Saturday, 26 November 2016

Coconut Milk and Lemon Balm Soap

I like to document my soap making experiments as anyone who has been reading here for a while would already know. Recently I came across lemon balm growing in the garden which the CEO thought he had pulled out years ago as it was spreading too much so I picked some and infused it in olive oil to use in my next batch of soap before it disappeared from the face of the earth.

I had come across a recipe for Lemongrass and Coconut Milk recently so thought I might add some coconut milk to the batch to see how it reacted. I have made Goat's Milk Soap before and it turned out really well but wasn't sure what it would be like to work with coconut milk. 

 I read that it is preferable to use a milk that doesn't have any additional ingredients so the only one I came across in a decent size was TCC Coconut Milk which only had coconut extract and water listed. So I put the milk into a container and froze it prior to making the soap. 

I used the room temperature method for this batch. I weighed and poured the oils into a saucepan and had my fragrance oil ready to add as well as about 1T poppy seeds. I forgot to let the coconut milk thaw a little. Oops! It has been a while since I used milk in soap so it slipped my mind. Anyway I had already started adding the lye to the milk before I remembered that little fact and it did take a while to melt but eventually it did. So then it was added to the oils and stirred in. I wasn't sure if it would go to trace quickly so just stirred with a spoon for a while then added the fragrance oil and used the stick blender to bring it to trace before adding the poppy seeds.

It really behaved so it was poured into the mould and I didn't cover it to prevent it from heating up.

However it did crack at one stage but is fine now.

I am not sure what the white flecks are but perhaps it is from the milk although it was mixed in well. Who knows with is always full of surprises! This batch smells lovely as I used the rest of the Lemongrass and Persian Lime fragrance oil with Dragons Blood No.4 (strange name eh?) Anyway despite the name it smells really nice. I didn't realise it when I bought it but it has some vanilla in it so the soap is darker than normal milk soap but I don't mind. 

Here is the recipe I used if anyone is interested:

Coconut Milk and Lemon Balm Soap. 

450g Lemon Balm infused olive oil
250g Rice Bran Oil
300g Coconut Oil
142g Lye
380g Coconut Milk
31g   Lemongrass and Persian Lime FO combined with Dragons Blood No.4 (bought from Gavin's Little Green Workshops.)

So these are the last four batches I have made. On the top left hand side is Calendula Soap with Green Clay, next to it is Oatmeal Stout Soap and if you click on the link you can see how that has darkened since it was made due to the vanilla in the fragrance oil, on the bottom left is this current batch with the last batch which was Soap with Pink and Green Clay. I quite like the colours you get with the clays so will experiment some more with natural colours. Unfortunately in my experience when I have used plants for colouring e.g in the Nettle Soap, it does fade but you can buy natural colourants from the soap suppliers like Aussie Soap Supplies and Heirloom Body Care. Of course Gavin's Little Green Workshops has stock as well.

So that will probably be my last batch for the year although there are around five weeks left before 2017 is launched so perhaps there is still time to do another experiment :-) A friend is sending me activated charcoal so that will be another learning curve. I can't imagine what it would be like to use black soap but it sounds like fun. 

Are YOU making soap this weekend? 


  1. New soap looks lovely, I'm sure it smells divine, any Lemon, lime type fragrance is lovely for the hot weather.
    Hil and I will be making a couple of batches on Monday morning, I will try the new oil from trade secret, fingers crossed it works.
    Love your cute stamp, where did you get that ? So nice to have our handmade soaps stamped and appreciated.

  2. Margaret, I bought the stamp on eBay a few years ago but it doesn't seem to be available anymore unfortunately.

  3. Beautiful looking soaps Chel. I too love the stamp. I've frozen some whey in ice cube trays, ready for making my next batch. I also love the experimenting aspect of soap making. Thanks for the links to Gavin for soap supplies.

    1. Sally, I tend to trust that what Gavin sells doesn't have nasties in it. Experimenting is such fun I must say.

  4. I've gone back to just basic soap making....but I sure am loving watching you experiment. I really like the soap stamp you have too.

    1. Basic soap is just as good, Mr.HM. If I had that many girls in my house they would have to be happy with basic everything :-)

  5. Wow your soap making is looking great. I love the combinations you use, you really should try selling it. Before you ask, no I haven't tried making it yet, I cant quite get over the fear factor. I have however made bread with my 'Camille', today is my second loaf, sadly its not looking really good. Hope it tastes better than it looks. Take care, Guida.

    1. Guida, perhaps you could go to one of Racheal's soap making sessions and pour in the lye to get used to handling it. You just have to be careful and have a healthy fear of it. Once you have made your first batch you will wonder what held you back.

  6. I second that Chel, the first batch of soap you make will overcome any fear...just treat the lye mix as you would boiling water...bad burn, if you don't have a healthy respect for what you are handling....have a go

  7. Chel this looks glorious! I haven't tried coconut milk yet, so I think this is next on my list. I get the white flecks too, and it can be either fat pockets, air bubbles or undissolved lye. If you dig one out and put it on a white tissue or paper towel, and wet it slightly, you'll know for sure. If it goes or leaks brown, it's live lye and unfortunately you'll have to bin the whole lot. I know, heartbreaking. But usually, it's fat pockets, common when using a method without thermometers. Feel it between your fingers, and if it feels kind of waxy, it's fat, and it's fine. I think it adds a nice rustic character myself ;-) Mimi xxx


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