Nizzy's Whipped Soap
Gallery of Photos Click here!
Diary of Whipped Soap Pioneers
A 'Timeline' of whipped soap from some very enthusiastic soapers from around the globe. See photos of their craft.
Standard soap making safety precautions are to be observed.
Here’s a really fun way make soap, it allows you to stretch your imagination and artistic talents. Using a cake mixer, the older style mixers with either a single or double whisk attachment. You cannot use ‘Stick Blenders’ with this method, they don’t whip enough volume into the oils needed. I also use a hand held double beaters mixer with the same success as using my larger ‘Kenwood’ mixer with a single whisk. Standard soap making safety precautions are to be observed.
The caustic soda/water mix used in this whipped method should be used cold or even chilled to obtain the best results.
Safety Tip: Whipped soap is just Cold Process soap put together a little differently and at room temperature therefore the same respect must be given to it as you give your cold process soap. Whipped soap takes a few days or even a week to get really hard and it is still saponifying during this period. Don't wash with it until it is matured. I would say 3 to 4 weeks but its even better when left longer.
I suggest you go and view the photos in the gallery first, I have tried to set them up in some sort of order from the mixing of the fats and oils through to showing how I achieved my final results. All the information is contained in the text below, there are no hidden secrets, my aim is to share my methods among other soapers and to inspire you to become even more creative.
Gelling - Saponification - Covering Whipped Soap
As there are so many different ways people can ‘soap’ (some cover and insulate, some don’t need to, some use the sun, others use towels) I’ve posted my whipped soap tutorials to show people a different method of making soap before it goes into your moulds - so if you normally have to insulate your batches for 24 hours then that’s what you should do.
In the early days I did cover my whipped soap or placed the box in a cold oven just to keep the atmosphere off it. In the latter years I stopped covering it altogether and found out it didn’t suffer with any ‘Ash’. So I no longer cover it, not that I make a lot of it these days.
Covering CP (Cold Process) soap helps with keeping the warmth inside and promotes the gel process. I can’t say that I have ever seen whipped soap which appears like it is gelling as compared with CP, the dark transparent look CP has about it when its gelling. But whipped soap can warm up and I guess it does go through a gelling period, but not as CP soap does.
I prefer my own whipped soap not to warm up. I like it to stay at room temps and slowly saponify. The caustic soda will do it's job even at room temperatures.
So I guess you can make up your own mind if you want to cover the whipped soap or not. Maybe cover it but only to keep insects off not to insulate it to promote the gelling phase.
Best results are achieved if you can pipe the soaps with a piping bag. This results in less touching of the soap and you only have one side to peel away from the liner. Try adding two or three colours to the piping bag to get nice blended colours. Try placing the colours down the sides of the piping bag and not mixing them too much.
Next best would be using a log mould but be aware that you will need a wire cutter to slice them into bars. A knife will only split the soap.
Silicon muffin moulds or silicone log moulds work beautifully, they just pop right out no matter how long you leave them to set. Again if you use the silicone log mould you will need to slice them with a wire. Read the new edit notes at the bottom of this page. There are some new techniques for successfully cutting and unmoulding whipped soap.
With this tutorial you will begin to think ‘outside of the square’ to achieve some really attractive effects. I can show you what I have achieved so far but I’m sure you will think of other ways to utilise this method to create other artistic pieces. I love to inspire and see other soapers work, you can email me any photos of your creations if you wish.
These 4 recipes below are in metric grams.
The set rule if your designing your own recipe is that the major part of the oils must be a 'hard' or 'solid' oils these are the oils which set firm at room temperatures. These can be Tallow, Lard etc or any of the hydrogenised vegetable oils. You need this firmness to allow the oil or fat to be whipped or creamed into a light fluffy texture. I have found the best one to use is Palm Oil but I have successfully used Tallow and a blend of half Coconut Oil and half Lard. Adding the soft oils after the harder oils have been whipped light and fluffy. Just make sure you put your new recipe through a soap calculator to check that the caustic soda is balanced correctly.
Chill Your Caustic Soda/Water ( Lye Mix):
Caustic Soda or Lye Water Mix must be cold, if it's a cold day then room temperature should be fine but if the weather is warm chill the mix before pouring into the beaten oils. If the caustic/water mix is warm it will collapse the aerated mix down to a pudding like consistency and although you will still end up with soap in the end you cannot pipe it out into different shapes. Some soapers have used this pudding like mix to make more traditional styled swirls and set it in a slab mould. It will still saponify and ends up to be a useable product.
Lining your mould is essential using this method, the soap tends to grip the surface area of the mould box so you need to line the mould and leave it alone to set till its firm enough to handle then peel away the liner. You will work out which is the best technique to use as you go along. I remove the bars from the dividers as soon as the soap is firm enough to push them out of the cavities. Because this whipped soap tends to stick firmer to the dividers you don't want to leave them until they are set hard, they will be difficult to slide off the dividers, they come out with a rougher surface but it can easily be smoothed and cleaned up with a ‘Nizzy Planer’ or the blade of sharp a knife.
