Soapy donuts are super yummy, but you don’t want to eat them!
I love baking, and those techniques can be transferred to soap making. The process is very similar, yet very different at the same time. When you frost a cake or make flowers out of frosting, you can take your time and remix the frosting to use it again.
When you are piping soap or making soap flowers, you are racing against the clock because during the mixing and saponification process, the batter will naturally thicken up and soon will be deemed impossible to pipe or pour.
But getting back to making soap donuts, the first step is to pour the batter into the donut mold, and that has to be done while the batter is still very liquid. Often times I make extra batter when making my soap loaves, so that I can make little extras for samples or giveaways – such as donuts. However, when I have left over batter it is by that time getting difficult to pour into the donut molds and I’m usually left with a soapy mess. Well, not really but the donuts have big gaps in them because the batter is not quite as fluid as it needs to be to pour into the mold nicely. Once again, racing against the clock.
Soapy donuts are super popular with the kids. For some reason, all of the soap that I make that looks like food are my best sellers. I guess that’s because food is something that never gets old, especially if it looks like a sugary treat such as a donut, cupcake, neapolitan sundae or a giant bar of milk chocolate. Yummo!
I’ll share my recipe with you, in case you wanted to give it a go! I didn’t understand this at first, but recipes are expressed as percentages. Then I discovered when putting it into the lye calculator the percentages are contingent upon to total size and weight of your recipe. For example, if you have a total of 100 grams of oil, then 10% of it is going to be 10 grams. Right? So here we go, and this is one of my “go-to” recipes because it is bubbly and hard at the same time. It’s not possible to be equally hard and bubbly and conditioning because these properties are dependent upon a certain percentage of hard and soft oils. Anyhoo…
My Go-To Soap Recipe
We begin with the oils and lye. Actually, the first thing I do once I decide how big the recipe is I’ll need, is to make the lye water. Combine sodium hydroxide with distilled water. I use distilled water because I live in a place that has a lot of minerals in the water, and you don’t want the minerals to react with anything in the recipe and could cause soda ash – which I’ll explain later. I make my lye water first because I like to soap at room temperature. When I first started soaping I struggled with temperature and my batter over heating very quickly. When that happens, your batter will not behave properly. It may seize and create a type of volcano causing cracks and uneven texture in the finished product. Most people soap around 100 -120 degrees, meaning that your lye water has had to have cooled to the same temperature as your oils.
Your oils, depending on what kinds of oils you choose may need to be heated in order to mix and blend properly. Remembering that this whole process is at first a scientific endeavor before it takes on its artistic endeavor. The reaction of the blended oils and lye water is how soap is made, and that is called the saponification process. There are other factors that affect the finished product and I’ll do another post on that topic specifically.
Going back to the original point – my recipe. This recipe is MY go to recipe and depending on what you want to make your recipe could change. I’m sharing this recipe because when I first started soaping, I couldn’t find many recipes so I had to experiment and make a lot of mistakes. My hope is that you won’t have to do the same. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have to make adjustments depending on the properties you want in your soap – but a starter recipe is very helpful.
Using a lye calculator like soapcalc.net, the first thing you’d want to do is determine how much batter you want to make, based on ounces or grams. I use ounces, and you’ll need a digital food scale to carefully measure your ingredients. This recipe I’ve developed is creamy and bubbly, which is what I was after, without using harmful additives that could cause skin irritation or worse. If you want something more conditioning you would use oils or butters such as cocoa butter that offer more emollients for moisturizing the skin. Research into the properties of your desired product is essential.
And without further ado, here is the recipe! I’m going to mention some basic properties of each oil, but again you’ll need to do your own research. A lot of this you can get from the supermarket too!
20% coconut oil. Coconut oil adds to the hardness of your bar.
30% lard. Some people want vegetarian bars, but lard is really what makes the bubbles for me. I’ve decreased the amount of lard (and you can get deodorized lard if you prefer) but less lard makes less bubbles and that’s what I wanted
25% Crisco. I like crisco because it is a combination of vegetable oils like soybean and palm which is difficult to obtain unless you order it online.
10% Palm oil. Palm adds to the hardness and creates bubbles. For an all vegetable bar, palm can replace lard
10% Macadamia Nut oil. I live in Hawaii and love using products that are grown here. I get mine from a local macadamia nut farm and the moisture it brings to the skin is lovely
5% Sweet Almond oil. Again, available at your supermarket. I like these soft oils because it adds to the conditioning properties that you need so as not to have a soap that is drying.
So that’s my recipe and my story of why I make my soap the way I do. Once the lye and oils are combined, fragrances and colorants are added and while still quite fluid, gets poured into their molds. In the case of this article, into the donut molds. I have 2 sets of silicone donut molds which I fill and about 2 days later, put the two halves together to make the donuts. Donuts are ready to be frosted after about 6 weeks of curing, so as to allow the water to evaporate making for a very solid bar of soap. Melted glycerin soap is poured over the donuts and sprinkles added for effect and your soapy donuts are ready to be served!
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