Saturday, 19 April 2014

Goat's Milk Soap

I have been making my own soap for a couple of years now and it has been on my 'To Do' list for some time to make a batch of Goat's Milk Soap. So I bit the bullet this week and made my first batch and was quite pleased with the results.

I must admit that I had been procrastinating about making this soap as I had read a lot of blogs about how to make it and got myself thoroughly confused about whether to freeze the milk first and add the lye to it or to add it at trace, whether to add honey and what recipe to use etc. In the end I used my tried and true recipe from Rhonda Hetzel's book Down to Earth and just varied it a little.

       Goat's Milk Recipe
  • 600g rice bran oil
  • 440g copha
  • 460g olive oil
  • 470 ml goat's milk added to 100 ml rainwater
  • 213g caustic soda

Firstly, I weighed all the ingredients carefully. I had frozen the goat's milk beforehand as well as some ice cubes.

I put the ice cubes into a container ....

....then on top of the ice I put the bowl containing the goat's milk plus the water. 

Then very, very slowly I started adding the lye spoonful by spoonful and stirred the mixture continually. I was trying to keep the temperature fairly low in order to prevent the milk from burning. I had read that it should take about ten minutes to add the lye so I followed those instructions.

I kept an eye on the temperature and it didn't rise any higher than 25C which was quite different from the usual process when the lye and water heats up to about 70C and then you have to wait for it to cool down to 50C or so. While I was adding the lye, the oils were melting but they got too hot so I had to put the saucepan in ice water to bring the temperature down. As I couldn't get the temperature of the lye to go any higher than 25C as mentioned I waited until the oils had cooled to the same temp before slowing adding the lye mixture to the oils.

Firstly, I stirred with a spoon before mixing with the stick blender to get to trace. This took a little longer than the normal soap but all up it would have only taken five minutes. Normally it only takes about two minutes to reach trace.

Then the mixture was put into individual moulds as I thought the mixture wouldn't heat up as much as it would in a cake pan type of mould as it was important not to allow it to heat up.

There was enough mixture to make 23 cakes of soap. The moulds weren't wrapped up as is the norm as it is important to prevent heating up as mentioned before. Some people actually put theirs in the fridge to keep it cool.

I waited a couple of days as advised before turning the soap out of the moulds and had a little bit of a problem with the moulds with a lot of detail on them as just the soap in the bottom of the mould was sticking a bit. In the end I put the mould into the freezer for an hour or so and I was able to get the soap out with no problem after that. I wish I had thought of that in the beginning.


These are the last four batches of soap that I have made and you can see the difference in the colours. From left to right the soaps are Calendula Soap, Castile Bubbles, Oatmeal Soap and Goat's Milk Soap.

I have a healthy fear of working with lye and had read of a few people having 'eruptions' when making this soap which is the reason I had put off making it for so long. However, after taking the precaution of freezing the milk first and then adding the lye ever so slowly, I had no issues with it overheating whatsoever. I still have enough milk left over in the freezer to make another batch next time so I might add some honey and see how that goes. 

I am really looking forward to trying out this batch of Goat's Milk Soap in six weeks time. Have you made a batch and, if so, how did you make yours? I would love to know and I am sure that there are a lot of other readers out there who would love to know as well.

I just want to wish all my readers a very Happy Easter!


  1. Well done Chel. I also have found that a milk based soap takes a lot longer to reach trace. I add the honey just for the lovely scent.

    1. Yes Deb, next time I will add the honey. I will be braver next time :-)

  2. Thanks for all your hints, Alison. Now I have to copy and paste all the text into a DTE forum post and copy the photos in Photobucket when I get a chance. I am happy with how it tuned out in the end.

  3. They are so pretty! One of these days I will take the soap challenge but am just too cowardly as of yet!

  4. Kathy, be brave. Once you have that first batch under your belt it is a cinch.

  5. Well done Chel, they look awesome.

  6. I will have to try your recipe as well, Gwen. Yours looks great.

  7. Congratulations. The soaps look nice.

  8. Just come back to this post as I am going to make soap using 100% coconut milk (ie. no water) so wanted to know how you did it with frozen milk. I will follow your instructions as I have just frozen some milk and kept some in the fridge (instead of your water). I must go and put some ice cubes in the freezer.

  9. Hope it works out, Alison. Sounds interesting.

  10. I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information?
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