The Adventures of Amaryce in the World of Alchemy, Creating an Apothecary for All Those of The Nerd Persuasion.
Or, How I Taught My Husband To Make Beer Soap
The Great Cakes Soapworks challenge this month was a collaborator challenge. Either teach someone (18+) to make soap, or do a collaboration with someone who already knows how to make soap. My husband already has a mountain of stuff to make beer with, and since it's so similar to soapmaking, I thought I'd teach him.
(TL;DR? There are lots of pictures, scroll down to get the basic idea.)
Now, as things usually go, we decided on the soap he would make the day after he put his latest batch in the kegs to carbonate. He ACTUALLY had to buy beer! He chose a Saskatchewan made beer, Great Western Brewery, called Original 16.
I set a bottle of the bought beer out to go flat, then heated it just to a simmer to get rid of some of the alcohol. Into an ice cube tray and into our freezing garage after that. I got a couple goodies the day before we planned to make the beer.
Slightly jealous that I wasn't going to be the first to try the tallow or the mold, I used my new Soapmaker 3 software to calculate a slow moving recipe for my man. Once all the math was done, and the work space was set up, we went over lye safety. Again. And then, we began.
Even with beer as the liquid and sodium lactate added he had to stick blend for half an hour to get to trace. I had added the fragrance oil to the warmed oils before pouring in the lye since I had read it didn't accelerate at all. After much mixing, he finally poured the base into the tall & skinny mold.
He then put the lighter portion back in the rinsed mixing bowl and stick blended it. It took a lot less time, as it had been sitting all that time. He tried to work as much air and bubbles into the batter as he could. He carefully poured it onto the darker base in several layers, working more air into the remaining batter between each.
After letting the batter sit for a minute to get nice and firm on top, the white could be roughed up to look like sloshing foam. Since one of the girls had moved on to baking a cake, we couldn't put this in the oven to gel. And so, the crockpot! We used the temperature control system himself uses to help his beers stay at just the right temperature while aging. The cut off was set at 150F, and it was in for 2 hours.
It looked like it might have begun to overheat, there were small bubbles that smelled strongly of the fragrance oil. The oil absorbed back in, and we took it out of the mold by the second day despite 33% tallow in the mix! The first cut had a ring that looked like a beer glass, but it faded in 2 days. There was also some titanium dioxide glycerin rivers in the lighter layer, but when I warned him there might be he thought it would be a nice design feature. And it is! It really adds to the look of a solid beer with a foamy layer on top.
He cut them into big 6 oz bars for himself, so he only got 5 bars and then end pieces from this batch. They would be equally lovely as smaller bars, but I don't think he'll let anyone use any from this batch anyway! It was very interesting learning to teach, and I think I'd like to do it again. As usual, Amy Warden's challenge pushed me to do better!
And the name? Hair Of The Energetic Puppy.
My little handmade company is taking the leap online! Why, you ask? This is me at a recent craft fair.
Well, as you can see, it's actually my bored teen daughter. The show had a lot of amazing stuff, it was 2 weeks before Christmas, we even bought some presents. And yet it was completely dead. I barely managed to make back my table fee, let alone justify keeping my daughter with me rather than off babysitting, making actual money.
It wasn't that it was a bad sale, or in a bad location. The real issue was that the weather went from nice fall weather to -30C overnight. No one was going very far. The grocery stores were packed, the Walmart, but all those great little events on a weekend leading up to a holiday were empty.
And so, after a year of sales that could be amazing or terrible, I decided I'd rather spend my time, energy, and passion selling to the wider world. "Is There Pie?" soap can actually be a thing now! Or Laudanum, or rather Labdanum, lotion will be funny rather that just smell nice! They say to follow your passion, so here I go.