's milk into the oils (with a stick blender), i'm melting [just] the hard oils together, blending in the goat's milk powder*, and then letting it completely cool down and return to a solid state.
* you can only do this with the dry goat's milk powder. see "making goat's milk soap" for more details on this procedure.

combine together the soft oils and set aside.
prepare the lye solution.
determined the lye amount (using a "lye calculator"), and blend with [distilled] water in the usual manner for cp bar soap. place the [lye] container in the frige; you want this solution to be "chilled" when you use it.
whip the hard oils.
your hard oils should be cool, at room temperature -- not even a little bit warm. whip these [hard] olls until light and fluffy.
in this instance you want to use a mixer with beaters (or wisks), not the usual stick blender. i used a hand mixer for this 1-lb batch, however for large batches, a stand mixer, if available, would make easier work of this.

add the soft oils.
slowly blend in the soft oils and whip until the mixture returns to a light and fluffy texture.
add the "chilled" lye solution.
slowly blend in the lye solution and whip until the mixture returns to a light and fluffy texture.
be careful of any spatters. just because the lye solution is "chilled", it's still raw lye. do observe all the usual safety precautions.

this is the time to get creative.
the soap will remain in this fluffy pliable state for about 30 minutes. during this time you are free to color, scent, incorporate additives, separate into different batches, put into piping bags and create soap flowers and other shapes, etc. ...whatever you can think up.
as the bars were drying, i noticed the colors faded a bit. however, upon using the bar, i realized this was just due to the surface ash, not unlike that which can occur with regular cp bars. after using the bar (i.e. washing off the surface layer), the colors returned to their original depth.
this type of soap seems to really hold onto the scent, so you may not need to add as much fragrance as usual.

the "pioneers' diary" page has many examples of what some others are doing with this type of soap.
this type of soap will stick to the mold, so there some precautions to observe.
if you're making soap flowers or other designs with a piping bag, simply pipe the soap onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper.
if you're making one slab or loaf to be cut later, line your mold with plastic wrap (or whatever) that can be "pulled" away from the soap. be aware that this kind of soap isn't dense like regular bar soap, and "crumbles" when you try to cut it with a knife. you have to use a "wire" to get a clean cut. or you can come up with your own method. (in one instance the slab was cut with a "pull down" power saw.)
if you're using cavity molds, be aware that this soap "sticks" to the mold. however, if you grease your molds, and place the molded soap in the freezer for one hour, and then let it come to room temperature, the soap will pull away from the mold and releases cleanly and easily. this method causes a lot of condensation to form on the bar. although this doesn't seem to hurt the bar, it can be avoided by placing the molded soap in a sealed plastic bag and leaving it there until it returns to room temperature. the condensation forms on the bag and not the soap.

let the soap bars (or whatever shapes) cure [in the usual manner] for two weeks. during this time, the soap will continue to saponify and harden.
10 ...and voila!
these are the four full size bars i formulated from this batch.
with this bar (3.5" x 2.375" x 1.25"), i wanted to see how well the mold's surface detail would hold up. as you can see, it does. i also wanted to see how botanicals (in particular hibiscus flower powder) would react. when i first added it to the soap, it reacted in the usual manner and turned black, but as i continued to blend it, the blackness disappeared (???) the pink coloring comes from the addition of transparent red soap coloring. it started out a slightly deeper color but upon drying, faded to pale pink. i scented this with "eros", a blend of ginger, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang, and vetiver.
in this bar (3" x 3" x 1.25"), i incorporated 2 tsp. oatmeal powder and scented with a vanilla musk blend. i left this bar uncolored. so far, the vanilla fragrance oil hasn't discolored the soap. i'll re-evaluate the discoloration ...or lack thereof ...in about a month. -- one month later, the bar had shifted from snowy white to ecru, but only just ...so light that a photo would show the bar as still being white.
with this bar (3" x 3" x 1.25"), i wanted to both test the mold's surface detail and to try a swirl. (it's kinda difficult to do a swirl within a single mold cavity ...the effect works best when you swirl a larger area and then cut bars from that.) notice the inconsistencies in the bar's surface. it is imperative that you "tap" the mold on the counter surface to force the soap into all the nooks and crevices, otherwise you end up with gaps. with this bar, i was concentrating on the swirling and forgot to "tap" the mold. i scented this bar with a "light" citrus blend. i want to see how the scent holds up over time ...i'll hold onto this bar and evaluate the scent after a month. -- one month later, the scent had faded to faint (as with regular bar soap), but in use ...with the heat of the water, the fragrance was still very much there.
with this bar (3.75" x 2.675" x 1.25"), i attempted another swirl, scenting the purple with bulgarian lavender and the white (uncolored) with a patchouli blend. in this instance, the swirl worked out a little better, but again, i failed to "tap" the mold and ended up with gaps in the surface.

actually i ended up with five bars. i first divided the batch into quarters, but i had soap left over after molding each of the four bars. so, on the fly, i combined all the remaining soap together into a fifth mold. in future 1-lb batches, i'll know to divide the soap into five portions.
the first thing you'll notice is how "light" the bars feel [when you pick them up]. this is because a lot of the bar is whipped air ...which accounts for the extra volume. there's less actual soap in the bar. because of this, i was prepared for these bars to last [not quite] as long as the typical cp bar, but in actuality, i haven't noticed any difference.