Terry started to make soap in late 2016, she had some oil that had lost its flavour and was not good enough for dressing salads and pasta but was still OK for cooking. The first attempt was given to friends and family to test but has not been through any official testing and certainly not tested on animals (however Penny thinks her mummy tastes delicious when she gets out of the shower).
The only ingredients are olive oil, distilled water, lye and essential oils to give a light perfume.
What's lye I hear you say! When I found out lye was the soap making term for sodium hydroxide I decided to research this matter as I was quite alarmed at the use of such a strong chemical (the common name for this is caustic soda), however all soaps are made with this ingredient but not everyone is honest about it because it doesn't sound very nice. In fact after a process called saponification and a 6 week curing time none of this chemical remains in the soap and it is perfectly safe to use. Here is an extract from one of the many posts on line about this subject "Soap is an alkali (like sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) combined with fats. Together they go through a reaction called “saponification”, and in the end you are left with soap. So, by the very definition of “soap”, you cannot make soap without lye".
If in any doubt at all check google on making soap without lye.
We start by adding the olive oil, about a litre and a half makes 16 bars of soap. Then we add the lye mix (distilled water and sodium hydroxide) and for the scented soaps this is the time to add the essential oil.
The batch being made here is lemon in which I also add rosemary, cedar and litsea oils.
It is very important to use a stick blender for this process, it will never work with other types of blender. The ingredients are blended until it has what they call a trace, a bit like slightly whipped cream.
Special silicone moulds are used to create smooth finish, however bars may not be perfect or without air pockets because this is not a factory produced product. The soap is left in the moulds for 2-3 days until they are hard enough to un-mould.
When the soap is un-moulded it is left to cure for a minimum of 6 weeks. The longer the soap is left the harder it becomes and the more lather you get. This will never lather like a shop bought soap because it does not contain any other chemicals.
At this time we produce 4 types: lemon, tea tree, ylang ylang and natural but I will be experimenting with other essential oils in the near future.
Of course a glass of Umbrian wine is always in order after a hard days work!
Stylish, comfortable and affordable, the apartment is perfect for a short stay in Umbria.
Delicious peppery extra virgin olive oil and handmade soaps.