August 6, 2012

The Natural Soap Chef

I have always wondered how soap is made from scratch.  I haven't made or seen anyone making soap at home, so when I got the opportunity to review The Natural Soap Chef I became really curious and thought this would be my chance to test making soap at home.  
From the time I had got this book, I have been trying to get the main ingredient Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide.  I looked for it at Michaels, which doesn't carry it.  Every time I went to the hardware store I forgot about buying Lye, so I went ahead and read the whole book to prepare myself before making soap.  

The author of the book has done lots of research and made a variety of soap before she wrote this detailed book.  
There are different ways to make soap, such as buying a pre-made soap base, shredding it and then adding our own colour, fragrance and exfoliant before remaking it.  The book doesn't cover this method as the author uses the cold-processed approach to make soap.  

The recipes to make soap are given in small batches to prevent waste and for us to use extreme caution when making soap.  
Her instructions are detailed, which will definitely be helpful in the process of making soap at home.  If you are interested in this craft, I recommend that you read the whole book before making the soap from scratch.  
The book is written in a personal friendly manner.  The recipes in the book are separated into beginners, coffee tea & stout, goat's milk coconut milk & puree and recipes to impress.  Some recipes for the soap include rosemary olive oil soap, almond cookie soap etc...  The presentation and packaging chapter has neat ways to package homemade soaps.  The pictures in the book make it very inviting for us to try our hands at making soap.

As much as soap making sounds exiting and fun, the main ingredient Lye is a dangerous hazardous substance to work with.  This chemical can cause burns, scarring and blindness.  It is also fatal if swallowed, so it must be used with extreme caution.  After reading the hazard part I have made up my mind to pass on making my own soap, despite the creative aspect involved in making soap at home.  It would be very hard for me to use gloves, goggles and work in a safe area as I tend to always put things in my hands and my children will want to participate (because it sounds fun).  To have this type of ingredient at home will cause a lot of stress :)
Reading this book has made me become more aware of the ingredients that go into soaps and a whole new respect to soap makers :) 

If you would like to take a look at this book it is available at bookstores, online and amazon.  If you have any questions ask the author here
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  1. Thanks for the review. I want to learn how to make soap using a cold method, so I'll check this book out. :)

  2. I was actually eyeing up how to make soap awhile ago but had no clue where to even start. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for a great review :)

  3. I love handmade soaps!! I can never have too many! I never knew it was dangerous to make. I don't think I will be making soap either!

  4. I used to make soap with my Dad when I was younger. Lye can be dangerous but with a little care, soapmaking is lots of fun! My favourite part was always looking for beneficial ingredients growing in the wilderness that I could add! :)


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