Geek alert! Soapmaking technique stuff ahead.
(Update and unmolded at the bottom.)
I’m on a quest for an awesome individual mold swirl. I have tried numerous batches and different methods. Varying degrees of success, and some of them look beautiful, really great. But still…I search for stunning.
The problem: What pours out of the pot first determines the look of an individually molded soap. Whatever ends up on the bottom of the mold is what you see when it’s unmolded.
I tried a basic “in the pot” swirl”: Pour color in a couple spots in plain batter and but I found the colors muddled in the individual mold.
Next, tried pouring my colored batter in stripes on the plain batter. Better, but not as good as I hoped.
Tried flicking colored batter across the molds, then pouring. This actually worked really well, guarantees the colors will show in the finished soap. (in the top two pics above, I did both flicking/ dribbling colored batter on the mold and also stripes of color batter on plain, then pouring) But still…
As Winnie the Pooh says, “think, think, think.” How about a mica-oil swirl, only instead of on top of a loaf, dribble the mica-oil mixture on top of the plain batter as it is poured? This is what I tried tonight.
I put about a half tablespoon of olive oil in a small stainless steel cup and added a heaping teaspoon of mica and mixed well. Since I was experimenting, these are ballpark measurements; I mixed in enough mica for good rich color but still pourable/dribbly.
My soap batter was my regular go to recipe; excellent, but does tend to reach trace moderately quickly. Knowing this, I soaped at lower temperatures. Oils were about 95 F and lye mixture was about 100 F. I wanted to work cooler, but…I got impatient.
I stick-blended to very light trace, dribbled my mica-oil in lines on top of the batter and then poured into the molds. I found that as I poured, it seems to work better if I started at the edge of a mold and moved the bowl slowly forward. (Guess I’ll know when I unmold)
So, here are three just poured using this method. I’m hopeful it works. Possible problems I considered are oily stripes through the soap, too much oil for the lye amount. I don’t think these things will happen, but who knows? Sure pretty though.
Unmolding tomorrow evening.
And here they are, unmolded. I like ’em!