Tuesday, May 30, 2023

From Susan in the soap factory…


Susan writes from the soap factory…

Every once in a while we begin testing a new soap scent. It can be a long process, so not undertaken lightly.

Both Sarah and a private client have requested a Pine Tar soap. Ok…I’ve put it off a bit, because I’m not a fan of pine tar….

But then again…Sarah doesn’t like the Saltwater soap and it’s one of our biggest sellers. [See below]

Always a librarian, I embarked on the research first.

Pine tar is a very thick resin…kind of like molasses. And it seems that it makes the soap ‘trace’ very fast. That means that it gets thick quickly and is sometimes hard to get into the soap mold smoothly and without air pockets. Not something I’m a fan of.

First I read that you should mix first with some of the hot oils in the recipe. It helps to ‘melt’ the pine tar a bit and incorporate it smoothly with the oils. No need for an essential oil….pine tar has its own strong scent. This makes testing so easy….it’s the fragrance blending that takes so long when developing a new bar…

After looking at different recipes, I wanted to use our basic recipe (just 4 ingredients: olive, coconut, castor, and shea butter). I added 10% pine tar to our basic recipe and then recalculated the amount of lye it would take to saponify the whole batch.

Around the same time, I was teaching my Soap and Business Residency. Matthew, one of my students, was also interested in testing pine tar soap. So we divided a very small recipe (less than 1 pound) and tried it out. It came out great.

Later I made a bigger batch….just 2 pounds of soap. Still small enough to have good control over the possibility of a fast trace. I usually use an immersion blender to speed up the process, but it wasn’t necessary with the pine tar. Just stirring for a few minutes was enough to get a trace and pour it into the mold.

Next, I made a 15-pound batch. Testing a larger quantity means more heat is generated. And more heat means faster trace that can lead to soap so thick it’s hard to get it into a mold.

All is well….the pine tar is done….it had some good reviews from the staff.

The next buyers on our website get to try a bar.

Just put ‘pine tar’ in the note section and I’ll send you a bar…as long as the test bars last.

— Susan

1 comment:

count buckula said...

big up to all my 'pine tar' massive