Handmilling: the process of rebatching or remelting freshly grated soap with various scents and ingredients. An advantage to handmilling soap is that you can make several different types of soap from just one batch and use a variety of different mold shapes as well.
Supplies needed for Handmilling only:
- Any base Cold Process Soap Recipe
- Medium size pot
- Wooden spoon
- Whole milk or distilled water
- Essential or fragrance oils
- Additives such as grains, botanicals, soap colorants, etc.
- Plastic container with a lid
- Cheese grater
- A variety of molds of your choice
- Coffee bean grinder (optional)
- Follow the directions for any basic cold process soap recipe omitting the scent, grains, botanicals or colorants that may be in the recipe. You are now making plain soap free from any scent or additives other than oils, water and lye.
- Remove your freshly made soap from its block mold and allow it to air dry in a warm dry room for 3-7 days.
- Cut soap into chunks or bars and grate into your plastic container. You can store the unused portion in the container until you’re ready to handmill. The grated soap should have a consistency of mozzarella cheese. If the soap seems so soft to grate, let it air dry a few more days.
- Use the grated soap within a 4 month period. Store in the container in a cool dry place.
- Ready to handmill: Over medium/low heat, add some of the grated soap to your pot filling it to about 3/4 of the way. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of milk or water to the pot, adding more or less if necessary. Stir gently.
- The soap should begin to melt down and have the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. Stir occasionally adding more of the liquid if necessary. You do not want the soap to become runny, but all of the gratings should melt to a fairly smooth consistency.
- When your soap has melted down, remove it from the stovetop and let cool awhile. Prepare your ingredients and molds. If you are scenting all the soap in the pot with the same scent, add your essential oil, fragrance oil, or even perfume directly to the soap. If you’re making several different scents, then remove the portion needed for that particular scent. The amount of scent will depend on your liking, but as a guideline, about 1 oz per pound of soap. Scents will fade slightly over time, so its better to start out a little stronger.
- Add any additional ingredients such as botanicals, grains, colorants at this time. Stir in well.
- Pour into mold/molds. Handmilling allows soap makers to make a variety of soap scents and shapes from just one batch. The soap can also be poured into loaf molds and sliced into bars. Allow molded soap to harden uncovered overnight or several days. The freezer will also help to harden the molded soap and make the release much easier.
- Finished bars should cure (air dry) for several weeks.
Variations and ideas for handmilled soap: Exact measurements are not given, since the amount of melted soap may vary. Amounts suggested are based on 32 ozs of soap.
Calendula is known for its skin healing properties and tea tree essential oil for its antiseptic and blemish clarifying properties, make an unbeatable team.
~ Add 1/2 cup or less of dried calendula (petals only) and tea tree essential oil.
Goat’s Milk Soap
A good choice for sensitive skin. The mild creaminess of goat’s milk soap has been enjoyed for centuries.
~ Add 1/4 cup of powdered goat’s milk, several drops of Vitamin E oil, peppermint or lavender essential oil.
Milk & Honey Soap
Another great team, milk & honey together make a luxury bar for softening the skin with added moisture from the honey.
~ Add 1/4 cup of powdered milk and 1/8-1/4 cup of warm honey. Stir well to incorporate the honey. Some may sink to the bottom.
Lavender Oatmeal Soap
A traditional soap, lavender has been enjoyed for its lovely scent and oatmeal for exfoliating and skin softening properties.
~ Add Lavender essential oil, 1/2 cup finely grated oatmeal, 1/8 cup of finely grated dried lavender flowers.
No More Oily Skin
The addition of cosmetic clay removes impurities from oily skin.
~ Add 2 tablespoons of Kaolin (China Clay), lemon or lime essential oil.
A classic soap for purifying the skin.
~ Add rose fragrance oil or rosewood essential oil, 1/8 cup of finely ground dried rose petals, 2 tablespoons of liquid glycerin, may substitute water in recipe for rosewater, pink soap colorant.
Fresh Banana Soap
A tropical soothing and mild to the skin soap.
~ Add 1/2 – 1 whole smashed banana, 1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil, our Bananaroma fragrance oil or any banana and/or coconut fragrance oil of your preference.
Gardener’s Grit Soap
The addition of cornmeal or pumice make this a working hands soap. This is also a good one for the guys!
~ Add 1/4-1/2 cup of cornmeal, several drops of Vitamin E oil, juniper or citronella essential oil.