You will find if you let the soap set too hard then by forcing the bars out they will have a tendency to flake on the edges making them uneven and not very attractive. Having said that I have not left these soaps in the mould box or dividers longer than 24 hours so that will be something will need to experiment with, if you leave them longer email me and let me know of your achievements.
Whip up the harder oils till they are soft and fluffy, then add the softer oils and whip it up again. The mix may look a little soft but lastly add the 'chilled' caustic soda/water mix slowly and carefully. Slow the mixer down to add this and add in small amounts. The soft mix will firm up again after adding the caustic soda/water mix. I give it a good whipping again then its ready to colour and fragrance.
Some fragrance oils (FO’s) will effect the softness of the mix after about ten minutes, you can feel how it is getting thicker. While other FO’s will have no reaction at all and you can take your time with your colouring and decoration. Make a note of those FO’s that speed things up so you will know which ones you need to work faster with. I have had no speeding up at all using essential oils (EO’s). I suppose you can compare the speeding up or the thickening of the mix to that of cold process soap seizing but it is more controllable using this method.
Colours will lighten quite a lot after drying so if your colours look a bit bright or even garish, don’t worry, once the soap begins to dry out the colour will fade.
I use a standard balanced Cold Process recipe which you can adapt to whatever fats & oils you may have on hand but the larger portion of the recipe will need to be one of the harder oils as it will not whip up light and fluffy. I think the percentage of softer oils i.e. Olive, Canola, Rice Bran, etc are just right although you can use less if you wish, but adding any more will interfere with the volume of the whipped soap, it will flatten the bulk of the mix if you add too much soft oil.
This method can be used the ‘Nizzy’ Mould Boxes, but let me warn you, this is a trade off. Get them out as soon as you can handle them. The sides will not be smooth like you get from the Cold Process Method, but using the ‘Nizzy Planer’ or a sharp blade you can gently scrape the sides of the bars of soap to improve presentation, for example to enhance the different layers or bring out the design when the colours have been swirled together.
This soap method is achieved by beating the hard oils with a cake beater or electric mixer, the ones with beaters or whisks NOT a ‘Stick Blender’, we are aiming to beat the hard oil or fat till it is light and fluffy and lump free. The caustic soda (lye) and water mix is added in small amounts and care taken so it doesn’t splash out of the bowl. It’s a good idea to keep the children away from the mixer while beating.
When the mix is ready to colour and fragrance you can also use it as a soap frosting to pipe on bars of soap, it will stick quite firmly when it is dry.
The mix was still soft after thirty minutes so that should give you plenty of time to add colour, fragrance and get it into the mould. Be aware that some 'Fragrant Oils' will accelerate the mix which is similar to seizing in normal Cold Process soap. It just happens slower but your 'play' time is cut considerably. If your wanting to use whipped soap just for piping detailed decorations then I suggest you don't use any fragrance at all, just colour.
I place a folded towel on top of the bench and after spooning the mix into the mould box I give it a few good hard solid bangs on the towel sitting on the bench. The towel should absorb the shock of the banging. This helps to alleviate any pockets of air trapped in the mix. But not all will be dislodged as this is a ‘whipped’ method and its something you will have to live with. You can see in the photographs just how smooth and bubble free you can get the soap. I’m simply explaining that sometimes bubbles will be there.
Because air is beaten into the mix it is much lighter than a normal bar of soap. I have been running some tests these past weeks to find out the minimum and maximum amount of water to use. This is a standard CP balanced recipe. You can reduce the water if you like or if you want a really light soap you can increase the water above that of the standard recipe, more about that later but remember the more water you use to make it lighter the faster the soap will disappear when using it. Yes! You certainly gain lots more volume but the trade off is it goes faster in the shower. I have found a nice balance between the two extremes and that balance just happens to be your standard balanced Cold Process method.
Fragrant Oils and Essential Oils
I have been using Brambleberry’s fragrant oils (FO) with these early tests and all of them so far have behaved admirably, no seizing of the mix, however I should explain that its not the same sort of ‘seizing’ that happens with CP soap. This aerated or creamed soap does get thicker and if you’re trying to pipe decorations with it. If you have used fragrant oils which seize, it will be noticeably thicker, as time passes till it becomes impossible to squeeze it out of the bag and the mix can even separate, the clear caustic liquid will start to leach out of the mix. This will all happen within about ten minutes of mixing in the offending FO You can still get it into a mould and press it flat with a spatula or a gloved hand just the same as seized CP soap. It’s still useable but doesn’t look as good. Not all is lost but seizing can happen but it’s not the same seizing as you experience with normal Cold Process soap.
