Monday, January 20, 2014

All about the soaps I make.

I make a modest amount of soap for sale and I obsess over the ingredients.  I put them up on my weebly storefront, but I can't add the entire length of what I want to say there.  So, I'll put it here.

First, I start with goat milk.  Milked from our own goats (right now Zada is the one in milk).  I use first quality drinking milk for soap.  There's nothing wrong with using "dump" milk for soap, I just don't, merely personal preference.  Goat milk is high in vitamin A, contains loads fatty acids, minerals, other vitamins, and cream.  I use very fresh, full fat, raw goat milk.

Then I use lye to start the chemical reaction that is soap.  I use food grade lye.  I  handle it with caution and lock it in a cabinet when it's not used.  Again this is a personal preference, I prefer the purity of the food grade product, there's no reason to think the non food grade is a problem. (more about lye...

Then all those nourishing oils:

* Olive oil.  Approximately 80% of my soap is pure, food grade olive oil.  I actually buy it at Costco instead of a soap supplier and it's the same olive oil that I cook with.  I'm uncomfortable with pomace grade olive oil....more about that here...
There are no studies saying pomace olive oil is bad for you, again this is a personal preference.  Part of my aspiration for a pure, clean, safe that I use on myself and my own babies.  This high quantity of olive oil, makes for a soap that is nearly a castille soap.  Castille soaps are known for being very gentle, but they do cloud the water.  Very moisturizing as well.

* Coconut oil.  I use the same coconut oil you see at the store for cooking.  There doesn't appear to be the purity issues with coconut oil like there is with olive oil, thankfully. Coconut oil is very cleansing, great for sudsing.

* Cocoa butter.  I use a food grade, organic cocoa butter.  It smells like chocolate because I won't use the deodorized version, which uses some chemicals to strip the scent and color.  So it contributes to a slight yellow color and a little to the scent.  Cocoa butter gives a little hardness, a lot of moisturizing to the soap.

* Shea butter. I adore shea butter!  I buy organic unrefined shea butter.  It's yellow, smells smoky and is oh-so moisturizing.  (I sometimes use it raw on my hands, it's heavenly!)  The smokiness comes from the way they separate the butter from the nut and the scent is a contributor to the scent of the soaps.  It lends an earthy scent to them.  I make a simple whipped shea butter that I use on my daughter for diaper care, so gentle and effective.  This ingredient is mainly for moisturizing.

* Castor oil is a thick oil that I use primarily for it's ability to improve the sudsing nature of the soap.  It is an edible oil, not that I'd suggest it.

These make up the base ingredients of my soap.  I use a lot of natural colorants, most of them food grade but a few are mica based.  All of my fragrance oils are paraben and phalate free.  My essential oils are pure essential oils.  I use only ingredients that I feel comfortable with my kids handling- minus the lye- you can't make soap without lye and it's never kid safe.  No unreacted lye remains in soap.  The soap I make has an extra 5% fat beyond what is needed for the chemical reaction so you get a safe soap with a little extra moisturizing.

I DO NOT use Palm oil.  I think the impact on the animals and the people in the regions where palm oil is grown is completely horrible.  I'm not even comfortable with sustainable palm oil, because it continues the demand for palm oil products.  I feel my soap is a great soap without palm oil and I'm much happier knowing that it's not only a safe product, but a product that doesn't come with all those environmental woes.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Trade School Indy: Cheese Making 101

I signed on to be a Trade School Indy Instructor!  It's a very exciting way for me to share the love of cheese making with more people and I'm supporting the Julian Center too.

If you are here because of Trade School Indy, welcome!  Welcome to my blog!  I have a couple of posts related to cheese making I'll add links to at the bottom of this post.

To those who will be attending my class, all you'll need is milk and cheese cloth.  I'll be providing you with recipes and an outline and my business card which has my contact info on it.  I have a Facebook group just for cheese making class questions:

I post articles related to cheese making and class schedules.  I do teach a few classes beyond 101 if you decide you want more than just the basics.

About milk, you are looking for raw, gently pasteurized or standard temp pasteurization.  Ultra-pasteurized, flash pasteurized and aseptic milks will not work for mozzarella.  If that's all you can find though, bring it, we'll still use it.  It still makes ricotta and soft cheese fine.