It certainly has been a hotter summer for Michigan than normal. We've had several really warm days. These are usually reserved for the month of August. Today has been a record setter all across the states. We shut up the house, put sheets over the windows without curtains and turned on all the fans. Alas, no air in this old farmhouse. It has worked fairly well. It is now evening. I have slowly been opening a few doors and windows as the temps drop. Maybe I can cool it down enough to keep the house cool again tomorrow. The past two weeks have been busy making it hard to to find time to soap. So much on my schedule that my plate seems to be overfilled. A three day hand's on session at MSU working with the search and rescue dogs, the Jackson and Allen St markets, my dad is having some serious health issues and my husband had an overnight stay in the hospital as well.
So in spite of the temps reaching over 90 degrees I decided today was the day
to do soap. I had four different beers that I had frozen in the freezer that I have been looking forward to trying.
Well, maybe I shoud have waited for the temps to drop! First batch started out as an epic failure. I had a coffee flavored beer, some nice coffee fragrance oil, and a sample of coffee butter all planned out for this special soap. Sounds wonderful doesn't it! I made a small cup of coffee to use as the additional liquid with the beer and added my lye... hmm. First clue something might be off. Never saw my lye mix get thick quite like that. When It cooled I added it to my oils and I could see right away there was going to be an issue. Oh dear, a serious, lumpy conglomeration.
I decided to hot process the entire congealing mess. I am a cold process soaper, meaning that I heat my oils, cool them and the lye to about the same temp, then mix the two until it saponifies. Then I pour the soap into my molds and allow time for the soap to gel before it hardens enough to cut into bars. Hot process is exactly what it sounds like... cooking the mix together to bring it to the gel phase. The nice thing about HP is that the curing time is greatly shortened. The flip side is that you are working with lye and the process is hot.
I poured the mess into the crock pot to heat up. It took some time but eventually I could see that the oils/lye were mixing as it heated. After a couple of hours I added the coffee fragrance and plopped the whole thing into the mold. Well, it's not pretty! Definitely looks more like the old fashion soap bars, a bit lumpy even! But it does smell like a good pot of coffee. I did the "zap" test and surprisingly I did not get a charge. (you ask... what is a zap test? It's like touching your tongue to a 9-volt battery to see if you get a zap. No zap, no lye!)
I made two more batches with strawberry and blueberry beers. No drama with them thank goodness. Not so sure how blue my color will be in the end result for
the blueberry. Again, time will tell and these will need the full 4-6 weeks of curing. Considering the high heat temps and humidity it may even take a bit more time to cure in this old house.
As for the coffee soap... I will unmold in the next day or so. I know it's already soap not only did it pass the zap test, but when I washed out the crock pot I got lots and lots of soapy bubbles! I am going call it "Cowboy Coffee". It reminds me of the coffee our camping neighbors made every morning. Mrs E. literally threw the grounds into the pot of water, boiled it over a fire then poured it into our coffee cups, floating grounds and all!