Vanilla Fragrant Oil Trial
Three days ago I made up a batch and left it white and used Brambleberry's 'Vanilla Select'. You all know how brown your soap turns when using most of the vanilla fragrant oils on the market, even Brambleberry's but I am watching this batch with particular interest, I wanted to see how dark the vanilla fragrant oil will turn it. Well here it is at the start of day four and the soap has turned from white to a light creamy fawn colour and holding so far.
Can Patterned Moulds be Used ?
I tried it in a patterned Milky Way plastic mould but it doesn’t hold the design very well although others have since had better success using patterned moulds by placing them in the freezer for a few hours, see the updated notes at the bottom of the page concerning unmoulding techniques that other soapers are using. I have used the silicone muffin moulds successfully and the silicone log mould. This mix will not cut with a knife after setting either. It will be too brittle. A wire cutter is good to use here. I’m happy using my own mould boxes at the moment but any divider mould should be ok!
What Fats or Oils to use?
Here in Australia I am buying my Palm Oil and Coconut oil from our local supermarkets. Both of these oils are in solid block form, you need the oils to be solid for them to aerate while beating. By 'solid' I mean they are firm at room temperatures and most hydrogenised oils have this characteristic. When I use the term 'liquid' oils I mean they are in a liquid state and they pour easily.
These early recipes I have been using Palm Oil as the hard base oil then adding Olive Oil to achieve a softer soap upon drying, especially when using this mix as a frosting to decorate bars of soap. My early soap frosting recipe dried too hard and brittle so I have now changed it to this recipe. I am using ‘Frymasta’ which is in the gold wrap and can be found in most supermarkets here in Australia, I am going to test Tallow next as I know this also beats to a nice white creamy consistency.
I have altered the recipe and used up to 100g of both ‘Lard’ and ‘Tallow’ in the mix. Both worked admirably, both kept the whipped volume up and both maintained the whiteness of the mix. I am sure you could use all ‘Lard’ and ‘Tallow’ and it would whip up nicely but I prefer using the ‘Palm’ because it lathers better but a combination of both also makes a nice bar of soap.
It's amazing how that one day extra turns this whipped soap even harder. Using my mould box is the best way to do this soap as cutting logs is more difficult, it can be done using thin wire, using a knife will only make the soap break apart and crumble.
Curing time is another unknown. I made the first lot up on the 17th June 2005 and it was lathering good within by the end of the week but I left it more than 2 weeks before showering with it and it worked well and there was no bite. I think the extra oxygen whipped into it helps it cure faster. At this stage I would say 3 weeks but trial a piece in two weeks to check for lather and creaminess. I have since observed that the longer it is stored the better is lathers. The fragrance is still good and strong.
It is now May, 2007 and I'm using the last of the original pastel coloured whipped soap I used in the photos on the Whipped Soap Gallery pages . It's two years old and the fragrance is as strong as it was when I first made it. The soap has a lovely creamy smoothness to the bar when wet and the lather is still great.
Edit Note July 2007: Unmoulding and Cutting Whipped Soap!
Because its all room temp and there is no gel, the saponification is a lot slower on it. It can still be somewhat caustic up to five days or so (depending on ambient temps etc etc etc) .... so I'd suggest to anyone new making whipped soap, to let it sit for a week at least before attempting to use it.
Its very deceptive. Because it is so hard so fast you kind of thing everything is sped up, when in actual fact saponification is slowed down. It needs a good cure before use.
I am adding these unmoulding tips which other soapers have sent to me and some are also spread out amongst the notes on the 'Pioneers' pages.
1. If you have trouble releasing your soap, do as I do & that is place your mould in your freezer after the soap has sat in the moulds for at least 24hrs. Allow 24hrs of freezing before removing, then let it rest for a few minutes & you will see the edges coming away from the sides.
2. I cut it with my regular drywall scraper thingy and it was nice and soft after 8 hours, but enough to get the cut. Good thing too coz she's nice and hard today!
3. Unmoulded the log mould within 5 hours, cut with a crinkle cutter and was amazed at how hard it is.
4. I used a putty knife and cut 10 hours after pour. It was still fairly soft, but I think that is because I could not get it to whip into hard peaks.
5. I simply, slid the dividers down and away from the soap once it had set hard.
6. Glopped into my mould, covered and left alone for 4 hours, then un-moulded and cut with a wire cutter ...Voila!!!
7. I used a long thin professional ham slicing knife dipped in hot water. This made the knife slide through the whipped soap easier.
8. Individual moulds like Milky Way moulds can be used successfully by using the freezer method. But remember once you pop them out of the moulds keep them sealed in a large plastic bag till they come down to room temperature. Any condensation will form on the plastic outside not on the individual soaps.
9. My personal preference is just piping out the soaps and letting them set on the baking parchment. I realise not everyone can handle a large piping bag as easily as I do so my next preference is making the soap in a log mould and using a thin wire to cut through it after it has set for 2 or 3 days.
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