Steve is so amazing – he loves to research and always is in the development of something new. Recently we read about a way of processing soap that speeds the cure time. Typically soap that is made in the cold process manner (Lye solution is introduced to oils, essential oils and blended until thick like pudding, then molded up) takes upwards of 4-6 weeks to cure before it can be cut and sold. As you will imagine, we find ourselves always anticipating the demand, and preparing batches of soap weeks before needed.
Always learning, always reading, and always in search of more information on the soap making process, we stumbled upon a process known as cold process oven process or cpop. Soap is made in the same manner of mixing, but rather than just molding and wrapping the molds to allow the chemical heat to slowly cool, and the chemical process known as saponification to occur here is where the difference is. The mold goes into a 170 degree (f) oven for 2 hours. The oven heating process allows the soap to evaporate excess moisture, and is supposed to intensify the colors of the soap. The two hours in the oven act like a few weeks of air drying.
So the first experiment was last night. Several silicone molds filled with batches of soap were but in the oven, and the house smelled much more intense of rich essential oil fragrances. Rosemary and peppermint permeated the air. The soap looked almost clear and gelatinous while it was hot in the oven. As it cooled it has returned to the standard milky color, but the bars feel harder, more cured. We are going to still cure them a week before we sell them…. but we loved the results of this process.
Why didn;t we take photos of it? Next time i will.