We had lots of tallow (fat from a Jersey milch cow) sitting in our freezer this past year, received from a friend who had extra. We rendered it down when my little sis was up in the fall, cut the golden slabs into cubes and popped ’em in bags for the freezer, to be used at a later date!
That perfect date came this week. Beautiful bars of golden tallow were pulled out of the freezer. And I dove in with both hands!
With Christmas coming, soap is a useful and lovely gift, costing (mostly) time and energy. Before I began, I ran everything through my favorite online soap-making calculator (I use one from the brambleberry website). While I love coming up with new soap recipes, it pays to be certain on the superfat content and the amount of lye needed. I was concerned that a 100% tallow bar might turn up slimy and soggy, so I added in beeswax for a very firm bar. The end results had a deep orange-yellow amazed me, as did its firmness. Needless to say, I’m happy to have these bars and am certain they will supply our needs for the next year!
The recipe is simple. And I must confess, I made too large a batch and could barely fit it into my crock pot. I had to stand by, in case of a bubble-over. I cut the recipe back and ran it through the soap calculator once again, because that is what you are supposed to do, just to make certain everything is safe! Here it is:
Tallow & Beeswax Soap Bar
- 40 oz rendered tallow (hard)
- 1.50 oz beeswax
- 5.46 oz lye
- 13.70 oz water
Directions: plop tallow and beeswax into a crock pot. Set to ‘high’ heat. Let rest until everything has melted. Once this takes place, measure out lye and water by weight. I prefer to pour water into a glass jar, and keep the lye in a bowl. Don’t mix ’em! Grab a wooden spoon, take containers and head for the outdoors. You would be wise to wear long sleeves and a glove. Placing both lye and water on a solid surface, pour a wooden spoonful of lye into the water. Always pour lye into water, not the other way around! Water will warm due to the chemical reaction. Avoid breathing fumes that rise. Add another spoonful of lye and mix. Why add slowly? So the glass jar doesn’t experience a sudden burst of heat and break! Once glass is very warm to the hand, add lye in larger amounts, stirring with a gloved hand until dissolved. Let sit until water becomes clear.
Take back indoors and, using an electric hand blender, slowly pour and mix lye into melted tallow and beeswax. Blend until all the lye water is used up. Cover pot with lid and let the temperatures of the fats and lye water mix. Go back and stir, until they resemble the consistency of cream. If oils and water won’t emulsify (and you can see a layer separation on the top), cover the crock again and come back in 5 or so minutes. Attempt to stir and blend again.
When goods emulsify, cover with lid and let cook for 30-40 minutes. Watch to make certain it doesn’t bubble over. Should it begin, pull on oven mits and remove from crock base. Gently stir and mix back down. Don’t use the electric hand blender on it! Over-vigorous stirring will cause it to expand even more!
Test the goods when they take on a semi-translucent look. Like this:
Take a small bit between your fingers and rub together. It should feel waxy. Take a wee bit more and instead of rubbing between fingers, tap it quickly on your tongue. If it has a “snapping” effect, it needs to cook for longer. If there is no reaction and it tastes like soap, count it done. Line a bread-pan with parchment paper and pour the gooey, soon-to-be-soap into the lined pan. It will firm up within 30-40 seconds, so be certain to pour it quickly!
Cover the top with cardboard and wrap with 2 large bath towels. Leave for at least 8 hrs to finish curing. When time is up, remove from towels and top soap out of bread pan. Pull off parchment paper. Cut into desire sizes and set on a baking rack with space between each for good ventilation. Allow to air-cure in a warmish place for 7 days. You can use immediately, if needed
Its not a highly sudsy soap, but it cleans well and lasts even longer! They make wonderful gifts, ’cause everyone uses soap, right? I think these soap bars are highly suitable for men as this recipe doesn’t have any of the ‘flowery aromas’ that most ladies love! Its plain. Its simple. It has a slightly soap smell, but for the most part, is odorless.
What do you think? Would the fellas in your household appreciate soap as a Christmas gift, made from nothing but manly products like cow fat and beeswax?