Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ginger Pear Soap With a Little Bit of Ricing/Seizing Action

I feel like a mother after her baby takes her first steps.   This actually started out kind of rough, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to keep this one.   

After making a quite few batches successfully, I decided I wanted to make a layered soap. The bottom layer went together beautifully.  I used the same recipe as before, coloring with nettle leaf powder and using a very yummy pear ginger fragrance.  It thickened up pretty quickly after I added the fragrance, but I wasn't too worried.  It went into the mold nicely and I started the second layer.  I decided not to put any color in the second layer, so I thought it would be a lot easier.  Boy was I wrong.  I added the fragrance at a light trace because the other layer had thickened so quickly.  I thought this would take care of the problem.  Instead, the batch started ricing on me (formed little rice-sized clumps and separated).  I kind of panicked and after trying to blend it a little bit, I quickly poured it into the mold.  I consulted the Internet for information on ricing, which told me to blend it to try to smooth it out, so I spooned it back out of the mold (careful not to disturb the other layer too much) and mixed it up with my hand blender.  It started to seize a little bit, but seemed to at least to mix together, so I spooned it quickly back into the mold, wrapped it up, and crossed my fingers. 

In the morning, I unmolded the soap (I noticed it was quite bumpy on top) and surprise, it looked pretty good!  I did notice that the top layer has some areas that are lighter in color, but I think it is going to be OK, as they are not brittle, hard or otherwise suspicious looking.  I will definitely keep a close eye on the texture and test the pH more closely as it cures, to make sure it us safe to use before I use it or give it away.  I am actually kind of grateful that I had this experience early on.  If this happens again, I will definitely be prepared.  I wasn't able to find too much on the web about ricing, so hopefully this will help some other newbie soapers out there. 

I do have to say that I am officially in love.  I cannot wait to start my next batch of cold process soap.  Each time I unmold some new soap, it feels like Christmas! You never really know what you are going to find!

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